Antique trachyte arches highlight accesses to ‘Castel di Badia’, the ‘old town’ as they the locals call it. Among the largest medieval villages of the surroundings, it is a well-preserved example of mounted castle that show how much the Abbey of San Salvatore and its town were powerful during the Middle Ages.
If you arrive from the Cassia, the first impact with Abbadia is that of a modern town, with wide, tree-lined lanes. This changes when you reach the actual Abbey, one of the most important places in the complex history of Medieval Tuscany.
Southwards as regard to the Abbay there is the Castle, crossed by three roads that run more or less parallel.
It is certainly worth crossing one of the ancient stone arches that mark the entrances to the village and wander around the narrow streets and tiny squares left intact over the time. Nowadays original signs and symbols are still visible and tell us stories and legends of this little communities born in the Middle Ages under the protection and control of the powerful Abbey of San Salvatore. It is a revelation to be guided between the three Parties that divided the village and look for elements that remind of ancient crafts and customs of the past. The original nucleus can be seen inside the first town-wall with the church of Santa Corce and of St. Angelo (today a private home), the palazzo del Podestà, the palazzo del Popolo and the ‘Borgo’ with the beautiful church of St. Leonard from the XIII century.
The historic center of Abbadia is one of the few remaining genuine historic centers in Tuscany: you will not find souvenir shops and attractions for tourists who look away from the authenticity of the places, but real life, made of curious residents scrutinizing passersby, women preparing lunch for the family, hanging clothes at the windows, men preparing the wood for the winter storage.
It is worth a visit for those who are looking for a hidden treasure among the known villages of Tuscany.