Podere il Moro

Farmhouse with pool
in the province of Siena, Tuscany Italy


Farmhouse holiday surroundings: Siena regions

Siena regions
It is a very influenced itinerary either of the point of view of wonderful scenery or for the presence of small art centres of great interest and the one that leads to the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore at Montepulciano.
From Siena you take the main road 326 for a short distance, then carry on to Asciano. From here go across the arid clay zone of Siena you come to high ground where the monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore rises, surround ed by cypress trees. Follow along the Ombrone valley untill you reach Buonconvento, where the land rises between olive, groves and wine yards and Montalcino is situated beside the hill. From here you take the road for S. Quirico d'Orcia then contilling for Pienza and Montepulciano.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore (Crete Senesi)
A famous abbey and monuments of the art of Siena, founded in 1313, it is the mother house of Benedettini Olivetani. It is made up of a complex of buldings built between the XIV and the XVIII Century, which consists of a medieval palace, the church and the monastery. The most beautiful aspect is that of splendid frescoes that wind along the walls of the portico of chiostro grande, representing episodes of the life of San Benedetto, the cycle of frescoes, the work of Signorelli (in 1497-98, represents nine stories) and of Sodoma (1505 represents 27 stories). It is one of the greatest complexes of renaissance paintings.
There is also of interest the Chiostro Piccolo, the library, the refectiry and the laboratory of the monks. To notice in the church is the magnifient wooden chorus inlay and in the pharmacy an important collection of XVII century vases.

Montalcino
A characteristic citadel in a panoramic position on a hill between the vallery of Ombrone and Asso. Agriculturally noted for its production of wine like Brunello, the red of Montalcino and Moscadello. To visit is the town hall and the Roman-Gothic church of S. Agostino and the town museum. La Rocca (the rock) erected by the people of Siena in 1361, dominates the area from high up on the hills with its powerfull sized pentagonal towers fortified with ramparts. You can visit inside where there is also a wine library for the tasting of local wines.
Also recommended is the excursion to the abbey of S. Agostino, at a 8 km distance.

Pienza (Val d'Orcia)
The citadel was born in 1458 by the wishes of the Pope Pio II. Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who had just been elected and wanted to transform the native village of Corsignano, Entrusting the commission to Bernardo Rossellino, one of the greatest Florentine architects of the renaissance, the square Pio II opens-up in the centre of the citadel and holds in a small space the princple monuments: the cathedral, the town hall the bishop's palace and the palace piccolomini, the master-piece of Rossellino which can be found at the palace Rucellai of Florence. Also to be noted is the well facing palace Piccolomini, a fine piece of work also by Rossellino.
Worth visiting as well is the cathedral's museum. Also suggested is a walk (about 10 minutes on foot) to the Parish church of Corsignano, a little church of the ancient village, that rises in a very evocative place among greenery.
Among the typical products of this area is the excellent sheep's cheese of Pienza.

Montepulciano
It is one of the most intact and characteristic villages of the Italian renaissance in Tuscany. Situated in a panoramic position on a highground that dominates the Piano della Chiana, it is also an imortant agricultural centre noted for its excellent wines. Following Via di Gracciano, the first part of the course, you will find beautiful elegant buldings like the 15th century Palazzo Avignonesi and the church of S.Agostino, Piazza Grande, situated on the top of the hills and is the central monumental of the city. The noble buldings are: the town hall, the cathedral, the palace of the pretura formerly the Capitano del Popolo. In via Ricci, inside the gothic palace neri-orselli, the civil museum can be found.
Don't leave out visiting, on foot the inhabited area, the solemn church of S. Biagio, masterpiece of Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio (1518-45). The church is one of the most significant constructions of the renaissance, it is a harmonic greek cross bulding, perfected by a high dome with the facade lined by two isolated bells.
5 km in the direction of Chianciano you can find the Terme di Montepulciano with sulphureous waters rich in bicarbonate and magnesium.

