In the immediate vicinity of Agriturismo Sanguineto or travelling a little further afield for a half-day or full-day excursion, you can visit very pretty villages and also towns and cities of great historical/artistic interest.
Montepulciano (4 km) – Chiusi (17 km) – Chianciano Terme (15 km) – Pienza (18 km) – Castiglione del Lago (20 km) – Torrita di Siena (10 km) – Montefollonico (12 km) – Cortona (29 km) – Sarteano (22 km) – Cetona (29 km). And then there are Arezzo, Siena and Perugia, less than an hour’s drive away.
Many years ago, Montepulciano was defined “The pearl of the 16th century”. The reasons will be immediately apparent just by looking through one of the gates offering entry to the town, which open onto the historical old town where Renaissance buildings and churches, silent guardians of works of art of inestimable value, follow one after the other, practically without interruption, culminating in Piazza Grande, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. Here the scenery is provided by other buildings, such as Palazzo Comunale, so similar to Florence’s Palazzo della Signoria as to be surprising; the Cathedral, with its rough, unfinished façade; the elegant Well of the Griffins and Lions, bearing the key symbols of the Medici family’s rule. Then there are the many public and private buildings, which were designed by the greatest architects of the Renaissance. The piazza is a masterpiece in itself. Airy, spacious, with an atmosphere of days gone by, it has been chosen as the set for famous films and dramas (Medici, New Moon, Michelangelo, and many others). Just outside the old town, at the end of a charming cypress-lined avenue, is the Temple of San Biagio, a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. The old town also offers a succession of shops, wine bars, historic cafés and monumental wine cellars, where visitors will enjoy stopping to buy souvenirs of their stay in the province of Siena. In the valley, about 4 km from Agriturismo Sanguineto, there is another jewel, but this time it’s natural: the Lake Montepulciano Nature Reserve, where it is possible to go for walks and guided tours on an electrically-powered boat, and catch glimpses of birds of prey and other birds too, with large populations of both resident and migratory birds living here.
To speak of Chiusi is to speak of the Etruscan civilisation, which reached its greatest splendour here. And Chiusi is home to one of Italy’s most important national archaeological museums. The artefacts on display here are the fruits of archaeological digs conducted both in the town and in the neighbouring villages, a clear sign that Chiusi was an Etruscan centre of great importance. Surrounded by imposing walls, the old town offers numerous sightseeing attractions, such as the so-called Labyrinth of Porsenna, a system of tunnels leading to a Roman cistern and from there to the top of the Cathedral bell tower.
Chianciano Terme is synonymous with the term SPA. And indeed, it is one of the most famous spa towns in Italy. This has been the case since ancient times, considering that extremely significant Etruscan artefacts of the celebration of water by the Etruscans have come to light near two springs (Sillene and Fucoli). Numerous archaeological digs have unearthed an infinite number of artefacts that are now on display in the Civic Archaeological Museum, now famous among scholars and enthusiasts for the quality and quantity of its exhibits and for the modernity of its exhibition criteria. Speaking of spas, in recent years Chianciano has been enriched by the opening of the Sensory Salon, where it is possible to independently enjoy no fewer than 20 different naturopathy-based treatments, as well as the beautiful and evocative Theia Pools, where visitors can bathe outdoors, in thermal water, even in the middle of winter.
Pienza, as we see it today, is the realisation of a dream of an enlightened Pope, Pius II Piccolomini, who wanted to transform his native village of Corsignano into a town conceived in keeping with the Renaissance standards of the ideal town. To this end, in about 1459, he engaged Bernardo Rossellino, a veritable archi-star of the time, and set him to work on the construction of the bright and elegant Duomo and the Pope’s palace, completed in just a few years, with a hanging garden that opens onto the Val d’Orcia below, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a souvenir of Pienza, we recommend the purchase of the famous Pecorino cheese, which is on sale in the many shops lining the main street.
CASTIGLIONE DEL LAGO
The town stands on a promontory which, in primeval times, was the fourth island of Lake Trasimeno (the others being Minore, Maggiore and Polvese). Rather than a lake, Lake Trasimeno is a sheet of water that occupies the entire horizon; in fact, despite its considerable size, it is only six metres deep at its deepest point. The historical old town is characterised by beautiful narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants, with the ancient castle at the far end. From here, a long walkway illuminated by the light from the embrasures leads to the 16th-century town hall, built over a pre-existing building by Ascanio della Corgna, Marquis of Castiglione del Lago. At Christmas time, Castiglione del Lago attracts thousands of tourists who come to admire the world’s largest floating Christmas tree.
TORRITA DI SIENA
The old town stands on a hill and is encircled by the remains of medieval walls. With the arrangement of its main buildings, the square summarises the three powers: the military (the tower), the civil (palazzo comunale) and the religious (the church of Saints Flora and Lucia); inside the latter are paintings by Benvenuto di Giovanni and Bartolo di Fredi. The adjoining Teatro degli Oscuri was built in the 18th century. In addition to its many artistic and cultural attractions, Torrita is a centre of excellence for the production and sale of fine meats (such as the famous “Chianina”), oil and cured meats. Interesting fact: Ghino di Tacco, a famous medieval brigand-gentleman who continues to divide the opinions of modern historians to this day, was born just a few kilometres away on the Fratta farm.
