There’s an eternal bond between Roccalbegna and stone, the natural element that characterizes its skyline, rendering our town unique and unmistakable. The narrow valley carved out by the river Albegna, with its walls of bare limestone adorned with russet reflections, is home to the village with its towering rocky cliff – Stone itself – that looms over us and, with its grandeur, reminds man of the force of nature. The age-old saying Se il sasso scrocca addio alla Rocca (If the stone crumbles, so too does Rocca)– a proverb never forgotten by Rocchigiani – describes the revered bond the inhabitants have with stone and at the same time, holds witness to its centuries-old immutability.
The extraordinary characteristics of the territory joined together with the diligent and respectful actions of man allows us to live in a landscape of particular beauty, made of hills and valleys carved out by streams, over which soars Monte Labbro. The patchwork of forests, farmlands, pastures, and meadows with its rocky outcrops bordered by a dense lattice of hedges, rewards us with a tranquility imparted upon the soul and invites serene meditation.
The fire in Roccalbegna brings to life an ancestral ceremony: the Focarazza. Dedicated to Saint Catherine d’Alessandria, the Focarazza unfolds in the saint’s namesake village. Every year, on the evening of November 24, the villagers meet at the top of the hill nearby a chapel and around a “stollo”, a long oak pole secured to the ground and wrapped in bundles of timber. After the ritual blessings, the timber is set on fire, exploding into a crackle of flames that rise freely to into the sky. While these bundles burn, the men, divided into their town quarters, begin the fight: they attempt to pull the stollo from the ground and drag it to their neighbourhood. The competition unfolds into the village streets and fields, until the stollo is dragged successfully to the winning neighbourhood – where it is hoisted into the air, concluding the contest. Since its beginnings, the Focarozza has remained unchanged.
Places rich with historical and artistic heritage, inherited first from the Republic of Siena and then from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the villages of Roccalbegna, Cana, and Triana conserve artistic heritage of absolute significance. Valuable works are preserved in the religious buildings, and among these are the triptych of the Madonna and Child with Saints Peter and Paul by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, considered a masterpiece and dated to around 1340. The area is further enriched with typical products, notably Roccalbegna’s savory cookie, its aroma of extra-virgin olive oil and aniseed blending together, gifting us, perhaps accompanied by a good wine, with a unique and singular feeling each time you take a bite.