Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Albarese

Acquapendente


anghiari

Archipelago Toscano


Arcidosso


Arezzo


Asciano


Badia di Coltibuono


Bagni San Filippo

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Beaches

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Bomarzo

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Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


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Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


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CivitÀ di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


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Crete Senesi


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montecalvello

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Orbetello


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Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


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Pisa


Pitigliano

Prato

Radda in Chianti


Roccalbegna


Roccastrada


San Bruzio


San Casciano dei Bagni


San Galgano


San Gimignano


San Giovanni d'Asso


San Quirico d'Orcia


Sansepolcro


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Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


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Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


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Sovana


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Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


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Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra




 
Walking in Tuscany
             
 
Castelmuzio
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Castelmuzio
album Surroundings
       
   

Castelmuzio


   
   

Castelmuzio, an ancient village dating back to the time of the Etruscans, is built on a volcanic limestone hilltop overlooking an amazing landscape. Castelmuzio is located close to the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Val d'Orcia Artistic, Natural and Cultural Park. These coveted designations are protecting this area’s cultural and artistic heritage and its miracle of nature called the crete senesi, a countryside characterized by undulating ploughed hills and densely forested woods. Castelmuzio is a mesmerizing medieval hamlet and precious treasure of the real Tuscany, and has been wonderfully preserved–you can touch the medieval walls, see the watch tower, and enter the village through the ancient arched stone gate. The cloister Sant Anna in Camprena and the old church Pieve de Santo Stefano in Cennano are situated on opposite sides of the village.

Castelmuzio is a charming medieval village of Etruscan-Roman origin. Like the whole zone it belonged to the powerful Signori Cacciaconti della Scialenga whose wide dominions included the Fratta farm, not far from Sinalunga, as far as the Castrum di Montepulciano.
Over the years Castelmuzio has been called by several names, Castel Mozzo and later Castello. The local people still refer to it simply as Castello. You can see the old city walls and ramparts, including the embrasures through which cannons were fired. The village came into its own in the 13th century, when many of the buildings you see today were built.
Castelmuzio is constructed on a volcanic limestone mount and is defended by walls and ramparts in which the cannon embrasures can still be seen. These are formed of randomly placed limestone and sandstone blocks, as is the Casa Torre in the main square.
There are 4 narrows sloping streets, all leading to the square under which lies an ancient travertine based water cistern. In this square, the Piazza della Pieve, the most important buildings are La chiesa Plebana, Casa Torre, Spedale di San Giovanni Battista and la confraternità della SS Trinità and S. Bernardino.

The tower, a prominent part of the fortified castle, stood watch over the countryside to protect the citizens from local enemies and barbarians from far away. Later, in the 16th century, it became the village’s civic building and housed the town council meetings and provided residence for the town prior. The tower is part of the Palazzo Fratini, which was once the medieval Spedale di San Giovanni Battista (hospital of St. John the Baptist).

The pieve di Santo Stefano a Cennano


 


Val d'Orcia


Castelmuzio

 

 

 

 

The village includes three churches. The most famous is the Pieve di Santo Stefano in Cennano, just outside the village. This small parish church has a documented history since 715 A.D. Its location was originally an Etruscan place of worship, and much later the church was built over an early Roman temple. The part you see today was built in 1285 A.D. From the original base, divided into a nave and two aisles, all that remains are three apses, while today the interior is one single nave.
In recent years a cemetery and Roman bath have been discovered very close to the church.

During the 15th century the Confraternità della Santissima Trinità opened a hostel for pilgrims. These pilgrims came from France and other parts of Europe, usually on foot, to see the pope in Rome, and followed a route called the Via Francigena. Do visit the Sacred Art Museum which is housed inside.

Pievi in Toscany | The pieve di Santo Stefano a Cennano


 


Pieve di Santo Stefano in Cennano

PetroioTrequandaCappellaMadonnaDelParto2
Petroio, Cappella della Madonna del Parto

 

Pieve Santo Stefano a Cennano 11

Pieve di Santo Stefano a Cennano, absis


Petroio

   
Petroio (13th century) is built on a curious circular plan and is one of the best brick castles in the region.
The picturesque cone-like village perched on a hill, which spirals around a single narrow road within the remains of the ancient walls, the old houses, palaces and churches and the steps that lead up to the summit of the lower and the fort, preserves the warm blonde colour of the sandstone with which almost all of it is built. Its origins are etruscan as the name testifies, deriving from the etruscan Petruni, (or even from the Latin Praetorium, and archaeological remains discovered nearby.

