Searching for the lost city, Semifonte in ChiantiMysteries & Legends
Searching for the lost city, Semifonte in Chianti
Chianti is not just synonymous with wine. It is also a land rich in history and of high archaeological interest, so much so that it would be a real paradise for Indiana Jones. It seems that there is even a lost city here that is yet to be discovered: the mythical Semifonte that was completely razed to the ground in 1202. What happened? The village of Chianti Fiorentino, located on the border between Florence and Siena had turned into an economic, commercial and therefore also political power. Its inhabitants, as good Tuscans, mocked the rivalry with Florence and light-heartedly sung the mocking verses ‘Firenze fatti in là, Semifonte si fa città' (Florence step aside, Semifonte is on the rise).
Semifonte was located along the Via Francigena in the area currently under the municipality of Barberino Val D'Elsa. In 1881 Count Alberto degli Alberti built a fortress which then became a classic medieval fortified village. It was made of three kilometres of battlements, four doors, a fortified tower, seven churches and as many as three hundred dwellings. It was even mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy. But the Florentines felt threatened, so they started a long and bloodstained struggle against the inhabitants of the hamlet: in the end they managed to defeat them and razed the whole city to the ground.
Nothing remained of Semifonte, even the place name disappeared as if it had never existed. For four centuries a law prevented building work to take place on the territory where Semifonte used to stand: the only exception was granted by Ferdinand I for the construction of the Chapel dedicated to San Michele. Fortunately, in 1968, a scholar managed to discover the traces of ancient Semifonte, but the solution of the enigma still remains a mystery. Do we really have to wait for Indiana Jones to arrive? Luckily we don’t! To find out where the city of Semifonte really stood, how large the extension of its territory was and how its inhabitants used to live, modern technologies such as drones and the latest generation diagnostic measures will be used. Hopefully this will help unveil the mystery behind the lost city in Tuscany once for all.
Do you want to go and see the area of ancient Semifonte? Take advantage of our Chianti Tour and you can visit this magnificent area full of stories, traditions and where some of the best wines in the world are produced!
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