San Gimignano
Picturesque citadel born above the dominate hills of the Valdelsa, in the heart of a flourishing agricultral area, San Gimignano preserves the medieval aspect, characterized by numerous towers. Because of this it is one of the most evocative places in Tuscany and the destination of many tourists. Originally etruscan, San Gimignano takes it name from the bishop of moderna ( who loas made saint) and died in 385. The core of the inhabited area extended and reached the maximum expansion of 1000 whene it became a free town. In this period apart from fortifying the village with more than 2km of surrounding town wall, there are noble palaces with mighty towers, in part shown off as a manifestation of power or as a defensive purpose, but it became even more in the case of the towers. From the 72 towers of that period, today there are left about 15, and help to give the town a unique look. San Gimignano owes it fame from the medieval atmosphere that you, can breath, at the artistic and artisan shops of ceramics, goldsmith's to the characteristic narrow streets that wind between squares and palaces, that take you back to the time of disagreement between Guelfi and Ghibellini. In fact many films have been made of the medieval surroudings.
A particular valued visit is the Piazza della Cisterna, Piazza del Duomo and the Palaces that surround them, the collegiata and San Agostino; Piazza della Cisterna takes its name from the 1200 a.d. cistern that you can see in the middle, Piazza del Duomo is the central monument of the city, closed in by palaces and towers. Collegiata di S. Maria Assunta is a roman bulding from the XII century many times transformed and restired;  the church of S. Agostino, Roman-Gothic from the year 1200 holds frescoes of Benozzo Gozzoli that illustrates the life of the saint and the coronation of Maria del Pollaiolo. Palazzo del Popolo also called the Palazzo Nuovo del podestà, is headquarters for the town hall.
Considerable consideration worth mentioning are the typical San Gimignano products, like Vernaccia and Saffron.
Vernaccia is one of the white wines most valued in Italy and it is esclusively produced in the territory of San Gimignano. It was the first Italian wine to be reconized in 1966, the D.O.C. . The coltivation of saffron has an ancient story, many documents testify its importance for the economy many for the town of San Gimignano, in the middle ages when it was already a very expensive product, besides this San Gimignano is rich in events and appointments with "Estate Sangimignanese" that propose lyrical opera and concerts in Piazza Duomo.

Siena
One of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany, famous for its square Il Campo (Piazza del Xampo) where a horse-race is held every year Il Palio di Siena, on the 2nd of july and the 16th of august, the biggest celebration in Siena. The festivity starts about a week before and for the winner the celebration finishes months later, dinner in the streets, events and music. Originally the square was a large field, hence the name "Il Campo" was a shape of a seashell, where you can find the most important fountain, Fonte Gaia, famous for its position in the square, for its quadrangular shape and for its artistic works.
The panels of the fountain were created by Jacopo della Quercia. In every street there is a fount that has its own, symbol, today they are used to celebrate christenings, while once they supplied water for all uses. Fontebranda is Siena's oldest fontain, Fonte d'Ovile an interesting monument to admire and visit. it was built as an outlet to take water for artisan and agricultural uses. La Fonte del Casato is situated in the centre of the city, but difficult to find, these are only some of the fountains of Siena. Lovers of art have many things to admire, Palazzo delle Papesse a museum that offers an expedition of contemporary art. The museum of the society Esecutori Pie Disposizioni, contains an interesting collection of works of art from the Siena school between the XIV and the XVIII century. Of noble interest is the Battistero, where the bronze panels are portraits of the life of S. Giovanni Battista. Il Duomo holds the Piccolomini library, with books that illustrates art and frescoes that tell us about Pope Pio II. Also to admire the Sinagoga, situated in Piazza del Campo. These are only some of the things that there are to admire in Siena. We always advise to have your holiday in spring or in autumn and to go to Siena more than once it's worth it. From farmhouse holiday Il Moro, direction Florence, only 8km and you will find the exit for Siena where you go through Massetana, a street full of shops to have a good shopping spree.