Itinerary: Siena, Murlo, Monticiano, San Galgano
From Siena to San Galgano Abbey along the road via Cassia to discover the sophisticated civilization of the Etruscans
Discovering the "Terre di Siena" (Siena Lands) along the ancient Via Cassia, rich in Roman relics. We start from Siena following the road that leads to the south along the valley of the river Merse. The landscape of the Chianti hills (pic n°1) with shades ranging from the ochre of the earth to the green of the vineyards is a real treat for the eyes. This is the area of the famous red wine "Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG"!
After a few kilometres, we pass through Radi. Now, vineyards give way to the forests of the Natural Reserve of the Lower Merse, and then we reach the village of Murlo. This small village is (pic n°2) a hidden gem that preserves inside its medieval walls ancient historical evidence. The nearby Poggio Civitate is also an important archaeological site.
At the Museo Etrusco di Poggio Civitate (pic n°3), called the Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate, you will find very well-preserved Etruscan findings that will take you back to the eighth century. B.C., and will make you touch the sophisticated civilization of the ancient inhabitants of Central Italy.
Left behind Murlo, we move towards the forests of the "Riserva del Merse" (Merse Reserve) (pic n°4): 1750 acres of gently rolling countryside where oaks and arbutus alternate to the Mediterranean maquis and which is also home to deer and wild boars. We take the road to Monticiano (pic n°5), and then follow the road sign to San Galgano.
San Galgano Abbey (pic n°6) is one of the first buildings in Central Italy that was built following the new tenets of the gothic architecture arriving from France. However, the unusual combination of the materials that were used such as the Travertine stones and the Sienese bricks, could not be more Tuscan. In the late 18th century, a lightning bolt struck the bell tower and together with it also the remaining parts of the roof collapsed.
After visiting the abbey, walk up the path to the Pieve di Montesiepi also known as the Rotonda di Montesiepi (because of its round mausoleum-like architectural outline) and as Eremo (hermitage) di Montesiepi. The current building was probably erected in the 14th century on the base of a pre-existing one.
It was here that Galgano Guidotti, the later Sainte Galgano, became a hermit in 1180. This decision was induced by various dreams and visions that lead him to stop his ruthless life. As a worldly sign of his inner change, Galgano stuck his sword into a rock on the hill of Montesiepi and therefore, turned himself from a knight to a hermit and his sword from a weapon to a cross.
Some pictures about the tour "from Siena to San Galgano":
Chianti hills (pic n°1); The village of Murlo (pic n°2); Poggio Civitate (pic n°3); Merse Reserve (pic n°4); Monticiano (pic n°5); San Galgano Abbey (pic n°6)