21 sett - Guidoriccio

Located in the World Map Room of Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico, Guidoriccio pictorially celebrates the siege and conquest of the Castle of Montemassi by the Sienese Republic in 1328.

In the World Map Room of the Civic Museum, we can find one of the most famous works of the Middle Ages, Simone Martini’s Majesty. But it’s not the only fresco that will captivate you. On the opposite wall is another equally famous masterpiece, also by Simone Martini: the Guidoriccio da Fogliano.

The Government of the Nine, in power in Siena from 1287 to 1335, wanted to celebrate the achievements that had made the city great with frescoes concerning the taking of a series of castles and fortified towns in the territory. Among these were frescoed episodes of the surrender of Giuncarico (circa 1314) and the Battle in Val di Chiana (frescoed by Lippo Vanni in 1363) and the glorification of the condottiere Guidoriccio da Fogliano, captain of the Sienese army during the siege of Montemassi.

This tiny village, which stands at the foot of its castle in the upper Maremma region of Tuscany, in the municipality of Roccastrada, was very important in the Middle Ages because of its strategic location, and was therefore heavily disputed and the scene of several battles. The most famous and celebrated of them all was precisely the 1328 siege of Montemassi by the Sienese army commanded by Guidoriccio Da Fogliano, which allowed Siena to conquer the castle.

This was a very important victory for the Ghibelline city, so much so that the famous painter Simone Martini was commissioned to paint the painting, which we can still admire today, to commemorate the feat and to celebrate the commander that made it happen.

To tell the truth, Guidoriccio da Fogliano’s feat was rather modest militarily, but it was of enormous political importance to Siena. Montemassi had long been a fief of the Aldobrandeschi family and later became a safe haven for Ghibelline outcasts supported by Castruccio Castracani, who strongly opposed a Sienese expansion.

In the city of Siena, when victory was achieved, many nightly torchlight processions were organized to commemorate the military victory and, as per custom, a fresco was commissioned from Simone Martini. This undertaking is confirmed by a document dated 2nd May 1330 regarding a payment made to Simone Martini for the creation of the fresco, which over the centuries has become one of the emblems of the city.

The proud leader rides through the centuries on his steed, crossing the battlefield alone between the two valiantly conquered castles…

Where: Civic Museum, Palazzo Pubblico
When: it can be visited during Castle opening hours
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