Many places of interest surround our Borgo, no matter your taste or interests: within a range of 75 km you’ll find medieval strongholds and ancient villages, abbeys and natural reserves.
At 32 km away, about 40 mins by car. If not only for its wonderful medieval centre, the town is of great interest for the Romanesque Abbazia di San Salvatore, founded to protect and control all trades along the Via Francigena, and for the museum on the ancient mine of Mercurio. The town hosts the picturesque “Festa delle fiaccole” each year on Christmas Eve’s night. It is a tradition which has very old, possibly pagan origins.
At 55 km away, about 1 hr by car. One of Tuscany’s most important Romanesque monuments, it was inspired by the Abbey in Cluny, France and it is said that it was founded by Charlemagne, on returning from Rome. It was refurbished for Zeffirelli’s movie “Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna” (“Brother Sun, Sister Moon”), and it is still active thanks to San Norberto’s Canonici.
At 75 km away, about 55 mins by car. It is one of the main Etruscan towns although it thrived under the Romans, when the Theatre, the Baths and the Amphitheatre were built. As Christianity spread, Arezzo became episcopacy, when the ancient Duomo Vecchio was built. The church San Domenico is one of the most popular sacred sites in Arezzo, and it hosts Cimabue’s wooden crucifix, considered one of the great 13th century Arts masterpieces. You will also find the “Fortezza Medicea” (Medicean Fortress), a rare example of 16th century military architecture designed by Antonio da Sangallo and built upon request by Cosimo I dei Medici around the middle of the century.
At 25 km, about 30 mins by car. A tiny thermal station, it features calcareous deposits made by the waters that flow from the rocks, which form copious concretions. The most imposing of these, a solidified waterfall, is known as Balena Bianca (White Whale). San Filippo’s waters are classified as hyper thermal sulphurous-sulphate-bicarbonate. Their source temperature is 52°C (or 125.6° F).
At 35 km, about 40 mins by car. The borgo, with its houses, its taverns and the church San Giovanni Battista rises around a big rectangular pond in which thermal waters spring: its central location recalls the Roman thermal baths. Its close proximity to the Via Francigena made it a popular stopping point for less hasty travellers going to Rome. Bagno Vignoni’s waters are bicarbonate-sulphate-alcaline-earthy hyper thermal, at a temperature of 51°C (or 124° F).
At 40 km, about 45 mins by car. To visit: the Rocca di Tentennano, the Rocca Aldobrandesca and the Piazza “il Vecchietta”, dedicated to the painter-sculptor-goldsmith Lorenzo di Pietro. The parish Pieve dei Santi Stefano e Degna is the most important religious building in Castiglione, also because of the works of art on display therein.
Castiglione del Lago
At 40 km, about 50 mins by car. Founded by the Romans as Novum Clusium, the town has retained its old structure featuring perpendicular roads (“cardi” and “decumani”). Each year in April a celebration is held, called “Coloriamo I cieli” (Let’s colour the skies), during which the whole village becomes crowded with kites. Also in April there is the “Festa del tulipano” (Tulip Day): on one Sunday morning the town wakes to a feast of tulips, that as if by magic flower from balconies and windows of homes, shops and offices.
At 13 km, about 15 mins by car. It has been discovered that in the confines of Cetona there is one of the oldest human settlements in Central Italy, dating back to 40.000 years ago. Other places to visit are the Archaeological site of Belverde and the 25 prehistoric caves, the prehistoric Museum, the Chiesa di SS. Trinità with its frescos by Pinturicchio and the Palazzo Vitelli.
At 20 km, about 25 mins by car. It is an archaeological site of great importance, famous for its many Etruscan findings. To visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Etrusco (National Etruscan Archaeological Museum), where you can find unique remains such as the Tombe Etrusche della Pellegrina e del Leone and the Labyrinth of King Porsenna, who after bringing the town to its apex tried to attack Rome. In the Cathedral’s Museum there is a rare collection of Benedictine illuminated codex. The San Secondiano cathedral is the oldest church in Tuscany.
Città della Pieve<
At 22 km, about 30 mins by car. An attested Etruscan and Roman settlement, today it has the look of a medieval town. It features Italy’s narrowest vicolo (50 cm), via Braciadonne. Places of interest include the Duomo, with its frescos by Perugino and Pomerancio, and the churches Santa Maria della Mercede and San’Agostino. On the feast of the Assumption (August 15th) there is the Palio dei Terzieri, a celebration that lasts for 10 days, closed by bull hunting.
At 63 km, about 50 mins by car. It is the third city in Italy to have been built after the Deluge by Crano, one of Noah’s descendants. You can’t miss the wonderful church Santa Maria delle Grazie al Calcinaio, whose construction was entrusted to one of Renaissance’s greatest architects: Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Also to visit the Celle convent, founded in 1211 by San Francis, a very evocative place.
