10 things to do and see in Siena Surroundings

A complete and detailed guide about 10 things to do and see in Siena Surroundings.

10 things to do and see in Siena Surroundings

Among Siena’s hills you’ll see little medieval villages as an unexpected vision. A sequence of intact jewels of art and architecture. San Gimignano, Pienza, Montepulciano, Bagno Vignoni, Montalcino, Monteriggioni, San Galgano and more. Each village will be for you the  most beautiful and perfect village ever seen. 

A trip in Siena surroundings is the ideal travel for people who love to drive gently, without traffic, enjoying the landscape. Also because you’ll need all your car boot to bring home all the gastronomical souvenirs that this beautiful part of Italy offers: Pienza’s pecorino (ripe cheese), the Nobile of Montepulciano, the Brunello di Montalcino, oil and boar ham, sausages and salami. Every village has something to offer even if it’s often the landscape the real protagonist of this charming places. So, come with us discovering 10 villages in Siena surroundings you can’t miss

If you are looking for a hotel in Siena Surroundings, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 500 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com

San Gimignano, Siena surroundings

1

The 15 towers of San Gimignano look like a mirage in Siena countryside. They appear in the landscape offering the same view that could had a medieval traveller, with one difference, in the Middle age the towers were 72.

San Gimignano, Siena surroundings
San Gimignano, Siena surroundings

You can enter in the town passing through one of the two doors and you go back  immediately in a Medieval atmosphere, in spite of all the tourist that walk into the village. One main road goes up to of the square of San Gimignano and then go back down, where the ancient medieval workshops has been replaced  by the more modern souvenirs shops. That’s the tribute we have to pay to the modernity… but at the same time you can enjoy  the wonderful frescoes of the Cathedral and of St Agostino Church, the civic museum of the town hall. An interesting break would be the Medieval torture museum in order  to discover the human ability to invent pain and death methods.

Pienza, Siena surroundings

2

The Pope Pius II asked to Leon Battista Alberti to transform an ancient village called Corsignano into the current town.

Pienza, Siena surroundings
Pienza, Siena surroundings

Pienza was built in three years, it’s an example of beauty and harmony and it’s symbol of the will of Pius II to build a different and more beautiful town of Siena, from which he and his family were chased away. As in the greatest part of this kind of medieval villages the town has one big principal street (Corso Rossellino) that cross all the town and arrives in the big square. In Pienza there’s Piazza Pio II with its particular trapezoidal shape  and the characteristic herringbone pavement. In this square you can visit also the Cathedral, Piccolomini’s Palace and the Town Hall, at the centre  there’s a well. The three monuments deserve a visit and all along the street you’ll be tempted by all the typical products, such as the pecorino of Pienza.

Monteriggioni, Siena surroundings

3

The best way to have a prefect view of Monteriggioni is  a walk on its old medieval walls. You can see them while arriving in town.

Monteriggioni, Siena surroundings
Monteriggioni, Siena surroundings

Nothing has changed from to the past to nowadays, they are the same walls that impressed Dante,  who mentioned Monteriggioni  in the “Divine Comedy” in the Canto XXXI of the Hell, when he wrote: “As with circling round Of turrets, Montereggion crowns his walls” . He used the majesty of this town to describe the huge giants  Nebrotto, Fialte e Anteo into the abyss of Malebolge.

The 14 towers built to protect the city are still intact. Today this town welcomes tourists, artists and writers, who are attracted by the quiet atmosphere in Piazza Roma (the principal square of the village) where you can visit the church Santa Maria della Pieve and where you can find a lot of typical restaurants.

Montepulciano, Siena surroundings

4

Montepulciano repeats the scenography of all the others small town of Siena surroundings: you enter from the principal door of the city and begin a time travel between Middle age and Renaissance which ends at the top of the village  in Piazza Grande.

Montepulciano, Siena surroundings
Montepulciano, Siena surroundings

The square is the heart of Montepulciano where tourists and poliziani (this is the name of Montepulciano’s people) meet each others. You can find  beautiful buildings: the Town hall, which is dated around 1300 and reminds in its forms the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence; the Contucci Palace and the Nobili-Tarugi  covered with travertine. The nearby Palace is Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and in front of this one  there’s the well dè Grifi e dei Leoni with its beautiful Renaissance design. In the Cathedral you can admire the triptych which represent the Assumption painted by Taddeo di Bartolo and the Virgin with the Baby painted by Sano di Pietro. There are many streets with aristocratic buildings and workshops that sells typical wines such as the noble of Montepulciano and local gastronomic products.

San Galgano Abbey, in Siena

5

The San Galgano Abbey will leave you breathless. Try to imagine a Basilica with Latin cross plan, three naves, 72 meters in length and 21 meters wide, with the intact external walls but…without roof.

San Galgano Abbey, in Siena
San Galgano Abbey, in Siena

During the centuries this Abbey lost its cover. It was built in 1218 and during the XIV century it reached its splendour thanks to the immunity and the royal privilege. After the richness came the decadence, and the Abbey was abandoned, even if it remained majestic. Near the Abbey, on the hill of Montesiepi, there’s the sword stuck  in the stone by Galgano Guidotti. He was violent and arrogant nobleman who had a suddenly religious conversion and left his sword there as a symbolic renounce to the violence . There are a lot of analogies between San Galgano and Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights. Maybe San Galgano was one of the knights… and maybe this is the famous sword in the stone…

Bagno Vignoni, Siena surrondings

6

Bagno Vignoni has one of the most charming squares of the world: which other city of the world has a square filled of thermal water that flows at the temperature of 52°C? The town developed around the  big pool filled with hot water.

