Edited by Mauro Bucci

The first account is in a parchment of 867 AD, which mentions ARX TITINNANO, making us think that it was already then a fortified place.
In 915, the Emperor Berengar, with a decree, sanctions the rights of the Monastery of S. Salvatore dell’Amiata over the court of S. Clemente in Tintinnano.
In about 1100, however, the Rocca of Tentennano was already in the hands of a branch of the Ardenga family, who then took the title of Counts of Tintinnano.
In 1153, one Obicio Tiniosi Comes de Tintinnano is mentioned in an act signed by Pope Eugene III.
The oldest documents we know about our area and, that is, the decrees of emperors LUDOVICO I, son of Charlemagne, and LOTARIUS (from 816 to 837 AD), refer to a place in this area called TRIBBINANO.Only from 867, does the name TINTINNANO start to appear, while we find no further mention of Tribbinano.
I would exclude this, as it being an improbable distortion of the name TRIBBINANO into TINTINNANO, and highly unlikely in only 20 or 30 years. What I do think is that a small inhabited centre of Etruscan or Roman origins may have stood in the fields of S. Pietro, Poggioalsole and (see the coincidence) Tribbiano.
This area has all the typical features sought after by the Etruscan for their settlements.
A tufa hill in a dominant position overlooking the river and the valley.
Several 1st century Roman tombs were found there in 1800, and in the surrounding area terracotta ware is still being found, numerous enough to point towards an ancient settlement.

Later, in the Middle Ages, around the year 800 AD, the road crossing Val d’Orcia acquired major importance, in time becoming known as the Via Francigena.
The Castles were built at the same time to defend the road, and they certainly had a defensive role, but not just for travellers. The local people started living up against their walls for protection, like chickens under the wings of a hen, and small hamlets formed which can still be seen in the area.
Another interesting point is that the documents, which started talking about La Rocca in 800, also include mentions of the church of S. Clemente in 915, and later in 1027 and 1036, in other decrees issued by Conrad II.
When there was a church, naturally there were also the faithful and an inhabited centre.
This church is no longer standing, but the reference to S. Clemente is a clue to its possible erection date. In 869, the body of S. Clement, who had drowned in the Black Sea was brought to Rome by S. Cyril and S. Methodius and finally buried in the basilica there.
It is possible that the church of S. Clemente changed its patron over time or was replaced by another church. The fact is that, as well as today’s S. Simeone, in the past there was also another church, dedicated to S. Lorenzo. This church was in the hamlet of Borgo San Lorenzo, located on the level ground immediately below the Tower.
The dwellings of the Counts Tignosi were also built on this court. These building are long gone, but from the late 13th century, the Salimbeni also made this their home. The only traces left are two section of wall, a corner and the well, now covered by a modern pagoda in glass.
Luckily, we do have a brief description from the papers documenting the sale of the buildings from the Counts of Tignoso to the Commune of Siena, and the subsequent purchase by the Salimbeni family.
The well was located in the lowest part of the court, because it had to gather all rainfall from the overhead roofs.
In 1200, the Tower was a smaller version of the tower standing today, it was on a square base, as we can guess from the foundations visible in the first room.
The current fortress was built in 1262, when the Commune of Siena deliberated that:
Since the tower known as Rocca is broken and fallen in ruins, that said tower should be demolished from its foundations and that another tower be placed on the same spot, made of good and adequate size and of 12 arm spans in height.
The level area was surrounded by a circuit of defensive walls, indicated in the sales documents as: “encircling the hall where we and the other counts live.”
The hamlet of San Lorenzo is described with houses, palaces, roads, as well as the church of the same name. The gate to the hamlet was called Castle Gate, while the palace of Raniero of Tignoso was “...in front of the street and the Cassero Gate, that is the first gate to the cassero, and the second and the third and the tower of said cassero”.
The cassero was the highest section of the ramparts. The second and third gates were both at the point giving access to the internal court. The 8th century historian G. A. Pecci, confirms this, in his description of La Rocca, writing:
“in this gate, we can see that there had been a double lock, because in the middle there is rather large opening on the arch, which takes up the full width of said gate”.
Finally, we can extract one further point about this double gate from the sales documents: “... the first gate to the upper fortress and the second gate of said fortress, which is the place where the house in which the soldiers live with the castellan, and the upper gate of the highest part of said fortress”, indicating that a kind of guardhouse for the garrison was located immediately within the upper courtyard.