“As with circling round
Of turrets, Monteriggioni crowns his walls;
E’en thus the shore, encompassing the abyss,
Was turreted with giants, half their length
Uprearing, horrible, whom Jove from heaven
Yet threatens, when his muttering thunder rolls.”
Dante Alighieri, Inferno canto XXXI, lines 40-45
This photographic journey describes my experience of pilgrimage from the village of Abbadia a Isola to the beautiful medieval walled town of Monteriggioni near Siena.
The route is approximately 3 Km long and runs through the Tuscan fields, a little forest and a climb that comes just in front one of the gates of the medieval village.
After being welcomed into the church by the abbot and being blessed about our journey right inside the ancient monastery, we went to Monteriggioni accompanied by a pilgrim.
On the way, he told us stories and curiosities about the Via Francigena. The journey, through amazing poppy fields, was illuminated by a bright blue sky.
Along the road that led us to the final destination, we met various characters: some people in ancient costumes that offered us good food and wine,
a cheerful minstrel who was playing the hurdy-gurdy, the guards of Monteriggioni who defended their village and some players and other historical figures who gave us a warm welcome.
As you can see in these photos, the hurdy-gurdy was the ancient instrument used by the wandering artists from the year 1000 to carry around their music .
Many songs had love as the main theme. One of the most famous singers was Jaufré Rudel who, in love with an Arabian princess, wrote about 300 songs during the various stages of the journey he made in vain to reach her.
In the tradition of the medieval music, the rhythm was seen as an enemy of religion, as it carried the body to make sensual movements and this was considered as a sin.
The hurdy-gurdy, seen as a despicable, immoral and poor instrument, was used by many musicians along the Via Francigena to play their own compositions.
Once we arrived in the village, we enjoyed a delightful walk through the streets of its streets and its picturesque square.
Monteriggioni was built in 1214-1219 and it earned a mention by Dante in his Divine Comedy.
It is located at the top of a hill and it is surrounded by amazing and intact walls and towers.
In the street of this ancient village, you can breathe a magic medieval atmosphere which reminds to an ancient past.
A pilgrimage isn’t only for the religious. It offers the opportunity to walk in harmony with nature and enjoy deeply the journey.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way to seeing things.”