Just a little over 3 miles/5 kilometers from Casali di Bibbiano Villa is the charming town of Buonconvento. The commune (municipality) was on the ancient Roman Via Cassia and was used as a stopping point and market village. Buonconvento is from the Latin bonus conventus, “happy place.” Surrounded by medieval walls, it is an interesting place but not too touristy.
Under the Republic of Siena, it was a defensive town, completely walled in 1371 with only two entry gates. In 1559, with the fall of Siena, it passed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, headed by the powerful Medici family. Because the Republic of Siena made it an administrative and military hub, much of the architecture and overall feel of the town is like a miniature Siena.
The Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII died in Buonconvento in 1313 and is buried at the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa.
While the Porta Romana gate was destroyed by the Germans in 1944, the Porta Senese, with its heavy wooden doors outfitted with iron that would be closed against invaders, still stands in its place, now perpetually open for all to enter and enjoy the lovely atmosphere of this delightful place. There are pretty streets with brick archways, narrow passageways, banners blowing in the breeze, flower boxes, palaces and civic buildings. Via Soccini is the main shopping street in the historic center, with boutiques, stores, restaurants and coffee bars to enjoy. The palazzi, houses and public buildings feature Gothic arched doorways, coats of arms, towers and other Middle Ages decorations.
While it may be small, Buonconvento has a nice art gallery with a good selection of Tuscan painters represented. There is also a Museum of Sacred Art in the pretty Palazzo Ricci that is worth a visit. The church of Sts. Peter and Paul has a Madonna Enthroned with Child by Matteo di Giovanni (c. 1450). A theater was built for the community outside the walls in the 1800s; Teatro dei Risorti still entertains locals and visitors with a schedule of shows and concerts.
Whether a brisk walk or a nice bike ride, we highly recommend a visit to the villa’s neighboring town of Buonconvento.
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Thank you, I hope of see you soon in Tuscany!!