Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo




Archipelago Toscano




Badia di Coltibuono

Bagni San Filippo

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa


Bolsena Lake


Brunello di Montalcino




Castel del Piano



Castellina in Chianti


Castelnuovo Bererdenga

Castiglioncello Bandini

Castiglione della Pescaia

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglion Fiorentino



Chinaciano Terme




Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio

Colle Val d'Elsa


Crete Senesi

Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba



Gaiole in Chianti



Greve in Chianti


Lago Trasimeno

La Foce



Massa Marittima

Montagnola Senese


Monte Amiata

Monte Argentario





Monte Oliveto Maggiore








Parco Naturale della Maremma







Radda in Chianti



San Bruzio

San Casciano dei Bagni

San Galgano

San Gimignano

San Giovanni d'Asso

San Quirico d'Orcia


Santa Fiora














Tavernelle Val di Pesa

Torrita di Siena




Val d'Elsa

Val di Merse

Val d'Orcia

Valle d'Ombrone




Walking in Tuscany
Ponte della Pia
album Surroundings

Ponte della Pia

Along the ancient road that connects Siena to Massa Marittima, in the vicinity of Rosia, there is a single-arched humpback bridge, that over the centuries has helped people cross the stream below it. Its structure is quite plain and without parapets, for this reason, even though it is still possible to walk on it, you need to be very careful.
The bridge was built in the Roman times and later reconstructed in the year 1000, tradition says that Pia de' Tolomei – the unhappy and beautiful bride of Nello d'Inghiramo de' Pannocchieschi - walked over this bridge to go into exile in the Castello di Pietra, located in Maremma. Pia de' Tolomei was a Sienese woman allegedly murdered by her husband, Paganello de' Pannocchieschi, who had her thrown from a window in Maremma.
The event is also contained in the 5th Canto of Dante Alighieri's Purgatorio: “Ah, when you return to the world, / and are rested after your long journey”/ a third spirit, followed on the second: / “Remember me who am La Pia; / Siena made me, Maremma undid me: / he knows, who having first pledged himself to me, / wed me with his ring”. The biography of this Sienese noblewoman who lived in 1200, has been pieced together starting from Dante's Canto. Pia de' Tolomei was the first wife of Nello de' Pannocchieschi, the Lord of Castel di Pietra and Magistrate of Volterra and Lucca, Captain of the Tuscan Guelphs in 1284 and lived until at least 1322. Tolomei was probably killed by her husband, who made her throw out a window of the Castello di Pietra after imprisonment for a presumed unfaithfulness or simply because he wanted to marry Margherita Aldobrandeschi, Countess of Sovana and Pitigliano.

A lot of books have been written on Pia, some of them are history-based, others take into account also the Tuscan folktales; almost all of these texts anyway agree on the fact that she came from the Guastelloni Family of Siena, a peerage of nobles and bankers and married Baldo d'Aldobrandino de' Tolomei, before getting married later to Nello de' Pannocchieschi. She became a widow in 1290 after giving birth to two children. From this moment on, things get more complicated: some versions affirm that she wasn't able to get pregnant and give a proper successor to Nello and this basically could be the reason behind her murder, others state the woman cheated her jealous consort and finally that he wanted to marry Margherita... Probably the truth will always be buried, but a lot of people swear, they have seen the quiet ghost of the noblewoman crossing the bridge of Rosia, in black nights without moon, completely dressed in white, surrounded by a feeble light and the face covered by a veil. Could it be that Pia is still waiting to ascend into Heaven? After all, she was the one who confessed to Dante, that nobody from her family would have prayed for her...

Pia de' Tolomei asks for Dante's prayers when he encounters her waiting to enter Purgatory among souls who died suddenly and unprepared. "Son Pia, Siena mi fé, disfecemi Maremma." ("I am Pia. Siena made me; Maremma unmade me.") Purg. V, 130–136.

  "Oh, when you will have come back into the world
And you will have rested from the long walk,
follow the third spirit, after the second,
remember me, I am Pia,
born in Siena and died in Maremma.
How I died, he, who first gave me his ring
And then married me, knows."

