Surroundings and Itineraries

FEW STEPS FROM THE JEWELS OF TUSCANY

Pienza, the oldest planned town in Europe, one of Tuscany’s pearls
Bagno Vignoni and Rapolano Terme, with their Roman hot springs
Rocca d’Orcia and Vignoni
Montalcino and Montepulciano, with their famous wines
Sant’Antimo Abbey, built by Charlemagne
Monte Oliveto Maggiore
Trequanda, Petroio, Cortona, Sarteano, Monte Amiata
Abbadia Sicille and Abbadia a Cignano, ancient Templar rest stops on the way to Rome.

Spedalone is 40 km from Siena and Arezzo, 70 km from Perugia, and about half way between Rome and Florence just 20 minutes into the hills off the main highway.

ITINERARIES AND EXCURSIONS IN TUSCANY

The lands and streets of Siena are an italian trademark, an invitation to discover an artwork made of white traces, isolated cypresses and perpetually changing earth waves, in every season and in every time. In this dimension made of armonic creations, time seems to stand still. 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: travelling across its asphalt roads, slowly moving on horseback or on feet or travellng on nature train.

Pienza

The history of Pienza, a city declared as human heritage by UNESCO, sounds like a fairy tale: the city owes its name and its humanist beauty to Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was born there and was elected Pope in 1458 as Pio II. Going back to his hometown, he decided to rebuild a large part of the city, thus turning this little medioeval borough
into a renaissance-styled papal residence. The reconstruction, designed and made by Rossellino and inspired to the work of Leon Battista Alberti, took around three years and in 1462 Pio II consecrated the Cathedral and inaugurated the new city, a urban gem. A visit, even for a few hours, will make you fall in love; Giovanni Pascoli described it as a city born from a love thought and a dream of beauty.

Bagno Vignoni

Small and fascinating town known for centuries due to its marvelous and suggestive square made of a thermal pool, which has been used since the roman period and where, throughout the centuries, famous characters such as Santa Caterina and Lorenzo il Magnifico have come to get healed. With a depth of 1000 meters and a temperature of 52°C, the water flows gathering on the huge basin at the center of the borough. The thermal waters rise from the heart of the volcano creating concretions of rare beauty.

Sant’ Anna in Camprena

Olivetan monastery built from 1324 to 1334. In its refectory, the wonderful frescos of Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, called the Sodoma, who became famous in 1996 due to the movie “The English Patient”, can be seen. The birth of the monastery is linked to Bernardo Tolomei, who founded Mt. Oliveto.

Montalcino

The native land of Brunello, one of the most famous red wines in the world, is located at an altitude of 567 meters.

The hill on which Montalcino is located has probably been inhabited since Etruscan times.

 

Thanks to the position of the city, dominating the top of a hill, the view can span the valleys of the Ombrone and the Asso.

 

In the Middle Ages the prevailing economic activity was the tannery and Montalcino had numerous factories for the processing of leather, factories that were famous for the quality of their products.

Abbazia di Sant’Antimo

Gorgeous church, whose shape recall those of the great French romanesque churches, as a testimony of the french influence on this hills. The St. Norbert canonicals still live in the partly rebuilt monastery, celebrating functions with gregorian chants.

Vivo d’Orcia

Wonderful small fraction of Castiglion d’Orcia, embedded in an valley out of time, the Val d’Orcia. Below the castle flows the Vivo river, whose sources gush in the town Ermicciolo. Along the river, throughout the centuries mills, paper mills and iron foundries were built, as well as the first water-based power station. Traces of these ancient buildings are still visible, vine-covered, in one of the most beautiful and evocative landscapes of this zone.

In the small town Ermicciolo it’s possible to visit, during the holiday dedicated to the waters, the sources of Vivo river, flowing from the rocks. The walk, from Ermicciolo to the hermitage, is one of the most pleasing ones in Amiata: it is possible to stop and watch the small waterfalls and the dam among the woods, as well as the caves used by partisans during WW2 and the archeological sites where multiple relics mesolithic and etruscan relics were found. The Vivo Valley is one the very few places in the whole world where it’s possible to convince yourself you’re still living in the medioeval period.

Monticchiello

Fortified borough including various medioeval buildings: the fortress with various remains of the medioeval wall and the thirteen-century church dedicated to St. Leonardo and Cristoforo, with interesting remains of frescos. The shows of the “Teatro Povero”, an expression of sharecropping tradition, have become an international cultural appointment since 1967.

Radicofani

One of the most impressive fortresses in Tuscany, it guarded for centuries the border between the gran duchy of Tuscany and the State of the Church. Built shortly before 1000, it was modified and fortified multiple times. The Tower, rebuilt in the 20th century, features a wonderful landscape on Val D’Orcia, Mt. Amiata, the Appennino and the Trasimeno and Bolsena lakes.