Cetona is a small town rich in history located in the Val d’Orcia and is an ideal place for those seeking a holiday in a peaceful and scenic area. Some of the oldest human settlements of central Italy were discovered at the base of Monte Cetona, such as the early neo-Paleolithic Gosto cave and Lattaia cave. The Belverde park hosts 25 prehistoric and Bronze Age caves, such as the San Francesco cave. There are several sites of Etruscan finds. The town of Cetona developed on the hillside around the rocca fortress, containing a square tower (about 900 AD) and an inner fortress wall. It became known as the Scitonia castle. In the first mention of the comune, at the end of the 11th century, Pope Gregory VII granted feudal rights to a member of his family, the Aldobrandeschi. The family’s heirs sold the rights, and in the 14th century, Cetona was alternatingly ruled by Siena and Orvieto (until 1354), and, after a brief rule by Perugia, was annexed by Siena. An outer wall was built, containing two round towers (1458). Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici of Tuscany sold Cetona in 1556, to the marchese Chiappino Vitelli (1519–75), who made the fortress into a private residence, and built the piazza below it, today named Piazza Garibaldi. His descendants also erected Palazzo Vitelli in the late 17th century. Cetona was connected to Sarteano (1772–1840), and annexed to Italy in 1861.
Chiusi descends from the Etruscan Charmars that under the reign of Porsenna, between the seventh and sixth century. C., reached its maximum power and wealth. Its historical and cultural heritage makes a significant archaeological site of international importance.
Entering through the front door, you are on Via Porsenna where you can see medieval and Renaissance buildings. The street flows into Piazza del Duomo, whose underground has unearthed the remains of a building that was believed to be the palace of King Porsenna. Here they dominate the Palazzo Episcopale , the Campanile and the Cathedral with the adjacent museum with Greek, Roman and Etruscan ceramics to see.Since the eighteenth century, the city has begun to search for the remains of its ancient and glorious civilization. There is also a fascinating underground route that winds below the town in which they are collected some 300 sarcophagi and funerary inscriptions. The real jewels of Chiusi, however, are located outside the center. Extraordinary Etruscan tombs with frescoes let you discovering the richness and culture of a still mysterious people as the Etruscans.
Montepulciano city is a typical scenery of the Tuscan villages: entering thru the front gate of the city, began a through time. Middle Ages and Renaissance gliding over your steps, which ending on top of the village in Piazza Grande. This square is the heart of Montepulciano, a place where you meet tourists and Poliziani ( they are called the inhabitants of Montepulciano). The four sides of the square are embellished by different buildings: the fourteenth-century Palazzo Comunale, that remember the tower of Palazzo della Signoria in Florence; Palazzo Contucci, and the Noble-Tarugi, travertine covered. Next to here is the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and just in front of the pit Griffins dei Leoni in Renaissance style. In the Cathedral you can see the triptych of ‘Assumption by Taddeo di Bartolo and the Madonna and Child by Sano di Pietro. Along the Piazza crossing streets with palaces and many shops that sell the famous Vino Nobile and local specialties.
Pienza is a city that was commissioned by Pius II Pope, who asking Leon Battista Alberti the task of transforming the small medieval village of Corsignano in the Ideal City of the Renaissance. This village was born in only three years with an extraordinary beauty and harmony, symbol of the will of Pope Pius II to create a village that was different and more beautiful that Siena, where his family had been sent away. As in many villages surroundings Siena, there is one big road (Corso Rossellino) running through it and arriving in a large square. In Pienza’s Piazza Pio II, with its particular trapezoidal shape and the characteristic pavement herringbone. Near to here you have to see Piccolomini Palace and the Town Hall, with a central pit. Along the Corso Rossellini will be very hard resisting the call of the shops with the famous Pecorino di Pienza and other typical products.
To the south of Siena is a classic fairytale hilltop town, set within a full circle of fortified walls and watched over by a mighty castle of medieval perfection. Montalcino, west of Pienza, is a beautiful village immersed in the breathtaking Val d’Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello red wine.The town has scarcely changed in appearance since the 16th century. Once you get up to the town, a magnificent spectacle unfolds for your eyes: rolling sunny hills dotted with yellow and red flowers, ancient oak trees, picturesque olive groves, scenic country roads winding through perfect vineyards and isolated cypress trees atop hills.Montalcino is not just wine, it is also very rich in artistic treasures. The historical center is dominated by the mighty and imposing Rocca or fortress built in 1361 to mark the passage of Montalcino under the domination of Siena. The views from its ramparts are spectacular, stretching towards Monte Amiata, across the Crete to Siena, and across all of the Valdorcia and the hills of Maremma.
