Montalcino ancient city lying on a hill at almost 600 m., in a dominant position, the valleys of Asso, Val d’Orcia and Valle dell’Ombrone. The surrounding countryside, rich in woods and beautiful vineyards, offers vast views ranging from the sea to the mountains. Montalcino is a monumental city where Gothic Roman architecture prevails.
There are many monuments of artistic interest, among these we can note particularly: the Palazzo Comunale, which is located in the style of the Palazzo Comunale Senese, in which moved the seat of Republic of Siena occupied by the Imperials is transferred; the Sant’Antimo monastery; the Diocesan Museum, which contains paintings and polychrome wooden statue of the sixteenth century; the Civic Museum, which host various frescoes of the Sienese school. It also includes a prehistoric and Etruscan archaeological museum; the Rocca, a pentagonal fortress with bastions and towers at the top, built by the Sienese in 1300.
The last Sunday of October is celebrated in Montalcino, the Sagra del Tordo and the second Sunday in August the Opening Tournament of the Hunts, parties of the medieval districts parading in the rich costumes and competing in the archery competition.
The Val d’Orcia is a peripheral area, naturally bright and clean land in which the agricultural character of its economy and the persistence of its inhabitants in activities linked to the land or to the processing of local raw materials, have safeguarded the relationship between man and environment , elevating it to a dignity almost everywhere unknown. But this valley is not only a widely poetic and naturalistically captivating place, contributing to the passing down of a system of human relationships historically determined along the great and ancient Romea that crossed it, the Francigena. The set of signs that have developed along it, or the hills that make it wing, allows a reading of the landscape not very different from the one that fascinated the great Sienese painters of the ancient age or of the Renaissance, the European travelers of the ” grand-tour “, the sentimental writers of the English, German and French travels. The scenery of the Val d’Orcia, harmonious in its natural symmetry, is everywhere, in a soft sweetness of hilly lines, to the vertical curiosity of the Amiata, a mountain source of limpid waters and of vital and vegetal energy. The clean colors of the barren clays or the golden tufts are divided on the hills, the vegetation becomes dark around the ditches and rises thick beneath the fortresses or the castellari, almost dispensers of order to the rows of the vineyards and the silver arcs of the olive trees. The solarity, the emptiness, the light, enjoyed from up there, can variably arouse in the observer joy or anxiety, harmonious harmony or sense of solitude, hardly indifference, Val d’Orcia is a continuous escape of hills without visible interruptions, variously shaped by torrents, gullies, mammals and biancane that always run to re-join each other in the light color of the clay.
Siena, together with Florence and Pisa, is one of the most popular artistic centers in Tuscany. Known in the world for the famous Palio (which turns so much the passion of the Sienese as the reprobation of animal rights), Siena has been and is the true protagonist of the history of Tuscany and Europe, both from the point of view of the arts and economic / financial (here resides indeed the oldest active bank in the world, Monte Dei Paschi di Siena).
Of probable Etruscan origin, however, it is in the medieval period that finds its most marked identity, as evidenced by the flourishing of artists and specific currents during the XIII and XIV centuries. Linked to a double thread of banking interests with the state of the Church – as also recalled by the she-wolf in front of the Duomo – much of the city’s history is characterized by continuous clashes with Florence, until the definitive capitalization in the mid-1500s.
This also explains why the historic center of the city, opposed and limited by Florence, has remained such that it can be visited comfortably in half a day – of course only if you do not visit its huge artistic heritage: it is by no means a case, in fact , which since 1995 the entire city has been awarded the Unesco World Heritage title.
The surroundings of Siena are also noteworthy, with the characteristic villages of Chianti, Val D’Orcia and the Crete Senesi. Siena is therefore a good starting point to discover some of the most characteristic places in Tuscany.
Capital city of Renaissance art and beyond, rich in historical and artistic heritage unique in the world; some examples: Uffizi Museum, S. Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Bell Tower, S. Croce (Distance: 100 Km)
Abbey of S’Antimo
Abbey of S’Antimo – “CASA COLSERENO”
Cistercian abbey, now reduced only to the perimeter walls, but able to arouse great charm increased by the mystery and the magic of legends, linked to the Breton cycle, which surround it. (Distance: 20 Km)
Characteristic of Bagno Vignoni, in addition to its thermal waters, is its structure, remained unchanged over time, the town square in fact, it is not as you can imagine in other places, but it is made of boiling water, which flows at 52 °.
The pool of the thermal waters is in fact in the center of the square, closed on three sides by a wall of about one and a half meters high, around some buildings, made by Bernardo Rossellino in honor of Pio II, and the loggia where he stopped Santa Caterina from Siena.
It is located 10 km from Grosseto. One of the most interesting archaeological areas in Italy, it was first Etruscan and then Roman (7th century BC). (Distance: 60 Km) It preserves an overlap of buildings and walls belonging to the Villanovan, Etruscan and then Roman civilizations. The discovery of red-figure Attic vases testifies to the commercial contacts of the city with Greece and the Greek colonies of southern Italy.
Founded in the 7th century BC, it was mentioned by Dionysius of Halicarnassus among the cities that brought aid to the Latins in the war against Tarquinio Prisco. It developed to the detriment of neighboring lucumonies in particular Vetulonia.
In 294 BC it was conquered by the Romans. It became the first Roman municipality and later, with Augustus colony. The Foro and the basilica date back to this period, a system for collecting rainwater and a thermal building. Traces of an amphitheater and villas are also preserved.
Starting from the sixth century it fell like all the Maremma, scourged by malaria. The city was abandoned until the reclamation of the area by Pietro Leopoldo at the end of the eighteenth century.
In the fifties the remains of the ancient buildings were brought to light through a long campaign of excavations carried out by the archaeologist Aldo Mazzolai.
One of the first natural parks and one of the most interesting destinations, an example still intact of the Mediterranean scrub. Near the mouth of the Ombrone there are the last examples of the swampy areas of the past. (Distance: 81 Km)
Castiglione della Pescaia
Castiglione della Pescaia – “CASA COLSERENO”
At 18 km from Grosseto, is a popular seaside resort, considered by Legambiente one of the best Italian beaches. It preserves the medieval castle and a picturesque old town. Not far away is Punta Ala, another famous resort. (Distance: 87 Km)
Promontory with two important centers: Porto S. Stefano and Porto Ercole very sought after tourist destinations. Opposite are the beautiful islands: Giglio and Giannutri. (Distance: 115 Km)