Pia's story is the theme of an opera by Donizetti. Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Pia in 1868.[1]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pia de' Tolomei

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pia de' Tolomei (1868–1880) (model: Jane Morris), Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA

'In La Pia de’ Tolommei, Rossetti creates a character and scene from Dante’s Divine Comedy through the use of symbols. Here, La Pia sits upon the ramparts of the castle. The surrounding foliage alludes to her frustrating and miserable situation. The climbing fig tree framing her face symbolizes fruitfulness, and the sprigs of ivy on lower right corner represent clinging memory or fidelity in marriage. She plays with her wedding ring ("fair jewel") that symbolizes how a once joyous event now represents her unfortunate predicament. The sundial in the lower left corner is a reminder of the passing of time, or the coming of death, and the wheel of fortune motif on it refers to life changes. The rosary lying on an open prayer book refers to her name La Pia, which translates as "The Pious." Old love letters from her husband also symbolize the passing of time. The bundle of lances on the ground serves as a threatening barrier both compositionally and symbolically to the landscape below and her potential freedom. The red and pink banner of her husband draped across them reminds us of her captivity and that her once-beloved husband is now her jailer. Black crows flying above are thought to symbolize verse five of Rossetti’s poem "Sunset Wings" from 1871, about love that changes, never to be relived. The cloudy sky and gray barren landscape create a grim setting to this sad tale. La Pia’s contemplative expression is one of melancholy and introspection.

Rossetti often designed the frames to enhance the subject matter. On the frame for La Pia, he engraved the passage from the poem in both Italian and English in which La Pia’s spirit speaks to Dante:

"Remember me who am La Pia- me
FromSiena, sprung and by Maremma dead.
This in his inmost heart well knoweth he
With whose fair jewel I was ringed and wed."

The model for this painting is Jane Morris, wife of William Morris, a fellow artist and good friend of Rossetti. This is especially meaningful because Rossetti was in love with Jane Morris. He uses this passage from Purgatory to express his own unhappy romantic experiences with a woman who is married to, and in a sense, prisoner of a man she does not love.'[2]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Giotto Painting the Portrait of Dante, 1852

This is the drawing Dante Gabriel Rossetti made in 1852 preliminary to the watercolour of the same year (the latter now untraced). Rosetti intended to do a painting on the subject but never did.
Giotto's original picture 'a fresco celebrating the glory of Florence' included the figure of Dante holding a pomegranate. It was painted sometime between 1290-1300 on the altar wall of the Palace of the Podesta (later the Bargello) in Florence, but was subsequently covered with whitewash. It was rediscovered in 1840. Seymour Kirkup, one of the scholars who made the discovery, made a copy of the portrait of Dante and sent it to Gabriele Rossetti, from whom it passed to Rosetti.

Giotto is painting the portrait of Dante on a chapel wall, while Beatrice moves below in a procession of women. Cimabue is on the right. Six lines of Italian verse from Dante's Purgatorio, followed by the two opening lines of a sonnet from the Vita Nuova, are inscribed below the drawing.

“Credete Cimabue nella pintura
Tener lo campo; ed ora ha Giotto il grido,
Sì che la fama di colui s'oscura.
Così ha tolto l'uno all'altro Guido
La gloria della lingua; e forse è nato
Chi l'uno e l'altro caccierà di nido.”

Vede perfettamente ogni salute
Chi la mia donna—tra le donne—vede.

According to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the picture “illustrates a passage in the Purgatorio [XI. 94-99] where Dante speaks of Cimabue, Giotto, the two Guidos (Guinicelli and Cavalcanti. . .) and, by implication, himself. For the introduction of Beatrice, who with the other women. . .are making a procession through the church, I quote a passage from the Vita Nuova [XXVI: Sonnet: For certain he hath seen all perfectness]” (see Rossetti's letter to Thomas Woolner, 1 January 1853, Fredeman, Correspondence, 53. 1). Rossetti made a translation of the passage from Dante.
The picture was to have been the first in a Dantescan triptych. The other two panels of the triptych would have shown Dante as a Florentine magistrate sentencing Cavalcanti to exile, and Dante at the court of Can Grande della Scala.
A complex set of historical circumstances invest this picture. Giotto's original picture—a fresco celebrating the glory of Florence—included the figure of Dante holding a pomegranate. It was painted sometime between 1290-1300 on the altar wall of the Palace of the Podesta (later the Bargello) in Florence, but was subsequently covered with whitewash. It was rediscovered in 1840. Seymour Kirkup, one of the scholars who made the discovery, made a copy of the portrait of Dante and sent it to Gabriele Rossetti.[3]
Giotto Painting the Portrait of Dante |

