Chapter #1

Pia de’ Tolomei, a woman with a story and a legend

The sounds of the wild, rushing water aren’t enough to cover the cries of a Sienese noblewoman who, unjustly rejected by her husband, crosses the bridge over the Rosia creek on her way to meet her sad fate at Castel di Pietra in the Maremma. 

Her name is Pia de’ Tolomei. To get to this point, she walked the road that from Siena leads to the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista, also called “Spino” for the reliquary it contains, a thorn from the crown placed atop Jesus’s head; she then crossed the path winding through the forest, a home to deer and wild boars. Now she is standing on the bridge and in her heart, she knows she will never return from exile…. she sorrowfully turns about, imprinting that landscape and its vivid colours in her memory, the yellow of the earth of the Montagnola, the deep green of the woods and their iridescent shades….

Chapter #2

The ghost on the Ponte della Pia

The beautiful bridge, Roman in origin and consisting of a single, curving arch, is situated in an evocative gorge in the “Montagnola Senese” area, located a few kilometres from Rosia, along the road that leads to the sea.

To this day, the bridge is inextricably tied to Pia and bears her name. The memory of the tragic destiny of the ill-fated noblewoman, enveloped in an aura of mystery, is still so vivid that a legend was born around her. It is said that the ghost of Pia can be seen on the bridge.

Some swear to have seen an immobile figure on moon-less nights, surrounded by a soft, dim light, dressed in white with a veil covering the face. In a remorseful voice, the figure whispers:

Remember me, I am Pia;

Siena made me and Maremma will undo me

Dante, Purgatory

Chapter #3

The Sovicille territory today

Pia de’ Tolomei’s own territory is Sovicille and its surroundings 

Located in the Val di Merse, the municipality is rich in churches, abbeys, castles and villas. The Pieve del Ponte allo Spino is a priceless example of the Romanesque style and the Castle of Celsa, a thing of fairy tales, amazes with the majestic elegance of its forms, just like Villa Cetinale – once belonging to the Chigi family. Particularly evocative is the ancient village of Torri, with the abbey of the Vallumbrosan monks and its cloister arranged on three stunning levels.  

It’s a small, liveable territory, immersed in a typically Tuscan landscape, with olive groves and vineyards dotted throughout fields with varying crops and thriving forests. In this land perfect for running and aimless bike rides, sustainability is felt deeply and all the typical products of our area can be found in one place thanks to a project by the Bottega di Stigliano, a space dedicated to quality food, where you can buy the fruits of our land and participate in initiatives that examine the bond between what we eat and the environment in which we live.

Photo by: Francesco Viti