The Etruscan settlement known today as San Casciano dei Bagni owes its existence to the 42 thermal springs and its strategic postion in Tuscany close to the ancient via Cassia and via Francigena roads.
San Casciano dei Bagni
As can be guessed the Romans loved the baths of 'Fonti Clusinii' and the via Cassia offered an ancient autostrada all the way from the Imperial Forum. Many memorial tablets have been found for centuries in the fields near San Casciano demonstrating the presence of many Roman citizens.
The Dark Ages saw a decline in the local population as the Lombards and Byzantines advanced, but the feudal Visconti family from Campiglia bided their time until Federico II confirmed their control over San Casciano and the castle of Fighine in 1226.
Once again the proximity to a big road aided the development and promotion of San Casciano. The via Francigena sprung up just a few kilometres West from San Casciano and once again brought travellers to the zone and away from any danger.
The Visconti contined to play one new threat against another and double crossed both the Ghibellines and Guelphs before they themsleves were split down the middle as one half of the family gravitated towards Siena.
Things came to a head in 1443 when, on the death of Monaldo Visconti, his son got out for good and the Visconti left San Casciano for ever.
The 16th century saw those exiles from the Republic of Siena help Cosimo, Duke of Florence, and the fortunes of San Casciano turned again.
The golden era of the town had arrived and many important people from Europe's elite helped to finance the building of the city we see today.
See also Orcia Valley wine route
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