If you're planning to come to Tuscany in Autumn (or in case you missed the Nature Train runs during the spring season) you should know that from September 2 to December 8 2018 you have the chance to explore the Tuscan countryside from a very peculiar point of view and, at the same time, take a real dive into the past.
Departing from Siena or Grosseto, aboard a steam train or a vintage railcar, the Treno Natura crosses tracks that have been closed to ordinary rail traffic, thereby offering new glimpses into the Siena countryside. Do Crete Senesi and Val d'Orcia ring a bell?
Furthermore, all train trips are always concurrent with special events happening in the arrival towns. Check out the calendar below.
On September 2 a vintage railcar will set off from Siena to Chiusi and will travel across the land of the Etruscans in occasion of the "Ruzzi della Conca" Festival, a celebration that includes competitions, games events and shows. Starting from end of september, you will have the chance to hop on board a fantastic train pulled by a steam engine. In fact, on September 30, you can reach the Val d'Arbia food festival (Sagra della Val d'Arbia) taking place in Buonconvento by steam train.
The second trip by steam train on the agenda is scheduled for October 7st and will take you to Murlo, where you will be able to attend Bluetrusco (or Etruscan blue), a yearly event taking place in the castle.
The lovely town of Abbadia San Salvatore and its Autumn festival will be the leading stars of the Nature train trip that will take place on Sunday October 13. The food festival of Abbadia is held the second and the third weekend of October every year, with an entertaining exhibition of local artists and kiosks selling traditional dishes.
On October 14 the steam train will leave Siena to reach the historical Monte Antico and Monte Amiata stations. The trip will then continue by bus all the way to Vivo d'Orcia. If you are a food lover (of course you are!), know that the Porcino mushroom festival will be in town of that day, so that you will have the chance to taste the famous "funghi" from Monte Amiata.
October in Tuscany also means fresh extra virgin olive oil, as you might already know. Well, on October 21 the Nature train heads to the hamlet of Trequanda on the occasion of the "Festa dell'olio novo", where you'll meet the best local olive oil producers.
On October 28 you shouldn't miss the steam train that will take you to the Thrush fair in Montalcino. You'll cross the Val d’Orcia hills until the Torrenieri Station. Here, there will be a bus transfer to the town of the renowned Brunello. The Medieval Thrush festival has been celebrated the last Sunday of October every year since 1958: 4 districts meet together to play an archery tournament. The Sagra del Tordo is also a great opportunity to taste local traditional dishes, including pappardelle with wild boar sauce, homemade pici, bean soup, grilled meat and sausages accompanied by the best local wines.
On both November 11 and November 19 the Nature train will be leading you to San Giovanni d’Asso to attend the renowned Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco, or White truffle fair.
Departing from Siena (November 11) or from Grosseto (November 19) both trains will stop in Monte Antico and head to the truffle fair, where you will find food stalls selling white truffles and many local truffle-flavoured specialities.
Make sure you check out the program of the Nature train trip that is taking place on December 2nd. Every year the city of Siena welcomes the Christmas season with the Mercato nel Campo, a great Christmas market with more than 100 stalls taking place yearly every first weekend of December. On that very same day, since many years, the Nature train departs from Grosseto to reach Siena in time for the Mercato. Sounds like a tempting combination, doesn't it?
The 2018 calendar of Nature train ends in style on December 8 with the trip to San Quirico d'Orcia on the occasion of the Olive oil fest. Since 1993, the olive oil festival in San Quirico is a burst of tastes, aromas and folk traditions. A few hints? Besides the new olive oil, you'll be able to taste the Orcia wines, the pecorino cheeses, the chianina beef and cured meats, along with many typical and traditional dishes.