Routes and excursions
Among these harmonious creations, time seems to stop. This land south of Siena and central Tuscany, called Crete Senesi, has inspired poets, writers and artists.
There are many ways to enter this dimension: travel the curves of the paved roads, move slowly on horseback or on foot or on board of the nature train.
The history of the city of Pienza, now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the taste of fairy tales. It owes its name and its humanist beauty to Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was elected as Pope Pius II in 1458 and wanted to return to his native village. Here he decided to rebuild much of the city by transforming the small medieval village into a papal residence in Renaissance style. The works lasted about three years, designed and built by Rossellino and inspired by Leon Battista Alberti. In 1462, Pius II consecrated the Cathedral and inaugurated the new city, a real urban pearl. A visit, even for a few hours, will seduce you and make you fall in love: Giovanni Pascoli described it as born from a thought of love and a dream of beauty.
Small and charming town known for centuries for its beautiful and evocative square with a thermal pool, used since Roman times. Over the centuries, illustrious personalities such as Santa Caterina and Lorenzo il Magnifico have been treated here.
The water rises from a depth of 1000 meters and flows at a temperature of 52°, collecting in the magnificent tank at the center of the village. The thermal waters rise from the heart of the volcano, forming concretions of rare beauty.
Sant’ Anna in Camprena
An Olivetan monastery built between 1324 and 1334. In its refectory, there are beautiful frescoes by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (known as Sodoma), who became famous in 1996 from the images of ‘The English Patient’.
The birth of the monastery is linked to the Sienese Bernardo Tolomei, who founded Monte Oliveto. With its majestic structure, it dominates a hill reachable by walking along a road among the cypresses, the last part of which is unpaved.
Today the monumental complex, which dates back to the 15th century and consists of the monastery, the abbey church and a small cemetery, is no longer a religious place.
Due to the position of the city, dominating the top of a hill, the view from its avenues can range over the Ombrone and Asso valleys.
In medieval times, tannery was the main economic activity and numerous factories in Montalcino manufactured leather, famous for its quality.
Abbey of Sant'Antimo
Beautiful church whose shapes are reminiscent of those of the great Romanesque churches of France, as evidence of the influence exerted by the Via Francigena on these hills.
The current church was built at the beginning of the 12th century, but the Abbey is much older.
The origin of the Abbey of Sant’Antimo dates back to the cult of the relics of Sant’Antimo of Arezzo. After his death, in 352 AD, a small oratory was built on the site of his martyrdom.
The canons of San Norberto live in the partially rebuilt monastery and still celebrate their functions with Gregorian chants.
The small village of Monticchiello is immersed in the beautiful hilly landscape of the Val d’Orcia. The stretches of road with curves and lines of cypresses is one of the most famous photographs of the typical Tuscan landscape of the Val d’Orcia.
It is a fortified village that still preserves various medieval buildings: the fortress with long sections of the walls and the thirteenth-century church of Saints Leonardo and Cristoforo with interesting remains of frescoes, reachable by entering the town from the main gate.
The shows of the ‘poor theater’, an expression of peasant and sharecropping tradition, staged since 1967, have become an international cultural event.
Radicofani is characterized by the presence of one of the most imposing fortresses which for centuries controlled the border between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal States. Built just before the year 1000, it has been modified and strengthened several times. The tower, rebuilt in the twentieth century, offers an extraordinary view of the Val d’Orcia, Mount Amiata, the Apennines and the Trasimeno and Bolsena lakes. After the recent renovation, the Cassero Museum was inaugurated inside the fortress. The museum that preserves archaeological finds from the Etruscan Age up to the 16th century and documents the history of the Radicofani Fortress and its restoration through photographs, models and virtual reconstructions.