What to See

Montisi MONTISI
Montisi is a very special, ancient village. Its name comes from a temple dedicated to the Etruscan goddess Isis. It is famous for its ‘Giostra di Simone’, a jousting pageant in historic costume held at the beginning of august. Please visit its site www.montisi.com It’s also the seat of the ‘Piccola Accademia’, a famous Harpsichord School www.piccolaaccademia.org
San Giovanni d'Asso. The Castle SAN GIOVANNI D’ASSO
The Castle, an imposing medieval structure beautifully restored, and built in part by the same Piccolomini Pope as Pienza, includes the Town Hall and Conference rooms, and a Museum dedicated to the White Truffle. A walk around San Giovanni d’Asso will also bring you to the small but intriguing early Romanesque Chapel of San Pietro in Villore.Another interesting local feature consists in the ‘Bosco della Ragnaia’: this is a wood which has been landscaped by a local american artist . You can see the extension of this project at the end of the valley, onto the road for Asciano, the gate is just there on the left.
PIENZA
Famous village with unique Early Renaissance square and Duomo, to the design of the Piccolomini Pope. Many shops with local produce; ceramics, linens etc. Nice restaurants for lunch, and walkway along the walls with majectic views of Monte Amiata.
ABBAZIA DI MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE
A working Benedictine Abbey, with beautiful frescoed cloisters(Signorelli and Sodoma). Gregorian vespers are sung at just after 6.00pm and at 11.00am mass on Sundays.
MONTALCINO
Famous for Brunello wine (find all the varieties at Enoteca La Fortezza, among others).Explore this medieval town with Fortress, and admire the enormous views.
MONTEPULCIANO
Also famous for its wine. Rosso di Montepulciano is its younger wine; and Vino Nobile is a ‘riserva’. The elegant Caffè Poliziano and its refined restaurant. Of note are the imposing ‘Cantine del Redi’.
BAGNO VIGNONI
Magic square with well known roman hot springs. Small bars, restaurants, an excellent ‘erboristeria’( great teas and spices). Intriguing boutiques.
SANT’ANNA IN CAMPRENA
An ancient convent between Pienza and Castelmuzio. Try and get to see the Sodoma frescoes (in the refectory). Set for ‘The English Patient’.
SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA
Old town of Etruscan origin on the Via Cassia between Siena and Rome. See the tryptic of Sano di Pietro in the Collegiata church. Visit The ‘Horti Leonini’, Renaissance Italian gardens and the Piccolomini Palace.
ABBAZIA DI SANT’ANTIMO
Picturesque Romanesque Abbey below Montalcino past Fattoria Barbi. Gregorian vespers at 7.00pm on Saturdays. Check times, as they may vary this year.
BUONCONVENTO
Small walled town originally part of the Via Francigena pilgrim route with its ‘Museo dell’Arte Sacra’ and ‘Museo Etnografico del mondo contadino’. See listings for restaurants.
MURLO
Old Etruscan village with world-famous Etruscan Museum.
TRIPS TO THE COAST
The Maremma coast, from south of Grosseto to Golfo di Baratti and Punta Ala, offers an endless series of delightful and scenic beaches for sea-bathing. The famous Parco Naturale Dell’Uccellina at Alberese and in Val di Cornia.
TRIPS TO THE MOUNTAIN
he Monte Amiata, over 1700 mtrs high, stands out as a major landmark and offers winter skiing, and many small town centres of architectural note and special culinary delights. At a short distance from San Quirico d’Orcia lies Seggiano, and nearby the famous sculpture and botanical park of Daniel Spoerri. Abbadia San Salvatore boasts a unique vaulted Longobardo Crypt, while close to Arcidosso is Monte Labro and the Tibetan Cultural Centre at Merigar.