The Sienese Fortress and the Chandelier Tower, linked together by an arch called the Siennese Arch, are a splendid example of medieval architecture. Built according to a drawing by Master Angiolo di Ventura, they are situated near to the Monteregio’s Castle that was later restructured and today is the seat of the Museum of Agricultural Civilization.
In the 9th century, Massa Marittima became center of the Episcopalian power, thanks to the transfer of the Bishop's Main Seat from Populonia. The Bishop preferred to leave the coast, which had become marshy and object of continuous raids of the Greek and Saracens pirates.
The prosperity, together with the strategic position, attracted on Massa the aims of Pisa, Siena and Florence, in whose disputes the town was involved up to 1337, when it fell under the Sienese domination. Siena immediately planned the reconstruction and the enlargement of the fortifications: a second walls circuit was erected all around the 'New Town' and, between the 'two towns', the Fortress. This worked as a connection between the old part and the new part of the town, dominating both, englobing the ancient fortress and the episcopalian residence of Monteregio and the primitive Keep, the 'Candeliere tower', today reduced of a third part of its original height, joined to the walls from a bridge with a rampant arc.
The Sienese fortress has a butterfly shape, in fact the two wall curtains are separated by only 15 meters in the north, in correspondence of the aforesaid gate, and by 42 in the south, where they englobed the Episcopalian fortress.
These defensive system was studied with the purpose to guarantee safety in case that northern parts of the city could fall into hostile hands. The town walls have the same characteristics of the fortress, endowed with machicolations in stone, alternated by square towers. The S.Francesco gate and the whole eastern side of the enclosure are still intact, while a big part of the western side was demolished between the 18th and 19th century.
For further information:
Web site: www.massamarittima.info