Murlo is situated on a hill at a height of 317 metres, in a commanding position on the watershed dividing the gentle cultivated Crete Senesi and the impervious wooded hills of the Maremma. It overlooks the deep valleys of the river Crevole and the wooded metallifere hills on one side, and offers a breathtaking view ofthe Crete on the other.
Murlo Castle is located in the old Diocese centre whose history is on record since the year 1000.
There has been absolutely no development in Murlo in modern times, so it remains as it has been handed down for centuries with its old houses built within the ancient walls; the way in through two gates, the main one still in its originaI state with a stone arch.
All this keeps it looking like an old fortifìed centre, even though defence has been unnecessary since Siena was beaten in battle by Florence; it was restored in 1562 under order of the archbishop Francesco Bandini Piccolomini, from when its present-day appearance dates.
Records of the Castle date from the 1189 document with which Pope Clemente III° gave the territory to the Bishop Bono, but it was definetely built earlier, maybe at the beginning of 1000. It was destroyed by the Imperial Army of Charles V° in 1554, but its special Statuto (legislation) of episcopal feud outlived the fall of the Sienese Repubblic; this special situation lasted till 1749, when it was abrogated by the Granduke of Tuscany Leopold II.
The Palazzone is situated within the medieval walls, part of which go back to the 12th and 13th century. It was the residence of the Bishop of Siena from the year 1000, and today houses the <Antiquarium di Poggio Civitate>, an Etruscan archaeological museum of worldwide importance; the church of San Forutunato which poses as a Cathedral, being the Bishop's.
Some of the old houses have been transformed into welcoming bed and breakfasts and restaurants where the local dishes can be savoured; everything to make a perfect holiday.
St. Fortunato Cathedral
The San Fortunato cathedral, of which we have records since the 12th century, has passed through several transformations during the centuries.
The original arch of the entry remains on the facade that was probably in the form of a spire with a nave and two aisles; the small round window and the other parts are modifications.
During the restoration at the end of the 16th century, after the damage caused by the war of Siena, the aspe was enlarged, transformed into a single nave and probably raised.
The two altars in the transept have been built during the 17th century, in stucco, imitating polycromatic marbles, with the paintings of Astolfo Petrazzi (The Saints Biagio, Domenico, Caterina da Siena and Sebastiano adoring the Infant Christ) and of Dionisio Monterselli (Our Lady of Assumption and a saint Bishop).
Also the font dates to the end of the 17th century: the font has revealed a 15th century one within its structure, engraved with festoons, a band foliage decorated and the monogram Of Saint Bernard.
Also remarquable two holy-water fonts, one dating from the 16th century and the other from the 14th.