This is a tiny, beautifully maintained medieval village that sits on a spur overlooking Montepulciano, towering over its main town, Torrita di Siena. It is also known as “the village of Vin Santo” because, for many years, the highly prized wine has been celebrated here during three days of appointments, tastings and cultural events. Its name originates from the fact that, in the 13th century, some Cistercian monks devoted their energies to fulling cloth (the Italian for fulling being follatura) near the little village.
Cortona has a truly fascinating historical old town centre and, from the top of the hill on which it stands, offers a privileged, almost aerial view of the Val di Chiana. Cortona is also of Etruscan origin and this is very evident from the imposing ancient walls, barely altered by the medieval walls in some places, and the narrow and sometimes steep inner alleyways, which give it a severe but elegant appearance.
After exploring the village, with its many works of art in the diocesan museum, we recommend a visit to the Convent of the Celle, founded by St Francis and situated a few kilometres from the centre, in a very green valley. A word of advice: it is well worth a visit, because it is one of the most evocative places in the entire area.
It can be seen from a considerable distance because of its imposing 10th-century castle, where an interesting theatre season is held in summer. There are civil and religious buildings of particular interest also in Sarteano. This small town, which dominates the southern part of the Val di Chiana Senese from above, was also a very important Etruscan settlement. Not far from the centre, in fact, in the locality of Pianacce, an important necropolis has been uncovered, revealing the “Tomb of the Infernal Quadriga”, now internationally famous for a fresco with disturbing connotations.
Every year, on the 15th of August, the Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen), a historical sporting contest on horseback which is among the oldest in Italy, is held in the square.
Cetona is a pure Tuscan village, its features drawn in stone and terracotta and standing out against the green of Monte Cetona, which acts as a backdrop to the village and seems to protect its back. The square, which is truly remarkable in size in relation to the village, is very striking. The 40,000-year-old prehistoric settlement of Belvedere is definitely worth a visit. The Civic Museum for the Prehistory of Monte Cetona is interesting, with exhibits ranging from the Palaeolithic period to the end of the Bronze Age. Another interesting place to visit is the Archeodrome, where a prehistoric village has been faithfully reconstructed. Thanks to its unspoilt beauty and tranquillity, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds it, Cetona has also been chosen as the residence of well-known personalities from the worlds of culture, journalism and film.
Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. This gives an idea of the cultural, landscape and historical value of an area that is unique in terms of beauty and its preservation. We recommend taking a drive through Chianciano Terme, crossing Piazza Italia and entering the valley through the Foce pass. It is less than 20 kilometres from Agriturismo Sanguineto and once you have passed Villa della Foce, you will be able to admire a landscape which, depending on the season, may remind you of Yorkshire for its green meadows, or display almost lunar features due to the presence of numerous gullies and white cliffs, or flaunt a thousand shades of grey and brown during the summer. From here, you can decide whether to return via Pienza or San Quirico, or the medieval village of Monticchiello, or take a detour to Monte Amiata, which is the highest mountain in the area at an altitude of over 1,700 metres.
Agriturismo Sanguineto is in MONTEPULCIANO – Via Sanguineto, 1 – 53045 Montepulciano (Siena) Tuscany – Tel. +39 (0578) 768011 – Fax +39 (0578) 767547 – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The property is located halfway between the heart of the Val di Chiana Senese and the Renaissance town of Montepulciano, which is about four kilometres away and can be reached in a few minutes. Agriturismo Sanguineto is set in a fabulous location, just a stone’s throw from Umbria and not even an hour’s drive from cities famous for their beauty, such as Arezzo, Perugia and Siena.
Finding us is easy: we are right in the middle of Italy.
COMING FROM THE NORTH, BY CAR
A1 motorway exit Valdichiana.
Continue towards Torrita di Siena, then continue towards Chiusi (Via Nottola). At the Nottola junction, turn left towards Acquaviva.
COMING FROM THE SOUTH, BY CAR
A1 motorway exit Chiusi-Chianciano Terme.
Turn right for Chiusi. After 3km, turn left following signs for Acquaviva.
The Railway Station is in Chiusi, located 15 km away. Fast connections with Florence and Rome are very frequent and the travel time with Intercity trains, in both cases, it’s about an hour.
Rome Fiumicino International Airport is about 200 km away
Pisa International Airport is about 190 km away
Montepulciano 5 Km – Pienza 15 Km – Chiusi 15 Km – Cortona 18 Km – Orvieto 30 Km Montalcino 35 Km – Siena 50 Km
Firenze 100 Km – Arezzo 45 Km – Perugia 50 Km – Assisi 70 Km – Roma 120 Km – Pisa 190 Km