Monteriano

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Monteriano is a fictional Tuscan hill town. It was the original title and is the principal locale of E. M. Forster's 1905 novel Where Angels Fear to Tread.

Overview[edit]

The author describes the town in an incomplete faux entry to Central Italy by Baedeker as follows:—

Monteriano (pop. 4800). Hotels: Stella d'Italia, moderate only; Globo, dirty. *Caffè Garibaldi. Post and Telegraph office in Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, next to theatre. Photographs at Seghena's (cheaper in Florence). Diligence (1 lira) meets principal trains.

Chief attractions (2-3 hours): Santa Deodata, Palazzo Pubblico, Sant' Agostino, Santa Caterina, Sant' Ambrogio, Palazzo Capocchi. Guide (2 lire) unnecessary. A walk round the Walls should on no account be omitted. The view from the Rocca (small gratuity) is finest at sunset.

History: Monteriano, the Mons Rianus of Antiquity, whose Ghibelline tendencies are noted by Dante (Purg. xx.), definitely emancipated itself from Poggibonsi in 1261. Hence the distich, "Poggibonizzi, fatti in là, che Monteriano si fa città!" till recently inscribed over the Siena gate. It remained independent till 1530, when it was sacked by the Papal troops and became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It is now of small importance, and seat of the district prison. The inhabitants are still noted for their agreeable manners.

The traveller will proceed direct from the Siena gate to the Collegiate Church of Santa Deodata, and inspect (5th chapel on right) the charming *Frescoes. . . .

The location of Monteriano is not given exactly. Somewhere in the Sub-Apennines, it is about 20 miles (32 km) from Empoli, and near Siena. By inference one would travel from Monteriano on the road to Siena to reach Poggibonsi. It is perhaps near the actual town of San Gimignano (43°24′18″N 11°1′12″E / 43.40500°N 11.02000°E / 43.40500; 11.02000), although this seems unlikely due to the need for railroad access. However, Lilia refers to the fact that they have purchased a house outside of the Volterra gate which is located only eighteen miles from San Gimignano. The site of Monteriggioni (43°23′23″N 11°13′28″E / 43.38972°N 11.22444°E / 43.38972; 11.22444) fits the description, if one assumes the inscription on the Siena gate is intended for citizens of that town to read on their way to Poggibonsi. Both sites would logically have a Volterra gate, as described. The name of the city is a combination of three syllables from the name of Monteriggioni (Monteri-) and two final syllables of San Gimignano (-ano). Specific details of Monteriano unfold in the course of the novel. There is then a hill in Umbria, facing the medieval city of Gubbio, whos name is Montereano, originally Monteriano. It is plausible to believe that the author translated the memories of this place in the nearby Siena, only two hours far.

References[edit]