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TOUR THROUGH THE TERRE DI SIENA FROM SIENA TO SAN GALGANO
From Siena to San Galgano Abbey along the road via Cassia to discover the sophisticated civilization of the Etruscans
Itinerary: Siena, Murlo, Monticiano, San Galgano
Tour through the Terre di Siena from Siena to San Galgano
You will start from Siena discovering the "Terre di Siena" (Siena Lands) along the ancient Via Cassia, rich in Roman relics. You will follow 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 kilometers, you will pass through Radi. Now, vineyards give way to the forests of the Natural Reserve of the Lower Merse, and then reach the village of Murlo. This small town 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 (Etruscan Museum) (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, 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. Here is located in an isolated position in the forest the Medieval Castello di Tocchi (Castle of Tocchi), a fortified hamlet dating back to 1100. Its defensive walls and the entrance arch are still intact so you will almost feel in the air the environment of the Middle Ages and when the Sienese and Florentine armies used to face here each other for the dominance of Tuscany.
Then, you will pass by Monticiano, an ancient village founded in the 13th century. The oldest part is located on a hill, with the remains of its ancient walls. From the top of the hill, you will enjoy a breathtaking view over the valley of Merse river. (pic n°5).
From here follow the road sign to San Galgano. Here you should visit the San Galgano Abbey (pic n°6) built between 1218 and 1288. It is one of the first buildings in Central Italy that was built following the new tenets of 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 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 where 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.
After your visit here, the tour is over and you can go back to Siena.
It is long about 152 kilometers
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)
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