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Surroundings

The Chiana and Orcia valleys contain many extremely significant sites in terms of both artworks and medieval and Renaissance history.

On the slopes of Val di Chiana stand settlements of Etruscan origin such as Montepulciano, with a wealth of medieval and Renaissance monuments (works by Sangallo, Vignola, Peruzzi, Michelozzo etc...) as well as well-known centres like Cortona and Chiusi.

On the slopes of Val d'Orcia: Pienza, S.Quirico e Radicofani mark the Roman Via Cassia, which follows the ancient Via Francigena route for some distance; not to mention other lesser-known but equally charming towns such as Monticchiello, Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Montefollonico, La Foce and Castelluccio. History and Art are thus the two major cultural and tourist attractions, but we can add a third element: the thermal spas: Bagno Vignoni, Terme di S. Filippo and San Casciano in Val d'Orcia; Terme di S. Albino and Chianciano on the slopes of Val di Chiana.

If thousands of people come to visit these places, and often decide to stay, it is because the scenery today remains the same as the landscapes of the great painters.

 

Montepulciano

Montepulciano

This splendid town, known as "the Pearl of the 16th century" for its artistic and architectural heritage, retains its beauty intact.

Climbing its steep streets, the visitor discovers magnificent palaces and churches, where Renaissance architects showcased their unparalleled art.

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Pienza

Originally called "Castello di Corsignano", Pienza took its current name in honour of Pope Pius II Piccolomini, who instigated its rebuilding in the second half of the 15th century, with the aim of turning Utopian ideas of the ideal town into reality.

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Chiusi

Already an important site in Etruscan days, Chiusi's time of greatest splendour was during the reign of the legendary King Porsenna.
Hugely significant archaeological finds are still being unearthed today, and many of them can be seen in the "Etruscan National Archaeological Museum".

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San Casciano dei Bagni

Questo piccolo centro, posto nell'estremo sud della provincia di Siena, ai confini con Umbria e Lazio era già noto in epoca medievale e al visitatore d'oggi appare proprio come un borgo tipicamente medievale dominato dal massiccio torrione quadrato di Palazzo Bologna.

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Sarteano

The imposing square bulk of the 10th century bridge house speaks clearly of the medieval origins of Sarteano, which lies along a ridge overlooking the Chiana Valley.

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Montalcino

Montalcino (564 m above sea level) is located on the top of a hill overlooking the Orcia, Arbia and Ombrone valleys.

As well as the marvellous views, there are numerous medieval buildings to admire in the town, starting with the Town Hall - ancient seat of Priors - an austere stone construction decorated with coats of arms and topped by a high tower, monumental loggias and Gothic round arches from the 14th and 15th centuries; followed by the neoclassic cathedral, built on a tenth-century parish church, whose Baptistry Chapel houses some interesting sculptures;

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Monte Amiata

Monte Amiata, the Tuscan massif, shows its gentle but austere face from miles away.
On a clear day it can be seen from the hills of Chianti, from Maremma and by travellers on the Tyrrhenian coast, from the mountains of Lazio and the calm waters of Lakes Trasimeno and Bolsena.

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Lake Trasimeno

Legend tells that the nymph of Lake Agilla, madly in love with the handsome prince Trasimeno, seduced him and pulled him under her waters, which now bear his name. Lake Trasimeno, with a surface area of 128 sq.km. and a circumference of 45 km, is the largest in mainland Italy and the fourth in the country.

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