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Knights Templar presence in Siena

If there is a mystery, an hidden treasure, of the remains linked to the history of the Templars in Siena, It would be really well preserved in the complex of the medieval church of San Pietro alla Magione, whose existence is established in documents dating back to 998 A.D.

A transit place for the faithfuls who traveled on the Via Francigena for pilgrimages to Rome (and from here also to the Holy Land) from Northern Europe of considerable importance.

At that time and until almost the entire XII century, the complex was located outside the Siena’s city walls, which went down from the hill of Castelvecchio towards the Francigena. The late insertion of the whole Via Camollia, until the construction of the homonymous door that marks the northernmost point, explains its building in the shape of an house-fortress.

The skilled engineers who developed it referred to the Knights Templar, which had it among its properties already in 1148. As a place of refreshment for travelers and pilgrims, it is said to have hosted the Grand Master Jacques De Molay in 1306 on his way back from Rome where Pope Clement V proposed to him to merge the Templars with the Knights Hospitaller.

At this time has been also made the decision to remake the main gate of the church of San Pietro in the Gothic style, which the Order was developing in France, and whose realization can still be seen with a debatable renovation of the small arches made in the Twentieth Century, dates back to this period.

Jacques De Molay ended his days at the stake, executed by the King of France Philip the Fair, who took possession of the wealth accumulated by the Templars in his country. The order was suspended by the Pope who passed the riches to the Knights Hospitaller.

Tuscan authors such as Boccaccio and Villari have handed down that De Molay’s ashes were recovered by members of the Order, taking advantage of the carelessness of the soldiers of the French King’s army and perhaps brought to Italy without a memory of the events being made. The Hospitallers were quick to change the testimony of the Templar’s property as in the building continuation of parts of the structure – which will be finished in the 16th century – which would really be difficult to recover even with a “treasure map” in hand.