Palazzo tolomei, si, targa pia de' tolomei
Palazzo Tolomei, Siena

[1] Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.
Rossetti's art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats. His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence The House of Life. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, spanning from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877), while also creating art to illustrate poems such as Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, his sister and celebrated poet.
Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Morris.
[2] Narrative Devices in Art | www.spencerart.ku
[3] Giotto Painting the Portrait of Dante, Dante Gabriel Rossetti , 1852 |
The Rosetti Archive facilitates the scholarly study of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the painter, designer, writer, and translator who was, according to both John Ruskin and Walter Pater, the most important and original artistic force in the second half of the nineteenth century in Great Britain. In Whistler's famous comment, “He was a king”.
Completed in 2008 to the plan laid out in 1993, the Archive provides students and scholars with access to all of DGR's pictorial and textual works and to a large contextual corpus of materials, most drawn from the period when DGR's work first appeared and established its reputation (approximately 1848-1920), but some stretching back to the 14th-century sources of his Italian translations.
[3] Photo by licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This page uses material from the Wikipedia articles Pia de 'Tolomei, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Sistine Chapel, published under the GNU Free Documentation License.

The Eremo di Rosia is situated near the medieval bridge over the River Rosia, called Ponte della Pia. The church, entitled to holy Antonio and Luca, was probably built with only nave's system but today is remained only the presbytery's and external wall's part.
From the main road, the hermitage is located along a cobblestoned Roman road surrounded by woods. During the Middle Ages this road was a spur off the Via Francigena, the route from Canterbury to the holy places in Rome.
The hermitage Eremo di Rosia was situated just a little off the road but close enough to be visited by pilgrims. It is cut into the hillside and consisted of a Gothic church, the hermits' convento or friary, places for working and storage, a cloister (clausura) roofed over on two sides and a channel for bringing fresh water to the residents.
Like the legends of Lecceto and Centumcelle, Rosia lays claim to a visit from St. Augustine during the year of 387 on his way from Milan to Rome.

By 1575 the hermitage (eremo) had been made a branch of the large Augustinian community in Siena. In 1638, only two men remained there, and Santa Lucia at Rosia closed.
The ruins of the church still reflect its elegant simplicity, a hallmark of Augustinian life, in the one standing wall of alternating white and red marble in the Pisa-Lucchese style. The convent has been much transformed during the years it functioned as a farmhouse. Completely abandoned for years now, its most interesting pieces have been taken away and placed in the home of the owner of the land. However, three gothic arches and the traces of a number of windows remain to give evidence of what it once looked like.

Castel di Pietro in Gavorrano, where Pia de Tolomei was pushed to her death


Walking in Tuscany

Sovicille’s territory stretches from La Montagnola Senese to the valley of the river Merse.

From Villa di Cetinale to the Pieve di Pernina

  Leaving from the Renaissance Villa di Cetinale, walking through the green woods we shall climb the Scala Santa up to the Romitorio monk residence. From here we shall see the amazing panorama and then we shall reach the Pieve romanica of Pernina and see the Celsa castle.  
Pieve di Pernina
Sovicille a land to discover | Itineraries | Ponte della Pia, Eremo di Santa Lucia, Castello di Spannocchia, Monte Acuto, Torri, Rosia

  Starting from Rosia you take the SP 73 (Provincial road 73) in the direction of Roccastrada and after 2 km. on paved road you arrive at Ponte della Pia – Pia’s Bridge, which you can easily see on your left. You cross the bridge keeping to your right along the cart road which is partly stone flagged and is the antique road to the Maremma region to the west. After about 700 mt. you arrive at a crossroads and you turn to your left (following the indications of a small marker: S. Lucia (St. Lucy’s) The road goes up for about 200 mt. until it arrives in front of the antique Eremo di Santa Lucia –St. Lucy’s Hermitage.
tarting from Rosia you take the SP 73 (Provincial road 73) in the direction of Roccastrada and after 2 km. on paved road you arrive at Ponte della Pia – Pia’s Bridge, which you can easily see on your left. You cross the bridge keeping to your right along the cart road which is partly stone flagged and is the antique road to the Maremma region to the west. After about 700 mt. you arrive at a crossroads and you turn to your left (following the indications of a small marker: S. Lucia (St. Lucy’s) The road goes up for about 200 mt. until it arrives in front of the antique Eremo di Santa Lucia –St. Lucy’s Hermitage.
of the Rosia plain) you arrive in the hamlet of Torri. Having crossed the town center in 2 km. you go down the paved road and turning left onto the main road you arrive in the town of Rosia.


