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My Kind of Town: Buonconvento is my happy place

My Kind of Town: Buonconvento is my happy place

Andrew Matthews discusses one of his favourite towns, Buonconvento in Tuscany, with Architecture Today.

"Buonconvento – sometimes translated as ‘happy place’ – is unusual for this part of Tuscany. It’s a medieval walled town (with post-war expansions) which is situated on a plain (and not a hill) at the intersection of the Arbia and Ombrone rivers, surrounded by the grey clay-scarred hills of the Crete Senesi. Located approximately 16 miles to the south-east of Siena ,the town became an important trading centre in the thirteenth century and later a military town for the City State of Siena, which presumably triggered the need for the high town walls and gates which were constructed between 1371 and 1383. 

This is a town which my partner in practice, Stephen Proctor, and I know well. We have visited with our families for over 10 years and spent many a happy moment promenading along its long principal street, the Via Soccini, with children in tow, sampling the many flavours of gelato.

Over the years this ancient town has become for us a touchstone for high-density low-rise neighbourhood design. Its streets – and there are only three within the original medieval walls – are well proportioned, narrow and tall. Via Soccini, once part of the pilgrims’ route to Rome – the Via Francigena – is entered via a large gated portal, Porta Senesi, on its northern walled boundary and opens out into a post-war square in the south..."

The full article is available to read on the link below.