Bagno Vignoni has one of the most beautiful squares in the world. in which city you can find a a place with a square filled with thermal water that flows at 52 ° C? The water collects in the large tank around which the whole country was born and grew. Fortunately he grow not so much that a few minutes to visit it, and after beginning favorite activity for tourists visiting Bagno Vignoni: soak the feet and hands in little streams of warm water that depart from the square through the whole country with hundred of waterfalls. Once these rivers moving the mills of Bagno Vignoni (recently restored and visitable) but today they are the best way to relax after a day visiting city and hills of Siena. For those who need a longer relaxation, at the end of the village there is a thermal water bath in which is possible taking a bath. You will emerge from it as new born.
Bagni San Filippo
Città della Pieve
It is supposed that, already Etrurians and Romans, had established at the same place where today Città della Pieve rises. This characteristic village was touched by the events of the medieval history, and indeed, a number of masters had the control of the town until when Clement VII placed it under the direct control of the Church. At the center of the village, still today encircled to a good extension by the walls of 1300, having such a medieval style that here the narrowest street of Italy can be found (via Baciadonne),the Dome dedicated to the SS. Gervasio and Protasio rises; its original structure has to be dated around the XII century but modifications done during centuries XVI and XVII have modified the original shapes and styles. However, the more ancient construction still can be noticed by the decorations of the lower part of the facade, the apse and the gothic Romanesque bell tower. Citta ‘della Pieve organizes various events during the year, worth a special note the Terzieri.
Cortona is a small cozy town of Val di Chiana, in the province of Arezzo. The city, surrounded by walls in which are still visible Etruscan and Roman sign, was built on a hill, which reaches 600 meters high. This elevated position ensures a ‘good views from different points of the city, allowing you to admire the beautiful landscapes of Valdichiana, also seeing the lake Trasimeno. Cortona’s center is built around the Piazza della Rebubblica, which overlooks the Town Hall. The town is small, but offers several interesting things to visit, including the Diocesan Museum (which houses a beautiful table of ‘Annunciation by Fra Angelico) and the MAEC (Museo dell’ Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona), in which they are exposed, among other things, many Etruscan artefacts from different areas of the zone. At the museum you can get information about your visits to the Archaeological Park of Cortona.
Abbazia San Galgano
San Galgano is the first gothic church built in Tuscany between 1218 and 1288 by the Cistercian monks as a sign of the popularity of Saint Galgano cult. Unfortunately the Abbey’s lands were devastated by mercenary bands and, at the end of the 15th century, the monks moved to Siena. In 1787, a lightning struck the bell tower, which collapsed onto the roof and after a few years the church was deconsecrated. The San Galgano abbey. Few meters from this incredible abbey there is the Hermitage of Monte Siepi chapel which was built between 1181 and 1185 on the hill where S. Galgano had retired to live as a hermit. At the centre of the Chapel there’s a rock in which Galgano embedded his sword. According to legend, Galgano Guidotti, born in the nearest town of Chiusdino, led a dissolute life dedicated to pleasure and entertainment until he converted to Christianity. To symbolize his abandonment of his life as a knight, Galgano plunged his sword into a stone. The sword in the stone. After Galgano’s death, in 1181, the Hermitage of Montesiepi chapel was built on the site where he had left his sword, and it was consecrated in 1185.
Abbazia Monte Uliveto
Situated on a solitary, wooded hill dominating the Crete area, this was the first abbey of the Benedictine Order of Monte Oliveto and certainly the largest and most beautiful among those that were erected in other localities and even in Tuscany. It was founded in 1313 by Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348) who decided to abandon the world and withdrew to this solitary and unwelcome retreat, known as the Accona desert. In 1319, the Bishop of Arezzo gave his approval to the institution of the Benedictine Order. In 1320, work started on the monastery’s construction. Pope Clement VI confirmed the Monte Oliveto congregation in 1344. The abbey is still the offical residence of the general abbott of the Monte Oliveto Benedictine congregation. This place offers both a suggestive and pretty landscape, as well as, an interesting art collection. The church, which was erected in the 15th century and whose interior was re-built after 1772 in the Gothic style, possesses some marvellous inlaid choir stalls by Giovanni da Verona (1503-1505) and a lectern by Raffaello da Brescia (1518)
Also of interest are the frescoes by Luca Sodoma, done at the beginning of the l6th century and depicting the life of San Benedetto da Norcia in 35 panels. This seires of frescoes runs along the four walls of the huge cloister, with its suggestive atmosphere in a double row of Loggias, airy and tall and with rows of characteristic pillars.
We wish to point out the refectory, with its l7th century frescoes of three naves according to the designs of Friar Giovanni da Verona (1518).