Siena is a gothic, cultivated, proud town which welcomes tourists from all over the world with the charm of its past times and the wonders of its nature. Vineyards and olive trees characterize the landscape, exalting the local gastronomy, and […]
Siena is a gothic, cultivated, proud town which welcomes tourists from all over the world with the charm of its past times and the wonders of its nature. Vineyards and olive trees characterize the landscape, exalting the local gastronomy, and so creating the so called “slow food” culture.
The territory around Siena is actually the best example of Tuscan regional identity, rich in natural resources and productivity.
The famous “Chianti-shire” extends northern from Siena with its precious vineyards. Terraced hills and valleys rich in rivers, castles, churches and wonderful buildings constantly alternate in the countryside.
Castles and villages like Castelnuovo Berardenga, Castellina, Gaiole and Radda in Chianti overlook the wonderful countryside, where we can still admire extraordinary 18th century gardens in Arceno, Pontignano, Villa la Pagliaia, Catignano, Geggiano and Sestano in the town Castelnuovo Berardenga.
The Val d’Elsa valley is crossed by the historic road Via Francigena, with many smaller roads which lead to the sea; this area has always been a strategic meeting point for merchants and pilgrims going to Rome since the middle ages.
To the Val d’Elsa belongs, amongst other centres, the district of San Gimignano, the towered town, as well as Monteriggioni, famous for its intact medieval city walls. The famous architect Arnolfo di Cambio was born in Colle val d’Elsa, also known as the “crystal town”.
The Merse valley is rich in woods and waters, naturalistic routes and small medieval churches and castles by Chiusino, Monticano, Murlo e e Sovicille.
The northern side of river Merse belongs to the nature reserve of Alta Merse, while the river Farma flows along the valley to meet the Merse and Ombrone, reaching the famous thermal baths by Petriolo, already known in the days of the Pope Pius XII.
During the middle ages this area was often chosen by religious men and hermits because of its peaceful quietness; a lot of beautiful abbeys still bear witness to this tradition, like the Cistercian abbey of San Galgano, by the town of Chiusdino.
South of Siena we find the world famous district called “Crete senesi”, an unusual natural landscape created by prehistoric erosions on sand and clay. This special “lunar landscape” is the perfect set for small medieval villages like Asciano, Buonconvento, Monteroni d’Arbia, Rapolano Terme and San Giovanni d’Asso.
The neighbouring valley, Val d’Orcia, clashes with the previous scenery thanks to the sweet landscape rich in hills and cypresses. The river Orcia flows through the valley and woods, while many interesting medieval centres are along the medieval route of the road Via Cassia: Radicofani, Castiglione and San Quirico d’Orcia, and then – towards Val di Chiana – Pienza and Montepulciano.
This is the home of the famous red wine Brunello di Motalcino, but also a land of water, thanks to the ancient thermal baths by Bagno Vignoni and Bagni San Filippo.
Great wines in Montepulciano, salami in Sinalunga and healing waters by Chianciano Terme, Montepulciano and San Casciano dei Bagni: the whole valley Val di Chiana is a cradle for wellbeing and taste. History has always played an important role here: interesting prehistoric finds by the mount Cetona bear witness to a millenarian life in the valley.
The cave called “Lattaia” was the seat of an ancient water worship, local water was actually believed to help mothers during the lactation; inside the so called St. Francis’ cave there were old fireplaces and burned remains of legumes and cereals.
The mount Amiata (1738 Mt.) overlooks the valley Val d’Orcia (Montepulciano, Pienza e Montalcino) in the southern part of the province, with the hills by Cianciano and Chiusi and the great plain of Maremma. The woods in this area had been already inhabited by Etruscan people and the region was crossed by the medieval pilgrims’ road Via Francigena.
The region today is a well known tourist destination and a famous ski resort, thanks to its numerous slopes and tracks for cross country skiing; the ski lift links the mountain to the valley going through wonderful chestnut trees and beeches.
The small neighbouring town Piancastagnaio gets its name literally from the several chestnuts (i.e castagna) in this area.
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