Celle sul Rigo

Latitude: 42.865708 - Longitude: 11.82361 | Altitude 568 meters

Located north-west of San Casciano dei Bagni, Celle sul Rigo is in a much more open position and has a different urban and geological configuration.
The name “Celle” seems to derive from “sacred cells” or “wine cells” and refers to the numerous caves located under the village. During wartime, they became shelters and today they are used as wine cellars.
Celle sul Rigo was an important centre for its strategic position that over history has been decisive from the military and commercial point of view. It has allowed the village to experience a period of well-being until the end of the 17th century.
The first reliable documents about the village’s history date back to 1000 and confirm that its castle has been under the dominion of Orvieto, through the consortium of the Visconti di Campiglia, until the second half of the 14th century.
In 1384 Cione Salimbeni, lord of Celle, managed to regain possession of the castle and to expel the “reformists”. In 1404 Cione’s son, Cocco Salimbeni, declared himself submitted to Siena and in 1418 the official act of submission of Celle’s Castle to Siena was signed and it lasted until 1559.

From this moment on, Celle sul Rigo begun to live as a simple agricultural village. Centuries of war, earthquakes and landslides have transformed the village’s shape; leaving only 600 inhabitants living here today.
Its urban layout is very peculiar: perfectly straight streets connect to a square that is too large for the village’s current size. Most likely the medieval castle was built over a previous Roman or Lombard castrum, but unfortunately nothing remains of its ancient protection walls.

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The Medieval Tower is located in the upper part of the village; it is the only valuable remain of the ancient castrum cellis (a fortified settlement whose first nucleus was prior to 900). Around 1750 landslides began to happen on its southeast side and over the years have taken away part of the old village.
The crenelated fortress can be clearly seen from a distance. Together with other demolished towers, it was part of the walls surrounding the once existing castle. The towers had three doors with drawbridges: the Porta Soprana or della Rocca, the Porta Sottona or the Parapetto and the Porta del Poggetto. Torno al Fosso road in its name recalls the moat that connected the doors.
Today the tower is used as a bell tower and a recent restoration has made it open to visitors.


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The present structure was built in the mid-18th century but the church presence is recorded since 1275 and was listed as a baptismal church in 1302. Due to earthquakes, the strongest of which took place in 1777, the church has undergone many alterations over time. The entrance portal in 14th century travertine was located in the ancient church of Santa Elisabetta whose ruins are visible at the bottom of the village. The 1528 travertine altar reredos is located behind the main altar and comes as well from Santa Elisabbetta church.

In the square at the centre of the village there is a deep cistern. On its surface, the names of the priors that restructured it in 1610 are engraved, although we believe the work to be older. Until a few years ago it was possible to let out water by turning the wheels, and today because of a recent restoration, it has a new hydraulic system and water is still available.

Built between the 14th and the 15th century, the Farm is the most important building in the village. To appreciate the mighty and balanced structure at its best one should look at it from its garden side. The Bocchi Bianchi family owned it and used it as a service building for their properties. A large door in the Piazzetta della Macina leads into a courtyard with a well; from here it was possible to enter the various rooms used to process agricultural products. There is also a millstone that was used to grind olives. Today the restored building is owned by the local parish

From 1851 to 1855, Giosuè Carducci stayed in Celle sul Rigo. His father was a doctor and Giosuè spent a long time here before completing his studies in Pisa. The poet wrote a sonnet for the village entitled “Sopra Celle”.
The main road of Celle sul Rigo was named after him and there is a memorial plaque on the facade of the house he lived in.

On the 10th of August 1898 during an extraordinary meeting of the Philharmonic Society Council, they discussed the construction of a theatre-shaped rehearsal room. Nine music lovers founded the Society on June 26th 1876, but, in the 19th century they still had no place to meet. The Council unanimously approved the project by the architect Torriti. The construction went on quickly, but the esteemed cost of 600 liras raised to over 1500 due to changes to the project and it was necessary to apply for a loan. On the 17th of May 1900 the Theater was ready and its inauguration party was scheduled to take place on September 8th or 9th, but on July 29th king Umberto was assassinated by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci in Monza and the inauguration was postponed to the following year.
The Theater, with its medieval tower, is home to the Philharmonic and still today is one of the identifying places of Celle sul Rigo. Since the 20th century it has accompanied many moments in the life of the village: as it has been the rehearsal room for the philharmonic, the rehearsal room for the Bruscello, a conference room, a ballroom, a cinema, and a prose theatre.
The Theater has recently undergone a restoration project promoted by the Philharmonic Society.

The numerous palaces with renaissance features that preserve travertine portals and family emblems are of particular interest and prove the presence of a rich bourgeoisie. The most important is the Palazzo Bocchi Bianchi.

It is a 16th century church where today only the plant, a part of a wall with the remains of an altar, and a window on the right of the entrance are still visible. The reredos of the high altar and the portal belonged to Santa Elisabetta church and were reassembled in the Church of San Paolo. Fortunately its most beautiful piece is preserved, the marble stack of holy water .

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Atius modignam sam coreseq uibus, everibus dolent, con cum quate sitios simus. La earchic aboratem. Et eium sit audant mi, tendae cor aut eationse nimpellab inis int. Alic te vitae perum nobis delenda alit eum rati ipsum abores aut eos sus.

San Casciano dei Bagni

Celle sul Rigo



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