At 40 km, about 50 mins by car. Also worthy of a visit are the three small islands rising from the lake: isola Polvese, a scientific-didactic enclosed area; isola Maggiore, with its paths that unravel through a thick vegetation made of olives, holm oaks, pines, cypresses and poplars; isola Minore, also covered by thick vegetation and inhabited by a large colony of cormorants.
At 55 km, about 60 mins by car. A lovely medieval town, whose vines produce some very highly valued wines. At about 9 km from the town centre there is the Sant’Antimo Abbey, an extraordinary example of Lombard-French Romanesque architecture, built on onyx and alabaster. Walking about the city you can admire numerous architectural works of great relevance. The Sagra del Tordo, held on the last Sunday of October, is a popular historical commemoration when the medieval boar hunting is remembered.
At 28 km, about 40 mins by car. Founded by King Porsenna, it is surrounded by a boundary wall and fortifications erected by Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio by order of Cosimo I. Montepulciano is known for its Renaissance palaces, its churches (among which the Cathedral, Dan Biagio, Sant’Agostino, the Chiesa del Gesù and Sant’Agnese) and most importantly for its vino nobile, one of Tuscany’s most cherished wines. The most ancient reference to Montepulciano’s wine dates back to 789 AD: the clergyman Arnipert offers to the churches San Silvestro and San Salvatore a Lanciniano sull’Amiata a piece of land used as a vineyard inside the castle of Policiano..
At 40 km, about 40 mins by car. It is the most renowned centre in Val d’Orcia. Pope Pius II entrusted architect Bernardo Rossellino with the designing of the “ideal city”. Places of interest are: the Renaissance Cathedral, the Palazzo Comunale (the Town Hall), Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini. The Palio del Cacio Fuso is a traditional festival held in the first week of September.
At 60 km, about 1 hour by car.Etruscans and Romans frequently went to Rapolano because of the high properties of the thermal waters, which have consistent quantities of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. Currently it has two thermal spas.
Riserva naturale Monte Rufeno
At 25 km, about 30 mins by car. It is located within a protected area of 3000 hectares ca. It hosts an observatory, the Flowers Museum, a botanical garden and walking and cycling paths.
San Casciano dei Bagni
At 10 km, about 15 mins by car. It is a picturesque village known since antiquity for its sources of thermal water, the third most important in Europe for its water load. It is renowned as an ideal place for relaxing and wellbeing since the age of King Porsenna, and it is still enjoyed as such by its numerous visitors. The Palio della Ranocchia, complete with its parade, is unmissable; also look out for “Calici sotto le stelle” (literally “Goblets under the stars”), a feast of local food and wine held in the middle of August; the Autumn festival usually falls on the latter part of September.
At 10 km, about 10 mins by car.Places of interest include the beautiful “Tomba della quadriga infernale” (Tomb of the infernal quadriga), discovered in 2003, in which a demon is riding a chariot carrying the souls of the dead towards Hades. The archaeological Museum, opened in the 16th century Palazzo Gabrielli, displays findings from the Bronze Age to Romans and Etruscans. In the church San Martino you’ll find one of the last works by Beccafumi: “l’Annunciazione”. You can’t miss the “Giostra del Saracino”, a palio disputed by the town’s contradas on the 15th August.
At 40 km, about 40 mins by car. San Quirico is one more medieval town of Etruscan origins. In the 11th century it became one of the main stopping places on the Via Francigena for pilgrims going to Rome. Among the most important monuments the Collegiata di San Quirico, Palazzo Chigi and the church San Francis; also, don’t miss the garden in the Horti Leonini. The “Festa del Barbarossa” is held on the third weekend of June while the “Sagra dell’olio” is on the 8 December.
At 45 km, about 45 mins by car. Among its most significant monuments we find the church Santa Maria delle Nevi, with its imposing brick portal and broken tympanum, the churches Santa Croce and Santa Lucia (now an auditorium – a concert hall) and the Palazzo Pretorio with its medieval bell-tower. A collection of sacred art is preserved in the “Collegiata di San Biagio” in Scrofiano. The first weekend of June sees the Festa Biancalana, an antiques market which mixes old and modern items; in the first weekend of September there is the “Festa dell’uva e del vino” (Festival of wine and grape); finally, the “Corsa dei carretti” (Chariots Race) in the second weekend of November.
Torrita di Siena
At 45 km, about 45 mins by car. The old cistern in the town’s centre reminds us that Torrita was first and foremost a fortified castle surrounded by high walls. You can’t miss the tower of the Palazzo Comunale, which recalls the “Torre del Mangia” in Siena; other things to see include the “Teatro degli Oscuri”, built on an elliptical plan with 23 plans divided in two orders, and the Romanesque church Santa Fiora e Lucilla, which features a bas-relief marble lunette by Donatello.