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Veduta del castello di Monteriggioni

Nature, history and wine in the Terre Senesi

The Val d'Orcia and the Val d'Elsa: enjoying Tuscany in the open air

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Chianti is not the only area of Tuscany renown for its fine wines. Further south, between Chiana and the Val d’Orcia is a Renaissance gem, the town of Montepulciano, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. On clear days you can see the Gran Sasso of Italy from the tower of the Palazzo Comunale. The area is famous for its Vino Nobile DOCG wines, which are extremely high quality and amongst the oldest in Italy. The cuisine of the area is also well-known, especially the handmade ‘pici’ pasta.

When in the Val d’Orcia, you must make a stop at Montalcino, and buy a bottle of the fantastic Brunello wine, one of the most prestigious wines in the world. Returning to Siena, make sure you go through the Val d’Elsa, where natural beauty and artistic heritage meet.

San Gimignano, a hilltop town inside fortified walls, is an outstanding example of medieval town planning. Enter at Porta San Giovanni and head past the tower houses of Piazza della Cisterna to Piazza del Duomo and the Collegiata. While in the town, make sure you taste the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a delicious white wine from the area.

Not far away stands the town of Monteriggioni. Founded in the early thirteenth century by the Republic of Siena as a defensive outpost against Florence, its historic walls with their fourteen towers are still intact, a rare example of medieval military architecture. It is precisely this, the fusion of nature, art and ingenuity, which gives rise to the beautiful Tuscan landscape, renown throughout the world.