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Sarteano is 573 metres above sea level, it is situated on a spur of Mount Cetona. The large number of archaeological finds discovered in its area testifies a continuity of the human presence since Paleolithic till Bronze and Iron Age. The Etruscan presence is remarkable too, as the numerous necropolis testify; they are among the most important of the territory of Chiusi. Sarteano appears for the first time in a document dated 776 A.D., under the name of Vicus Sarturianus. About eleventh century it became the centre of a large feud under the Counts Farolfi-Peponi- Manenti, Lombard family , which built the Romanesque Abbey Of Sineta. In 1178 Manente di Pepone, who enjoyed a privilege by Barbarossa, got the jurisdiction over Chiusi and its territory. Since the beginning of the thirteenth century Sarteano was contested by Siena, Orvieto and Perugia. In 1379 it was annexed to Sienese Republic.
In 1469 Siena restored the ancient Fortress, already belonged to the Manenti. The final restoration of this military building is due to the architect Baldassarre Peruzzi ( 1528 ). Sarteano keeps some important fourteenth-fifteenth centuries pictorial works of the Sienese School, in particular by Jacopo of Mino del Pellicciaio ( St. Francesco, St Martino ) and by Girolamo del Pacchia ( St. Lorenzo ).
The Church of San Francesco, which keeps the fifth century frescos of the Romanesque Church of S. Vittoria, shows a Renaissance façade, modelled on Pienza’s Cathedral’s façade. This housing project is due to Pio III, Pio II Piccolomini’s nephew, who was born in Sarteano.
In the neoclassic Church of San Martino there is the painting representing “ The Annunciation “ (L’Annunciazione ) dating back to 1552, masterpiece of the great Sienese mannerist Domenico Beccafumi. The springs called “Holy Bath“ ( Bagno Santo ), which feed three swimming-pools with running water at 24°C, are known since the ancient times.