Casole d’Elsa

Casole d’Elsa

Casole d’Elsa

Amongst medium and low hills cultivated with vines, olive trees and cereals

Casole d’Elsa was an ancient Etruscan settlement and is still located on the back of a hill that offers a suggestive panoramic view of the Sienese countryside.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Casole was a place of strategic interest and so, in order to defend its territory from possible external attacks, new fortifications were erected, including two round towers in addition to the city walls. The walls of Casole d’Elsa are ovoid in shape and consist of both the two late 15th-century towers mentioned above and the Rocca, a 14th-century fortress now housing the town hall. However, a contemporary soul is hidden in this building: the Arte Viva art gallery, a magnificent collection of drawings and paintings by children from all over the province.

One of the main buildings in the historic centre of Casole is the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, built in Romanesque-Gothic style in the 12th century. Inside are numerous art works such as those by Beltramo Aringhieri. Near the Collegiate Church is the Rectory, which today houses the Archaeological Museum of the Collegiate Church. Here it is possible to learn about the history of the town and its surroundings thanks to archaeological finds from the Etruscan period and paintings and sculptures of the Sienese school from the 14th to the 16th century. Also not to be missed is the Church of San Niccolò, which contains frescoes by Vincenzo and Francesco Rustici.

In addition to the buildings and the arta, we must recognise the considerable environmental importance of the Casole d’Elsa woods: the Berignone forest and the woods of the Montagnola Senese.

Continue with the discovery of Chianti…

Casole d’Elsa

Casole d’Elsa

Casole d'Elsa Amongst medium and low hills cultivated with vines, olive trees and cerealsCasole d'Elsa was an ancient Etruscan settlement and is still located on the back of a hill that offers a suggestive panoramic view of the Sienese countryside. In the 11th and...

Volterra

Volterra

Volterra Between an Etruscan past and the secrets of alabasterVolterra is one of the most important centres in Tuscany, both for the presence of monuments testifying to the civilisations that have succeeded one another over thirty centuries, and for the working of...

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

San Gimignano A forest of towers on the horizonFor the characteristic medieval architecture of its historic centre, San Gimignano was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. The site of San Gimignano, also known as the Manhattan of the Middle Ages, is largely...

Volterra

Volterra

Volterra

Between an Etruscan past and the secrets of alabaster

Volterra is one of the most important centres in Tuscany, both for the presence of monuments testifying to the civilisations that have succeeded one another over thirty centuries, and for the working of Tuscan alabaster, whose artefacts are now one of the most typical and traditional products of Italian craftsmanship.

With its predominantly medieval appearance, it preserves abundant remains from the Etruscan period, such as the Porta all’Arco, the Acropolis and the city walls still visible in some parts of the city. The Roman presence in Volterra is documented by the important ruins of the Teatro di Vallebona, thermal buildings and a large water cistern. The medieval appearance of the town is not only evident in the urban layout, but is most visible in the palaces, tower-houses and churches. These include the Palazzo dei Priori, the Palazzo Pretorio, the two groups of towers of the Buomparenti and Bonaguidi and the Church of San Francesco. Finally, Volterra has three museums of considerable historical and artistic interest: the Museo Guarnacci, the Pinacoteca and the Museo Civico, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Its 7300-metre-long double wall was designed to protect not only the town and the urban centre, but also the springs, cultivated fields and pastures, which were often subject to raids by foreigners.

In addition to its monuments and numerous testimonies of art and history, Volterra offers a view of the gentle hilly landscape that surrounds it, interrupted from the west by the wild and impressive spectacle of the Balze.

Continue with the discovery of Chianti…

Eremo di Lecceto

Eremo di Lecceto

Eremo di Lecceto Area of multiple monastic experiences, of a life devoted to prayer and meditation The Lecceto Hermitage is the most famous of the Augustinian hermitages and is located about eight km west of Porta San Marco in Siena. The hermitage-fortress, with a...

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista One of the most interesting Romanesque monuments in the Sienese countryside The Pieve di San Giovanni Battista, also known as the Pieve di Ponte allo Spino, is located in Sovicille in the alluvial plain of the Piano dello Spino, washed...

