The Sienese mountains are heaving with monuments, ancient traditions and culture, uncontaminated nature and thermal springs. There are year-round local town festivals which celebrate each different season and its produce. The Siena Tourist Board invites visitors to come and enjoy all this and much more, all in the shadow of Siena’s most majestic mountain, Mount Amiata. Visitors will find many ideas and suggestions for getting the most out of the area in the leaflet ‘Amiata, lo spazio dell’anima’ (‘Amiata, a place for your soul’) which was written by the Siena Tourist Board.
Valleys, streams, thermal springs and stunning hills: the natural heritage to be explored in this region is limitless. There are three suggested tours which can be taken to discover what the Sienese landscape has to offer. They are Emozione Autentica (Experience Authentic Emotions), Istanti d’arte (Artistic Moments) and Emozioni (Emotions). The sites visited as part of these tours include the best of the local landscape and the architectural jewels of the region. For example, the beech tree woods, the natural thermal baths at Bagno Vignoni and Bagni San Filippo, the spring at Vivo d’Orcia, the footpaths in the Pigelleto Nature Reserve and the Mount Amiata Nature Park, the perfect Renaissance design of Pienza and the evocative ancient Longobard Abbey of San Salvatore.
If you prefer visiting monuments then why not take a "Tesori" (Treasures) tour? This tour visits the most important monuments of our civilisation, monuments which together tell the story of the region from the Roman empire to today. The first suggested itinerary takes visitors round the many treasures to be found in local abbeys. For example, there is the splendid Longobard crypt in the San Salvatore abbey on Mount Amiata, the frescoes in the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, the abbey of Sant’Antimo which, according to legend, was founded by Emperor Carlo Magno and where Gregorian chanting can still be listened to today. The second itinerary takes in the Medieval Festival at the abbey of San Salvatore which takes place every July. As part of this festival, Medieval traditions, culture and products are brought to life in the abbey’s grounds.
In autumn, the region’s traditional cuisine comes to the fore as this is a time of harvest and abundance. The many local food festivals around Mount Amiata provide the inspiration for the third kind of guided tour on offer, called Le Tradizioni, or Traditions. This tour is a great way to unwind and let yourself be swept away by two of the most fascinating traditions of this area: the ‘accensione delle fiaccole and the Palio di Paincastagnaio. The ‘accensione delle fiaccole’ is a tradition which takes place every Christmas Eve during which huge stacks of wood are lit outside the abbey of San Salvatore to welcome in Christmas Day. The Palio di Piancastagnaio is a race which takes place every August and which stirs deep passions in the four competing districts of the town.
To find out more about getting the most out of your visit to Mount Amiata and surrounding area, go to www.terresiena.it and click ‘Offerte di viaggio’.