Bagno Vignoni, Siena surrondings
Bagno Vignoni, Siena surrondings

The village is quite small, you can visit it in  few minutes and then dedicate yourself to the favorite activity of the tourists that go to Bagno Vignoni: put hands and feet in the streams of hot water that start from the square and cross all the town. Those little rivers used to fuel the mills of Bagno Vignoni (today the mills has been renovated and they can be visited) but today they are the best way to relax after visiting all the villages of Siena surroundings. At the end of the town there’s a thermal pool in which you can have a bath like Lorenzo the Magnificent and Santa Caterina da Siena used to do, the loggia on the square, in fact,  is dedicated to Santa Caterina.

Colle Val D'Elsa, Siena surroundings

7

Montalcino is placed on the top of the hill where it dominates,  with its beautiful XII century fortress,  the Asso and Ombrone valleys below.

Colle Val D'Elsa, Siena surroundings
Colle Val D’Elsa, Siena surroundings

In its history there have been struggle periods and peace times, but the fortune of this town is due to the area where it rise, a prestigious zone of the grapevine cultivation. Therefore thanks to its wines like the Rosso of Montalcino, the Sant’Antimo and the celebrated Brunello of Montalcino, this town is famous all over the world.

The village is still surrounded by the walls of the XIII century and walking through its streets you can admire, among its workshops and little cafés, the town hall and the bishop palace. It’s the seat of Montalcino’s museums where you can see important works of Siena’s artists from the XII to the XIX century. There are also the churches of Sant’Agostino, Sant’Egidio and San Fracesco. If you move a little outside the town there’s Castelnuovo dell’Abbate where you can find the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, with its magical atmosphere, this abbey was founded by Charlemagne in 781.

Montalcino, Siena surroundings

8

Montalcino is placed on the top of the hill where it dominates,  with its beautiful XII century fortress,  the Asso and Ombrone valleys below.

Montalcino, Siena surroundings
Montalcino, Siena surroundings

In its history there have been struggle periods and peace times, but the fortune of this town is due to the area where it rise, a prestigious zone of the grapevine cultivation. Therefore thanks to its wines like the Rosso of Montalcino, the Sant’Antimo and the celebrated Brunello of Montalcino, this town is famous all over the world.

The village is still surrounded by the walls of the XIII century and walking through its streets you can admire, among its workshops and little cafés, the town hall and the bishop palace. It’s the seat of Montalcino’s museums where you can see important works of Siena’s artists from the XII to the XIX century. There are also the churches of Sant’Agostino, Sant’Egidio and San Fracesco. If you move a little outside the town there’s Castelnuovo dell’Abbate where you can find the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, with its magical atmosphere, this abbey was founded by Charlemagne in 781.

Chiusi, Siena surroundings

9

Chiusi descends from the ancient Etruscan city Chamars that reached its maximum splendor under the reign of the king Porsenna, between the VII and the VI century b. C. Its huge historical and cultural asset make this town an archaeological site of great importance.

Chiusi, Siena surroundings
Chiusi, Siena surroundings

From the main door of the city starts via Porsenna where you can see Medieval and Renaissance buildings. This street arrives in Piazza del Duomo. In the square you can admire the Episcopal Palace, the bell tower and the Cathedral with the nearby Museum in which there are guarded important works coming from the Cathedral and the diocese. Just outside the church there’s the civic museum with Greek, Latin and Etruscan potteries. Since the XVIII century the town began to search the traces of its glorious past. There is also a fascinating underground path in which there are collected about 300 sarcophagi and funerary inscriptions. The real jewels of Chiusi, however, are located outside the center, in the Siena countryside: extraordinary Etruscan tombs with frescoes will let you discover the richness and culture of a still mysterious people as the Etruscans. Don’t miss the Tomb of the Monkey, the Lion and that of the Pilgrim. Unfortunately they are not always open: for information contact the Archaeological Museum of Chiusi at 057820177.

Monte Oliveto Abbey, Siena surroundings

10

It was founded in 1313 by San Bernardo Tolomei, the exponent of one of the most powerful families of Siena and a strict observer of the Benedictine rule (ora et labora).

Monte Oliveto Abbey, Siena surroundings
Monte Oliveto Abbey, Siena surroundings

Monte Oliveto Abbey is placed on a hill and it’s defended on three sides by insurmountable cliffs. Nowadays the Abbey is the seat of the Benedictine congregation and houses the Institute of books restoration. Crossing the big cloister, frescoed with the “San Benedetto’s stories”, you can arrive in the church built in XV century renovated with baroques forms. Among the great number of works , there’s a wooden choir made by Frate Giovanni da Verona. In the middle cloister there’s the beautiful fresco representing the Coronation of the Virgin by Sodoma and The deposition by an unknown artist. Then you’ll enter in the monastic library and in the pharmacy in which are conserved numerous pots of the XVII century and numerous medical herbs.

If you are looking for a hotel in Siena Surroundings , we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 500 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com