“Castel del Piano...for the beauty of the place, for the convenience of the agreeable position, is undoubtedly the most important among the village on that slope.” Pope Pius II wrote these words in the 15th century about the town we are visiting next. Stroll around the historic centre’s picturesque narrow, cobbled streets with its three gates: Porta Pianese, now topped with the clock tower, and Porta Amiata (or Castiglionese) and the small Porta Spennaziana, which connects the old town with the newer village beneath the walls.
Next to the clock tower stands Palazzo Nerucci a sublime specimen of 16th-century architecture that houses a diverse art collection ranging from paintings to archaeological finds and antiques. Outside the town breathe in the freshest of air in some of Europe’s largest oak and chestnut woods. A five-minute drive and we are welcomed to Arcidosso by the impressive Aldobrandesca Fortress. The 1,000-year-old stronghold is open throughout the summer and includes the Davide Lazzaretti study centre, medieval history museum, a tour of the tower and the museum of oriental art and culture. If you’re feeling thirsty, pause for a refreshing local craft beer flavoured with chestnuts, saffron or mountain honey at central tap room Birra Amiata.