 

Petroio
Trequanda


   
Trequanda

 

 

The medieval village of Trequanda, crowned by the remnants of the ancient Cacciaconti castle, is situated between the Val di Chiana and the Val d' Asso. The former medieval village still has visible remnants of its outer walls and two of the original three entrance portals. It stands on the top of a hill in a well maintained natural environment of woods, tidy fields of vines, olives and cereal crops. A third of the village is taken up by the castle Cacciaconti and its various annexes including a small ornamental garden. The majestic stone tower, partly rebuilt after the war, dominates the entire complex from the north-east and is a singular witness to the original fortified castle structure.
The piazza of Trequanda, with its old stone benches, instantly creates the feeling of a lively and much-loved village of the Sienese region. The small unusual Romanesque church, with a façade checkered in white and ochre, deserves of being named the parish church of the Saints Peter and Andrea, dating back to the 13th century. It is a beautiful Romanesque-gothic construction with a particular facade covered with white and ochre color stones forming a geometrical chessboard pattern. In the interior, on the high altar, there is a wonderful polyptych of the Sienese painter Giovanni di Paolo (1479-1549) and here the remains of the Beata Bonizzella Cacciaconti are preserved in a richly decorated urn, a masterpiece of the 16th century Sienese art. On the right wall a beautiful fresco by Sodoma (1479-1549), a fresco by Bartolomeo Mirana, on the left wall there is a niche with a statue representing a Madonna with Infant by Sansovino and a majolica representing the Ascension of the Della Robbia’s school.
From the airy town square where stand the castle, town hall and the splendid romanic church of SS. Pietro and Andrea, the highest point of the hill, steep and narrow roads and alleys descend where the attentive visitor will be surprised to find ancient covered passages, small votive ceramics, family crests, and beautiful benches in travertine and tufa.


Chiesa della Madonna del sodo

The comune Trequanda comprises the three villages of Trequanda, Petroio and Castelmuzio, and occupies an area of 64 sq km, more than a third of which is covered with lush woods of oak and a wide variety of mediterranean herbs.
The road which links the villages offers a series of particulary attractive scenery and views.

 


Chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Andrea, in Trequanda

     
Badia di Santa Maria in Sicille

   
A few kilometres to the northeast of Trequanda is the Abbadia a Sicille, a beautiful Italian old village. The history of the village dates back to approx 1.200 AD. Abbadia Sicille and Abbadia a Cignano, ancient Templar rest stops on the way to Rome.
The name derives from the Etruscan name Segnes, and through the Latin Secennius became Sicille.
The presence of the two crosses of Malta to the sides of the portal of the Chiesa di Santa Maria a Sicille suggests the foundation of the complex by the Knights of Malta.

Pro Loco Trequanda | Badia di S. Maria a Sicille

 

Abbadia a Sicile

     
Montisi, a frazioni of San Giovanni d'Asso, is a small ridgetop village north of Castelmuzio, located on an Etruscan road that linked the Maremma coastline with the rich city of Arezzo. Montisi is perched on a crag and built around the castle that forms the nucleus of the village. The name is a modernization of Monti Isi, or the Mount of Isis, reflecting the fact that an 8th century B.C. temple of Isis was located a couple of kilometres from Montisi. As you walk around Montisi, you will note that like Siena, it is divided into quarters – the famous contrade.
At the edge of the village is the fortified Grancia.
The Piccola Accademia di Montisi, located in Montisi, has been founded to provide a center of inspiration for musicians worldwide who have an interest in the harpsichord, its repertoire and its history.
Although there are small vineyards all around Montisi there is no definitive local wine. There are three kinds of local wines: red, made principally from the Sangiovese grape and recently awarded its own DOC under the name of Orcia, a local peasant wine which is made with a component of about 20 percent white grapes, and the vin santo, a dessert wine that can range from dry to sweet.
[Strada del Vino Orcia]

Grancia is a fortified farm complex dating from the 14th century, built on the edge of Montisi, around a courtyard that stored provisions for the Spedale of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. This extraordinary organisation took care of the flood of pilgrims to Rome that travelled the Via Francigena from the 12th century onwards, and was always in need of supplies.
In 1295 Simone dei Cacciaconti, Lord of Montisi, left his estate in Montisi to the Hospital of St. Maria della Scala in Siena.
In the next century the Hospital built a small fortress with a high tower on the Western boundary of the village. It was to be used as a Grancia, a granary for the storage of the produce grown on the property.
In 1775 Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, issued an order to sell the estate of the Hospital, including the Grancia of Montisi. It was bought by Jacopo Mannucci Benincasa in 1778 and has remained in the family to this day.

The word grancia, or grange, of French derivation, denotes a building with the functions of storehouse and granary. In the middle ages granges were rural buildings situated on the estate of an abbey for the storage of agricultural produce.
Initially the Sienese granges had both of these features. They came under the Spedale di S. Maria della Scala of Siena and consisted of buildings for storing the harvests of an extensive property. But in Siena the granges had an additional specific element: they were equipped with considerable fortified structures. They were built, in a word, not only to preserve agricultural produce but also and above all to defend it against military threats.