Sovicille

Sovicille

Sovicille An evocative landscape rich in historical memories  From afar Sovicille looks like a small island immersed in the green woods and hills of Tuscany. Sovicille is located about 10 km from Siena and with its 14,376 hectares is one of the largest...

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

A forest of towers on the horizon

For the characteristic medieval architecture of its historic centre, San Gimignano was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. The site of San Gimignano, also known as the Manhattan of the Middle Ages, is largely intact in its 13th and 14th century appearance and is one of the best examples in Europe of urban organisation from the communal era. In the most prosperous period, the rich families of San Gimignano came to build as many as 72 towers as a symbol of their wealth and power. Of these, 14 remain today, adding to the charm of the town’s atmosphere.

Cathedral of San Gimignano: the simplicity of its Romanesque façade encloses the wonders and masterpieces inside. These include works by Benozzo Gozzoli, Taddeo di Bartolo and the pupils of Simone Martini.

Piazza del Duomo: if the Duomo is the religious symbol of San Gimignano, the Palazzo del Popolo is its civic counterpart. Together, just a few metres from each other, they form the extraordinary architectural ensemble of Piazza del Duomo. The Palazzo Comunale is located on the left-hand side of the square, between the Torre Grossa and the Loggia del Comune. The palace today hosts the Civic Museum of San Gimignano, which already announces its beauty from the entrance courtyard.

Piazza della Cisterna: this square, with its extraordinary setting, is an almost obligatory point of passage for any visit to San Gimignano. It is located at the top of the hill on which the Tuscan town is built, so it is a good place to relax. Harmonious and collected, it is certainly the most beautiful piazza in San Gimignano and one of the most beautiful all over Tuscany. This is where the small shops and market and jousting took place.

The Torture Museum: In reality, there are two small museums: the first, as soon as you enter the village, displays on three floors a complete itinerary on torture methods from all over the world, with original instruments and tools, photos and detailed explanations. The other museum is located a little higher up and has the death penalty as its theme.

Church of Sant’Agostino: a small treasure trove of works of art that is well worth a visit to discover the many jewels it contains.

Rocca di Montestaffoli: built to defend San Gimignano from attacks by Siena after its submission to Florence. Not much remains of the ancient fortress, but it is worth climbing into this green space to admire an extraordinary view of San Gimignano and the Val d’Elsa. The only remaining tower of a complex defence system is a privileged vantage point from which to enjoy the view. Today, the fortress of Montestaffoli is the site of cultural events and festivals, in particular the Giostra dei Bastoni, held in June.

Continue with the discovery of Chianti…

Torri

Torri

Torri A village with a medieval appearance  Entering the ancient village of Torri, one is surprised by the medieval atmosphere that reigns there and by the suggestive corners of the small squares and courtyards. The village is a hamlet of the municipality of...

San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey The remains of one of Tuscany's most important monasteries.  The site includes two different attractions: the large Abbey with a huge roofless church and the hermitage of Monte Siepi where, according to legend, St Galgano retired as a hermit. At...

Monticiano

Monticiano

Monticiano A medieval village with two rivers and two natural reservesAmong the beautiful hills of Terre di Siena is Monticiano with all its authenticity. Its territory is crossed by the Merse and Farma rivers which give life to two magnificent natural reserves,...

Colle di Val d’Elsa

Colle di Val d’Elsa

Colle di Val d’Elsa

The crystal capital

Colle, also known as the Bohemia of Italy, accounts for 95% of Italian crystal production and 14% of world production. It therefore represents excellence in this sector for our territory and for the world.

Globets, plates and glasses are shaped through a mix of craftsmanship and technique that can still be observed today and that allows the city to be the producer of almost all of this special glass in Italy. To learn the tricks of the trade and contemplate the art of glassblowing, you can visit the Crystal Museum or take the opportunity to attend demonstrations held in the workshops.

In the past, the medieval village of Colle was divided into three parts: Borgo di Santa Caterina, Castello di Piticciano and the Piano, now simplified into Colle Alta and Colle Bassa. Official documents begin to mention Colle val d’Elsa as early as the 10th century. The town consists of the historic centre on the hill above and the newer part below.

