Istia d'Ombrone is 1 km from Poggio Cavallo and 6 km from Grosseto as the crow flies. To get there, take the Grosseto Est exit in the direction of Scansano. The earliest written records of this medieval village date back to the ninth century. However, enclosed in the walls are relics from Roman times...

On ancient maps, it is named Ischia like the more renowned island of Ischia, although they have only the name etymology in common: ‘ischia’ means island. In fact, the river used to fork just below the village and formed an islet back in day. This was the landing point for when you forded the river. It was called "the boat” like many other locations.

It is very likely that Istia d'Ombrone, along with Poggio Cavallo and Roselle, was part of a bypass route around Lake Prile in ancient times. Thanks to its position on the bends of the Ombrone river, Istia became a fairly important market town in the year one thousand, situated as it was on the way to the tufa stone towns, just before the hilly roads in the hinterland.


The Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Istia d'Ombrone is visible on the castle and in the apse of the parish church. It holds a tree with the letter V. The uprooted tree or the tree with roots is traditionally used to signify strength and attachment to origins. Contrary to popular belief, the letter V does not stand for the Italian equivalent of ‘Bishop’, as this was a Bishop’s seat. It stands for ‘verde’, i.e. green, as the colour of the foliage.


The Castle

The Castle of Istia d'Ombrone, a large structure at the entrance of the old village, was destroyed in 1137 by Henry of Bavaria, and rebuilt starting from 1138 when it was assigned to the bishops as the diocese was moved from Roselle to Grosseto. It then passed to the Aldobrandeschi family, under the control of Santa Fiora.

Later it was controlled by the Siena Republic, but had free town status. In the 1400s it was a feud of the Piccolomini family and enjoyed wide freedom. When Siena’s power declined, it was then annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

The castle had double walls. Over time, the inner wall, which is also the oldest, was incorporated in the old dwellings. The walls that are still visible today have two gates dating back to the second half of the 13th century. The west gate with the tower, on the way to Grosseto, is the main access to the historic town centre.


The Portaccia

Follow the Via di Mezzo to reach the eastern gate, dating back to Roman times, the so-called Portaccia. Recently restored, it offers an interesting view of the countryside and of the broad bend of the Ombrone River. The stunning view towards the source of the Ombrone River and Monte Amiata is a must see.


The wine festival

At the end of July, Istia hosts a nice street festival where you can buy a glass upon admission and taste local wines and produce, "Istia Paese DiVino".

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