Festival Solo Belcanto - Montisi (Siena)
In the heart of Tuscany, a small theater, il Teatro della Grancia, hosts the festival devoted to the art of singing. Il Teatro della Grancia is a tiny theatre built in the 18oos with seating for 52 people and currently one of the smallest active theatres in the world.

Events in Tuscany | Festival Solo Belcanto - Montisi (Siena)

 


Montisi

 

Montisi, Teatro della Grancia



 

 

Cennano

   
The Pieve San Stefano in Cennano, of paleo-Christian origin, arose around the center of what was a Roman settlement, a "vicus". It was situated in an uncivilized area, a part of the greater municipality of Roman Arezzo. It was built on the foundations of a former pagan temple. It is sited along an Etruscan-Roman road leading from Chiusi towards Chianti and Fiesole. The structure already existed in the 4th century, (perhaps consecrated by Saint Donato, second Bishop of Arezzo, who was an evangelizer in this area) as a "baptismal church" when civilized laws advanced into this rural district of plebians. But it was documented for the first time in a decree of Luitprando in 715, which is preserved in the archives of the church in Arezzo. As part of a group of 19 Pievi, it was the object of a famous dispute between the Bishops of Siena and Arezzo, over the question of to whom they belonged, which went on until 1220. Of the 19 ancient baptismal churches, Cennano and Corsignano are the only ones which have retained any integrity, while the others either no longer exist or have been radically altered.

From the point of view of history, the Pieve was very important starting from the 7th and 8th centuries till the end of the 14th century, when it was under the same the ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction as Chiese di S. Flora in Montisi, S. Pietro in Petroio, S. Guisto in Castelmuzio and the Monastery of the Pilgrim in Passeno, near Castelmuzio. This monastery had been founded in the 7th century (653-661) by a Longobardian lord named "Ursus Ariman", and was located close to an alternate route of the Roman via Francigena. The 16th century marked the beginning of its decline; Castelmuzio was growing as its castle was fortified, and the Church of Santa Maria took over those functions which had remained at the Pieve. The church(s) kept on performing (some) ecclesiastical functions in the immediate area until 1723.

In September, the Festa della Pieve di Cennano is celebrated.

 


Pieve of Santo Stefano in Cennano

East of Trequanda you reach Sinalunga, a modern, thriving centre with connections to Siena, Arezzo and Chiusi. It has one notabIe painting, an anunciation by Benvenuto di Giovanni, in the church of San Francesco.

 

   
   
   

Photo album Van d'Orcia

 

   
San Quirico d'Orcia - lo.tangelini
  Sant'Angelo in Colle   Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta

Val d'Orcia album

 

  Sant'Angelo in Colle  

San Quirico d'Orcia, Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta

 

San Quirico d'Orcia, Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta   Pienza, panorama  

Gallina, chiesa di La Scala

Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta, nei pressi di San Quirico d'Orcia

 

  Pienza  

Gallina, chiesa di La Scala

 

 
   

Holiday accomodation | Podere Santa Pia, hidden in the valley between Castiglioncello Bandini and Cinigiano



Walking in Tuscany | From Castelmuzio to Pienza

  Solitary cypresses or lining in long rows ancient country roads, vineyeards which follow the ups and downs of rolling hills, streams overshadowed by trembling poplars, oaks and holm-oaks woods, strawberry trees and brooms growing on the banks of the roads, they make up the landscape which can be enjoyed on approaching Castelmuzio, the old, suggestive medieval village in the heart of Tuscany.

Follow the road from Castelmuzio to Pienza which goes among beautiful country houses and sides the ancient Benedictine monastery of Sant'Anna in Camprena, a sacred place even at the time of Pope Pius II. Its enchanting refectory painted by the famous '400 century painter Sodoma is worth a visit. This suggestive site has also been the setting to the famous film The English Patient by Anthony Minghella.

When you reach the SS146 to Pienza, you can follow the next walk (Walking around Pienza, marked blue) In both directions you finally reach Pienza.

 

On a hill opposite the medieval fortress of Castelmuzio is the picturesque abbey of Santa Anna in Camprena

Walking around Pienza

 
The walk takes off at Piazza Dante Alighieri, through the Viale S. Caterina, direction Pieve di Corsignano.

Map
 
Montisi - Castelmuzio

   
 
The itinerary is along old tracks, tarred in parts, otherwise gravel and grass.
   
 

 

 

   

Maps: Multigraphic Val d'Orcia, Kompass nr. 662 Lago trasimeno and Kompass nr. 653 Pienza-Montalcino-Monte Amiata.

Links

I grandi sentieri della provincia di Siena (it) | Itineraries and MB trails


Holiday accomodation | Podere Santa Pia, hidden in the valley between Castiglioncello Bandini and Cinigiano. The formal cloister is a perfect holiday house located 350 meters above sea level in a panoramic position, with breathtaking views on the Maremma.

 

 
View from Podere Santa Pia

 


View Castelmuzio in a larger map