Colle Bassa: a visit to Colle can start from the large Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio located here. Then there is the Crystal Museum and the Church of St. Augustine. From Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio, take Via dei Fossi until you reach the Crystal Museum. The museum reconstructs the history of Colle’s glass industry. The museum also has an experimental area where visitors can come into direct contact with materials and tools for glassmaking. Continuing along Via dei Fossi, we come to Piazza Sant’Agostino, which is overlooked by the Renaissance-style Church of Sant’Agostino.

Colle Alta: the Castle and the Borgo make up the most interesting part of the village. Here we find the Cathedral, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum Complex of San Pietro. Continue on to the majestic Porta Nova. The gate is part of the imposing system of fortifications that served to defend Colle Castle.

Everyone knows the novel The Adventures of Pinocchio written by Carlo Collodi, but not everyone knows that for a certain period of his life the writer lived in Colle di Val d’Elsa. There was a medieval fountain in the town called Fonte di Pinocchio, which must have inspired Collodi to choose this name for his puppet.

Continue with the discovery of Chianti…

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista One of the most interesting Romanesque monuments in the Sienese countryside The Pieve di San Giovanni Battista, also known as the Pieve di Ponte allo Spino, is located in Sovicille in the alluvial plain of the Piano dello Spino, washed...

Sovicille

Sovicille

Sovicille An evocative landscape rich in historical memories  From afar Sovicille looks like a small island immersed in the green woods and hills of Tuscany. Sovicille is located about 10 km from Siena and with its 14,376 hectares is one of the largest...

Rosia

Rosia

Rosia Between legend and modernity  Rosia is a fraction of the municipality of Sovicille and owes its name to the homonymous stream that flows nearby. When we think of this place we cannot fail to mention the Hermitage of Santa Lucia and the Ponte della Pia. The...

Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni

A timeless place

Monteriggioni represents one of the most significant fortified villages in the area and is one of the best preserved examples of military architecture in the world. Its strategic position allowed first to control and then to admire Colle Val d’Elsa and Staggia.

The perfect circularity of its perimeter was achieved by following the natural contours of the land. The walls of Monteriggioni have a perimeter of 570 metres and were built between 1212 and 1219, only to be reinforced in 1260-70.

The untouched city walls consist of 14 towers and 2 city doors. The Porta Franca or Romea facing Rome and the Porta Fiorentina facing Florence. All this demonstrates its majesty, which still shocks today.

Piazza Roma, the heart of the village, is surrounded by meadows and vegetable gardens, once useful for the survival of the population in case of siege. This is the main square of the village, overlooked by the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta. A small church, it has always been the centre of village life.

The prestige and peculiarity of this village have long enjoyed a consolidated reputation; even the poet Dante Alighieri mentions Monteriggioni in his Divine Comedy because he was personally impressed by this imposing structure.

There are legends that tell of secret passages and underground passages connecting the castle with the nearby fortifications, and even a road to Siena.

In the last few years Monteriggioni has taken on greater tourist importance, having been included in the Via Francigena route by the Council of Europe, and is therefore part of the Cultural Itineraries. This is a walking route that starts from Piazza Roma in Monteriggioni and arrives at Il Campo in Siena.

Continue with the discovery of Chianti…

Rosia

Rosia

Rosia Between legend and modernity  Rosia is a fraction of the municipality of Sovicille and owes its name to the homonymous stream that flows nearby. When we think of this place we cannot fail to mention the Hermitage of Santa Lucia and the Ponte della Pia. The...

Torri

Torri

Torri A village with a medieval appearance  Entering the ancient village of Torri, one is surprised by the medieval atmosphere that reigns there and by the suggestive corners of the small squares and courtyards. The village is a hamlet of the municipality of...

San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey The remains of one of Tuscany's most important monasteries.  The site includes two different attractions: the large Abbey with a huge roofless church and the hermitage of Monte Siepi where, according to legend, St Galgano retired as a hermit. At...