Anello Sovicille
Via Francigena | Anello Sovicille | Sovicille - San Giusto - Villa Cetinale - Pieve di Pernina - Ancaiano - Canonica Trecciano

Maps: Multigraphic 509 La Montagnola Senese 1:25.000

Castel di Pietra,lLapide apposta sulle mura del castello nel 1921 in occasione del VI centenario della morte di Dante Alighieri (Foto: Aerospike)


Hidden away from mass-tourism, discover a piece of Italy which remains largely unchanged both nature and lifestyle-wise. The peacefulness of the countryside, the various unique villages and the friendly atmosphere will no doubt pleasantly surprise you!
Podere Santa Pia is a 4 bedroom holiday home, perfect for families, located in the heart of the Maremma. The peacefulness of the countryside and the opportunities offered by the city achieve an excellent symbiosis. One can easily reach some of the most beautiful attractions of Tuscany, such as Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano and San Quirico d'Orcia, famous for their artistic heritage, wine, olive oil production and gastronomic traditions.
Not far from Cinigiano and clearly visible from Podere Santa Pia, is the famous Castle of Poggio alle Mura, also known as Villa Banfi and home to one of the most popular producers of Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. wine. Set in 7100 hectares of land in the Montalcino area, Castello Banfi il Borgo is one of the most important wine producers in Tuscany.

If you want to spend an unforgettable holiday at Podere Santa Pia and visit these beautiful medieval castles and wineries, visit our special offers page or contact us.

Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, terrace

The Villa Tommasi in Metelliano
The Valle d'Ombrone and Castello Banfi
  Torre Alfina is a fraction of Acquapendente, a charming medieval village, located on the top of a hill of volcanic origin.
Florence, Santa Croce
Florence, Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore
Florence, Santa Croce
Florence, Piazza della Repubblica
The Maremma


Extending, by the broadest definition, from Pisa southward along the coast all the way to the border with the Lazio region, the Maremma is a realm of remarkably diverse landscapes and a varied cultural life that has evolved over the centuries to match. Today, fields of oats, wheat, corn and sunflowers—together with the Mediterranean mainstays of vineyards and olive groves—reach across Maremman plains once covered by vast marshes. Woods of oak, pine and other species also claim stretches of the land, and clusters of hills rise here and there, giving a great variety to the terrain. As might be expected of such a length of coastline, the Maremma also offers its share of beautiful beaches— many retaining their natural splendor, yet “undiscovered” by the great numbers of visitors that head each year to the shores of Italy’s Versilian Riviera. A number of islands off the coast offer their own special allure. Since the 1970s the Italian government has demonstrated a real interest in preserving the unique, pristine landscapes of the Maremma by creating a number of regional and national parks and nature preserves. Among the Maremma’s other attractions are the abundance of Etruscan ruins scattered throughout the countryside and scores of medieval hill towns rivaling those of Chianti.


Principa a Mare
Parco Naturale della Maremma

Of the Maremma’s parks and nature preserves, the Parco Naturale della Maremma is one of the most beautiful, encompassing a 15-kilometer stretch along the Tyrrhenian coastline that is perhaps the best preserved coastal area in Italy. In exploring the park visitors can choose from different itineraries; marked footpaths lead through woods of pine, oak, ilex and elm and a ubiquitous Mediterranean scrub, or macchia, of myrtle and juniper bushes. The park is home to wild white long-horned cattle, deer, foxes, goats, wild cats, horses, wild boar and migratory birds, as well as numerous aquatic species. Visitors will also enjoy exploring the Monti dell’Uccellina, a small mountain range within the park—from the natural grottoes at Cala di Forno at the mountains’ base to spectacular cliff top views at higher altitudes. Mountain paths lead past romantic ruins—the towers of onceproud castles and an 11 th century Benedictine abbey.


