Discovering Monte San Savino

Patrick and Kaat Muylle visited Monte San Savino and share with us the happy experience...

*Why God was wrong to live in France:  We are Kate and Patrick from Belgium. After 25 years of annual holidays in the region of Cortona we decided two years ago to buy a small holiday home there. Now we divide our time between Belgium and Italy. We love everything about Tuscany: the perfect mix of climate, food, nature, art and culture…. Some might say it is more a kind of sickness or obsession rather than a simple passion!
We want to share with you why Italy surprises us time and again. We tend to avoid the “big things” and take the small hidden gems…
* “Living as God in France” is an originally German expression meaning “living carefree and enjoying the good of the earth” (“living like a king or a renaissance prince…”)
This time we want to share with you our visit to Monte San Savino. It is a small town (8.500 inhabitants) in the Val di Chiana, 40 minutes by car,  south-west direction of Cortona along the A1-highway. This originally Etruscan settlement still keeps its medieval and renaissance character. The sculptor Andrea Contucci, better known as Sansavino, was born here in 1460.
We start our visit at the Porta Fiorentina and take the main street to the Palazzo di Monte, a renaissance residence, today used as the municipality:
Porta Fiorentina 
Behind is the beautiful renaissance roof garden
Let’s go inside the palace – you’ll need to watch your head and put on a helmet to discover the XVIth century prison cells (Ex-Carcere)
Ex-carcere       
Since the restauration in 2020 one can visit the covered water cistern which dates back to the 1600’s (“il cisterone”). Situated under the roof-garden of the palazzo it was originally ment to provide water for the community, now it is used to irrigate the garden. At 400 m² it is the largest stone water reservoir in Tuscany.
Water reservoir with pointed arch 6
Both (the carcere and the water cistern) are nice places to visit with children!
Let’s turn back to the Palazzo. Right in front of it is the Loggia dei Mercanti (the merchant's loggia) in ‘pietra serena’:
A little bit further away in the main street, we ‘ll find the most important church of the town: the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino. The façade is in a very simple gothic style.
Inside there are beautiful frescoes from the XVth century:
But we like most of all the paintings of Saint Lawrence on the wall on the right. See one of the detailed scenes here below:
Lawrence was a Christian martyr in the years 250 BC. At a certain moment it was decided to torture him on a grate over a fire. Look at his casual attitude on the fresco, just like he is taking a sunbath:  According to legend, he said: "I'm already cooked on one side, please turn me around !"
Here you see him once again with his barbecue grill, now in the Santa Chiara church in the Piazza Gamurrini (a work by Sansavino).
In this church you’ll find also a rather scary, creepy closet with a Madonna….:
Are you hungry after such a cultural shower? Don’t worry, here is the last surprise: the Porchetta Monte San Savino is famous all over the world for its taste, the unique and unmissable flavor, cooked in a wood oven, crispy crust and tender, very soft meat ... Anyone passing through Valdichiana must absolutely stop in this village to taste one of the tastiest pork meats in Tuscany and Italy. In 2010 the community was even nominated in the Guinness book of Records for producing the longest Porchetta in the world!
Other things to mention:
Weekly market on Wednesday
Great espresso served at “Il Mio bar”….
Patrick & Kaat Muylle, 30/03/2023 08:52:39

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