The Belvedere Natural and Archaeological Park
is not far from the small town of Cetona
. The park provides an excellent opportunity to combine archaeology and nature. The landscape is one of uncontaminated woodland which can be enjoyed on foot. Visitors can also explore a different kind of landscape with one of the professional guides. The underground corridors, rooms and tunnels are all lit by solar PV. These cavities in the rock were formed over millennia and to explore them is to take a step back in time. Some of these underground areas were used in the past as burial sites, as certain archaeological studies have revealed. Archaeological research
in the area began half way through the last century and continues today. It is known that the Grotta Lattaia, for example, was used as a place of religious worship in the past, as several votive artefacts from the Hellenistic period have been unearthed there such as miniature vases and bronze coins.
Until the 1930s, it was believed by many that if breastfeeding mothers drank the water dripping down from the walls of the cave then they would magically produce more milk. The largest of all the caves is called Grotta di San Francesco
, after the saint who allegedly spent time there. There are three communicating caves which lead to the Franciscan hermitage. They are called Antro della Noce, Antro del Poggetto and Tombetta della Strada. The Mount Cetona Prehistoric Civic Museum is connected to the park. This museum documents the various human settlements in the area from the Paleolithic Age to the end of the Bronze Age.Opening hours
July – September 9am-1pm and 4pm-7pm (closed on Mondays)
October – June: by appointment only for groups of ten people minimumEntry fee
Museum OR Park: €2,50 (reduced ticket €2,00)
Museum AND Park: €3,00 (reduced ticket €2,00)How to get there
Take the Florence-Rome A1 motorway, exit at Chiusi. Follow for Cetona and then take the non-asphalted road after the services to the caves.
The Chiusi-Chianciano Terme train station is 7kms from the caves and is on the Florence-Rome line.
Take the Chiusi-Cetona line Ferroviaria Italiana (Lfi) bus to Cetona.In the surrounding area
Civic Archaeological Museum in Chianciano Terme, Civic Archaeological Museum in Sarteano, thermal spa resorts in Chianciano Terme, Montepulciano, San Casciano Bagni and Castelluccio di Pienza.Contact informationMuseo Civico per la Preistoria del Monte Cetona
(The Mount Cetona Civic Prehistoric Museum)
Tel. +39 0578 237632
Fax +39 0578 firstname.lastname@example.org
Apt Chianciano Terme - Val di Chiana
Tel +39 0578 67111
Fax +39 0578 64623www.terresiena.it