Sinalunga has Etruscan origins. This can be seen from the numerous finds which indicate that around the 6th – 8th centuries B.C. there were Etruscan settlements here. The first documents which mention Sinalunga are from 1197, the year the town passed into the hands of the powerful Cacciaconto family.
From the 12th century up until 1864 it was known as Asinalunga, meaning long ass. Here the Sienese defeated the English mercenaries of Niccolo da Montefeltro in 1363, here also Garibaldi was arrested in 1867 by Vittorio Emanuele 11, to prevent an ill-timed descent on Rome.
The main productive resource of Sinalunga, predominantly agriculture in the past, is today light industry. The most important sectors are milk products, furniture, crystal glass, quality ceramics made by craftsmen and terracotta. Salami is another typical product of this area.
Today in the 21st century, Sinalunga’s village on a hill is a tranquil place – although, not on market days. Every Tuesday morning the Piazza Garibaldi is buzzing with stalls selling everything from lace tablecloths to roast pork, shoes, handbags, fruit and vegetables and in the Bar l’Angolo (right) you'll find Andrea, with his homemade ice creams that you won’t be able to resist.
Then dodging past Massimo’s flowers and plants, we cross the crowded piazza to the Bar Italia (below) where Ortello and Paula will serve you tasty snacks, freshly squeezed orange juice, delicious cappuccinos and brioche.
The Centro Storico is unique in that it is one of the few villages where you can find everything you need without the use of a car. Guiseppe (left) waits to tempt you with his wonderful produce: wines, prosciutto, salami and the famous pecorino cheeses from Pienza, to name but a few, with Rosa selling her homemade bread, Eddi, nearby, selling her biscuits and memorable chocolate cakes, and Carla and Rolando further up the hill selling Tuscan Takeaways.
Eating in Sinalunga’s Centro Storico is another pleasure for the senses and not over priced. Osteria delle Grotte, five minutes walk from the piazza. No menu, you are given the food prepared for the day, always delicious and wines like nectar. Then there’s il Forcillo, further down the hill, a typical Italian family restaurant.
The Centro Storico is also the place to visit Armando’s jewelry shop, a miniature Aspreys. And should you, by any chance, need to visit a dentist, Franco Perugini in the piazza is the best you will find anywhere, along with the excellent Doctore Pinsuti.
Panaramic walks up to the Convento di S. Bernardino, concerts in the Teatro Ciro Pinsuti, a miniature Milan Opera House constructed in 1797. Tennis court, swimming pool, and Flavio to style your hair; Sinalunga’s ancient Centro Storico, is a Tuscan paradise worth visiting.
Places of interest
The Church of Santa Maria delle Nevi: begun in 1685 and containing a bas-relief depicting the Madonna with Child and Angels (15th century)
The Church of Santa Croce: located near the destroyed fortress and containing a beautiful panel painting from the school of Luca Signorelli. The facade is from the first half of the 17th century.
The Convent of San Bernardino (see left): standing on the hill of Poggio Baldino, 500m from the village, built in 1499 and restored in the 18th century.
Chiesa Del Chiodo: built in 1289 it was formerly the church annexed to the tiny 13th century 3-bed hospital and containing a fresco from 1464 depicting a Nativity.
Other important buildings include:
Palazzo Pretorio: built between 1337 and 1346. It was the former seat of public authority.
Fonte del Castagno: built in 1265, the only spring in the village.
Ciro Pinsuti Theatre (see left): dedicated to Ciro Pinsuti, a musician from Sinalunga and pupil of Rossini.
Antiquarium: a small centre for the collection of antique finds.
Sferisterio: in 1853 as a result of the poor harvest the Commune, in an attempt to give work to the people, built the Communal Sferisterio where a ball-game was played. In 1986 after being struck by lightening, it was renovated and the height reduced.
Part of Sinalunga, another treasure waits to be discovered. Following the road leading to Torrita di Siena we find the ancient village of the Amorosa (see left). This manor house (now a superb restaurant) was built in 1575 on the occasion of the marriage between Niccolò Piccolomini and Ippolita Pannilini. At the centre of the village is the church of S. Maria Assunta.
July: Sagra del Crostino (village festival and the Biancalana Market)
July: Estate Sinalungese (shows and musical events)
August: Amarosa. Incontri Musicali in Terra di Siena (musical events)
September: Convent of S. Bernardino festival.
Second Sunday in October: Passeggiata alla Fiera (walking racing)
November 11th: S. Martino Festival.