Excursions around Siena
Around Siena the countryside is perfect for all types of slow travel, excursions on foot, horseback or by bicycle that give the body and mind a fresh surge of vitality, away from our daily routine and stress. Footprints, bicycle tracks and hoof marks appear and disappear with the changing of seasons, and these itineraries are an invitation to the discovery of yet another aspect of this wonderful land.
From Siena you can plan some wonderful days or weekends in the country side. Or even just day trips as many places are within an hour and a half's distance from Siena using public transport or some travel agency from Siena. Don't forget to give a look also to our suggested excursions in Tuscany country side.
The name comes from the "crests" of clay eroded over the centuries into a dramatic desert of parched hillocks. The area is home to some of the most remote vestiges of the Sienese heritage in the enchanting scenery of the Val d'Orcia area. This unique natural landscape has inspired countless poets, writers and painters. only 13 still survive today.
This hill town is a medieval oasis upper the Ombrone valley, in the very heart of "Crete" desert. It was founded by Etuscan, then it becames a Roman village and in XIII century it was purchased by the Sienese. Asciano has many historical monuments, between them the Romanesque Basilica di Sant'Agata within the 15th century ramparts.
Besides being a pleasant little town set up like a terrace on the Orcia valley, it has a thermal water basin right in the middle of the town square. It is a popular spa town with both an official spa and outside stone culverts with thermal water running in the open.
SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA
This fortified town 15 km east of Montalcino was a major stop for north europen pilgrims journeying to Rome in the Middle Ages. The amazing view of the Orcia valley can be enjoyed from Piazza della Libertà.
San Gimignano is a medieval town that owes its famous skyline to the rival families who tried to outdo each other by building taller and taller towers. Of the original 76 towers only 13 still survive today. It's famous also for its white wine: the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. It' been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE
This 14th century Benedictine monastery stands on a rocky ridge near Asciano in a scenic park of traditional tuscan trees. The nave's choir stalls count among Italy's finest works of inlaid wood carvings.
The 12th century Benedictine abbey, 10 km south of Montalcino enjoys a delightful setting amid olive groves. Translucent onyx and alabaster in the bases of the columns give the nave a delicate light.
South of the "Crete" , this enchanting fortified hill town is well-known for its red Brunello wine. The city walls were built in the thirteenth century. The fortress was built on the highest point of the city in 1361 and includes the tower of Saint-Martin, the tower of St. John and an old church, that now is the chapel of the castle.
A wine cellar (Enoteca) in the castle offers local wines for tasting and purchase.
Montepulciano is a medieval village in the province of Siena.
Close to Pienza, it's 70 km far from Siena, the hill town (with an elevation of 605 m) is famous for the wine (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) and for the "pici", a traditional dish. In the village of Montepulciano visit Antonio da Sangallo's San Biagio, a wonderful Renaissance church.
You can then spend time walking the streets and feel what it was like to live in the medieval period.
Pienza is a Renaissane town in the heart of Val d'Orcia (province of Siena).
It's been completely rebuilt in the mid-15th century (also the name, before it was called "Corsignano") thanks to Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II), turned this out of the way hill town into a testing ground for the most advanced Renaissance ideas about urban planning.
The project was UNESCO declared Pienza a World Heritage Site in 1996 (in 2004 the entire Val d'Orcia was declared World Heritage Site). Take a mourning to walk the streets before moving onto the next village.
This enchanting little hill town just 15 km north of Siena has an almost intact circular 13th century fortification wall enclosing the village. It used to be part of Siena's defence system against Florentine attacks. During Summer there's an Opera Festival inside the Monteriggioni Castle, visit our page dedicated to Opera and Classical Concert in Monteriggioni!