THE GEMSTONE OF VALDELSA
Mensano is located in a high hilly area of Valdelsa, a few kilometers from Casole d'Elsa. It overlooks a rocky cliff overlooking the Metallifera Hills, offering a truly breathtaking panorama. The absolute silence surrounding the walks in the village is well accompanied by the underlying panorama.
BETWEEN VOLTERRA AND SIENA
Being also a fief of the bishop of Volterra, it passed under the rule of Siena in 1227 and from that moment there was a dense settlement of Sienese families: Malavolti, Saracini, Tolomei, Salimbeni. From the end of the following century it quickly declined, losing much of its military importance, and despite some reinforcement of the walls during the Siena war, its fall shortly followed the capitulation of Casole. The town has a semi-cylindrical shape, adapted to the rugged shape of the surrounding terrain, with the main road linking the religious center to the civilian center. In fact, at one end there is the Pieve, while in the other there are two stone buildings, presumably from the thirteenth century, each of which holds on the ground floor a pair of large portals with horseshoe arches.
THE “PIEVE” OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
The most important monument in Mensano is without a doubt the already mentioned “Pieve”, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which is an interesting example of Romanesque church. Recalled in the second half of the X century and attested as Pieve since 1171, it was erected by Pisan craftsmen, as suggested by a marble inscription, currently placed at the right side of the church. It is a three-nave church, with its façade curiously inclined with respect to the axis, perhaps to make it perpendicular to the course of the road it is erected, and three apses, the lateral ones included in the thickness of the wall. The quality of the fourteen capitals is significant, from the complex symbology of sacred inspiration, which adorn the columns and half-columns and represent the most important Romanesque sculptural cycle of the Sienese territory attributed to the masterpiece of Pisa Bonamico.
THE STREETS OF THE TOWN
The streets of the town of Mensano are intact. Walking, you can easily pass from the main road of the village to its top, where, in a small park, between olive trees and figs, you can rest and observe the unique panorama.