Parco Naturale della Maremma, otherwise known as the Parco dell'Uccellina
Other Parks and Nature Preserves

Those with a passion for bird watc hing will enjoy the Lagoon of Orbetello. About two hundred species are protected in the Lagoon’s sanctuary by the World Wide Fund for Nature (and scores more at a second sanctuary at nearby Burano Lake). While in the area, a drive along the strada panoramica of the peninsular Monte Argentario is an ideal way to enjoy its wonderful landscapes—populated by wild orchids and dwarf palm trees as well as the more customary citrus trees, olive groves and vineyards. Among the cluster of protected areas known as the Parchi della Val di Cornia, Poggio Neri stands out as being particularly well suited to hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Farther inland, along the Maremma’s easternmost boundary, Monte Amiata offers more hiking terrain in its wildlife preserve, the Parco Faunistico del Monte Amiata, not to mention stunning views in every direction.
Orbetello is located c. 35 km south of Grosseto, on the eponymous lagoon, which is home to an important Natural Reserve.


Beaches of the Maremma

The Maremman coastline is absolutely riddled with inviting beaches, which are generally better preserved and less crowded than those of the Versilian Riviera—the popular seaside resort area on Tuscany’s northwest coast. The sandy beach at Albarese, cushioned by a thick pine forest and nestled at the foot of the Monti Uccellini, has been called the most beautiful in Italy. Other fine beaches are found near the ancient Etruscan town of Populonia, in the bays of Cala Martina and Cala Violina south of Follonica, at the
resort towns of Punta Ala and Castiglione della Pescaia, and on the promontory of Monte Argentario. First-rate beaches are also found on a number of the fascinating islands off the Maremman coast, which boast not only beaches but a variety of other attractions. (Since 1996, many of these islands are protected—at least in part—by the Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago Toscano). Castiglione della Pescaia is also one of our favorite seaside towns. It’s a high fortress hill town with a sailboat harbor and lovely restaurants.

Cala Violina
Massa Maritima and Other Highlights

Of the many appealing towns and villages scattered across the Maremma, Massa Marittima is one of the most enchanting— boasting an outstanding Duomo and perfect triangular medieval piazza, as well as an intriguing history as a mining town. From the triangular Piazza Garibaldi, visitors enjoy breathtaking views in every direction. Rising all around the town are the picturesque “metalliferous hills,” which yield not only scenic riches but a wealth of iron, copper and lead ores that has been mined by locals since Etruscan times. Not least of all, Massa Marittima is know for the Festival of the Girifalco—a semi-annual cross bow contest between residents of the town’s various districts, who don traditional costumes for the celebration. The Maremma’s “inland” attractions are hardly limited to the charms of Massa Marittima. Located in the vicinity of the Parco Naturale della Maremma, Magliano in Toscana distinguishes itself by its splendid 14 th and 15 th century fortifications, crowned by seven semi-circular towers, and by the beautiful ruins of the 11th century church of San Bruzio a few miles outside of the town walls. Further east, towards the border with Umbria, Saturnia has enjoyed fame since Roman times as a spa town, and the Etruscan village of Pitigliano impresses with its dramatic position on a rocky outcrop, overlooking a gorge on three sides. Like Massa Marittima, Pitigliano is associated with an annual local festival— celebrating the joys of the Grape each September. In fact, quite a variety of festivals take place in Maremman localities throughout the year—from the summer marine festivities held in many coastal towns to the Rodeo at Albarese.


Massa Marritima
Etruscan History


It is no small part of the Maremma’s appeal that the region is fairly steeped in its Etruscan heritage. Vast and mysterious necropolises remind us of both the longevity and the mortality of humankind. The hill top town of Vetulonia in the Maremman province of Grosetto is founded on the site of one of the most vital Etruscan cities, dating from the late 9 th century B.C. Etruscan ingenuity is evident in the many objects of terracotta, bronze, silver and gold recovered from its tombs and currently housed in museums in Grosetto and Florence. Nearby Roselle is the site of another important excavation. Here visitors can walk along the ruins of the 5 meter-high wall that completely surrounded this Etruscan town in the 6 th century B.C. Passing through Grosetto on its way across the Maremma and down into the region of Lazio is the modern version of the Via Aurelia—the Roman road built around 241 B.C. to link Rome to the Etruscan towns along the coast. North of Grosetto, the Via Aurelia takes us into the vicinity of Populonia, once an important Etruscan port and today a charming medieval town with a huge necropolis on its perimeter. Following the road south from Grosetto we encounter the Etruscan towns of Cosa, Saturnia, Sorano, Sovana and others before crossing the border into Lazio—home to the major sites at Tarquinia and Cerveteri.


Podere Santa Pia, situated in a particularly scenic valley, which overlooks on the hills around Cinigiano,
up to the Maremma seashore and Monte Christo