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

Bolsena Lake


Bomarzo

Brunello di Montalcino

Buenconvento

Campagnatico


Capalbio


Castel del Piano


Castelfiorentino

Castell'Azarra

Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


Castelnuovo Bererdenga


Castiglioncello Bandini


Castiglione della Pescaia


Castiglione d'Orcia


Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


Certaldo


Chinaciano Terme


Chianti


Chiusi


Cinigiano


Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


Cortona


Crete Senesi


Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba

Firenze


Follonica


Gaiole in Chianti


Gavorrano

Gerfalco


Greve in Chianti


Grosseto


Lago Trasimeno


La Foce


Manciano


Maremma


Massa Marittima


Montagnola Senese


Montalcino


Monte Amiata


Monte Argentario

montecalvello

Montefalco


Montemassi


Montemerano


Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Montepulciano


Monteriggioni


Monticchiello


Monticiano


Orbetello


Orvieto


Paganico


Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


Pienza


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


Santa Fiora


Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


Scansano


Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


Sinalunga


Sorano


Sovana


Sovicille

Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


Torrita di Siena


Trequanda


Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra




 
Walking in Tuscany
             
 
Sovicille, Pieve di San Giovanni Battista a Ponte allo Spino

 

album Surroundings
       
   

La montagnola senese


   
   

La montagnola senese extends in the districts of Siena, Monteriggioni, Sovicille and Casole d'Elsa, but for the most part it is located in the district of Sovicille.

The area

Montagnola extends to the south of Siena and corresponds to the area that borders on the Maremma. It is characterized by woods, cultivated fields of cereals and pastures and the Merse River that represents its main resource. Since mediaeval times it has been a busy thoroughfare of traffic and commerce towards the territories in Maremma that were in the control of the Republic of Siena: the town of Franco di Paganico and the port of Talamone.

Major development took place during the XI and XIV centuries with the arrival in the area of the Cistercian order and the construction of the majestic abbey of San Galgano in 1224.

The Cistercian monks, expert architects but also notable administrators, played a significant role, not only in the development of the area, but also in the construction of the Duomo and the administration of Siena. Some of the monks reapplied the role of Cardinal-Camerlengo (bursar): a figure entrusted with the responsibility of managing public funds and the establishment of an accounts register in the council.

Some of the marble used for the construction of the Duomo originates from the Montagnola Senese where yellow marble was found in the quarries of Montarrenti and green marble from Vallerano.

Architecture and landscape

In the Commentari, Enea Silvio Piccolomini praises the landscape of Montagnola claiming that it was a spectacle of inexpressible beauty. The area is also characterized by an architectural heritage of notable interest consisting of numerous significant constructions situated along the roads of the Maremma, including the villages situated at the Ponte allo Spino and Rosia that have extraordinary examples of Romanic bell towers and the Abbey at Santa Mustiola and Torri with its magnificent cloister, the hermitages of Lecceto and San Leonardo al Lago, Santa Lucia, hidden within a wood, the castles of Belcaro, Chiocciola and Monteriggioni and the villas (the most impressive of which belonged to the Chigi family), such as, the Volte Alte designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini and completed by Baldassarre Peruzzi in 1505. The area of Montagnola also includes the town of Cetinale, the birthplace of Fabio Chigi (later elected Pope Alessandro VII in 1655) and Ancaiano where cardinal Flavio erected the villa and park designed by Carlo Fontana in 1680.

During the XII-XIII century several churches were built, among which the parish church of Pernina, Molli, S.Giusto a Valli, San Lorenzo martire, S.Maria di Ponte allo Spino, the parish church of Rosia and San Lorenzo martire. In the same period some towers (Palazzone di Sovicille and Palazzaccio di Toiano), castles (Celsa, Montarrenti, Cerreto Selva e Palazzo al Piano) were built. Several ancient villages and churches are really charming. Among the first ones there is the XII century white fortress of Monteriggioni, with its boundary wall reinforced with 14 square towers. Among the second ones: the wonderful parish churches of Radicondoli, Ponte allo Spino in Sovicille, San Giovanni in Rosia, the Augustinian hermitage of Lecceto, and finally the original complex of Abbadia Isola, a medieval village built in 1001 around the Cistercian Abbey of San Salvatore. In the area of Montagnola Senese there are several buildings and other structures that are worth to be visited.

 

 

Ampugnano - village that rises near the airport. The buildings still have their ancient medieval structure; a charming small church, the well in the main square and the one behind the church remind the visitor of the old way of living.

Ancaiano - this place was already inhabited in the first period of the Bronze Age. The existing church is dedicated to San Bartolomeo and it was built in Renaissance-style in 1660, thanks to Pope Alessandro VII Chigi. The church is aisless, it is on the plan of a Latin cross and at the end there is an apse with projecting transept.

Capraia - the castle of Capraia stands upon a craggy hill. The Ardengheschi Family had this castle built in order to protect their estate, when Siena had their previous castle of Orgia destroyed. Rumors said that it was impregnable because of its three boundary walls and because it stands upon a rocky hill. In 1100-1250 the Republic of Siena and the Ardengheschi Family contended this castle, then several owners succeded, till the last noble family that arrived here on the 24th September 1554; all the Family members were slain together with all the inhabitants of the village by the Marquis of Marignano's troops. The Marquis had an agreement with the Medici Family, according to which he had besieged Siena, that was nearly surrendering. Nowadays it is possible to see the tower that has been recently restored by the current owners.

   
Castello di Celsa is an old castle, converted to a palatial villa in the sixteenth century and with a garden built in the seventeenth century. Castello di Celsa, owned by the princely Aldobrandini family, lies fourteen kilometers south-east of Siena.
The first informations about the castle date back to the 1st August 1344. The Celsi Family, who owned the castle, had it rebuilt in order to transform it in a villa according to Baldassarre Peruzzi's plans, who also conceived the gardens.
Castello di Celsa was renovated in the 19th century, at which time the crenelated appearance it has today was created. It features a fine parterre garden in front of the villa, a walled hunting park, and a 'parco inglese'. Today it is a private residence.

 

Villa Centiale is a 16th century villa in the Ancaiano district near Siena, Italy. Designed by the architect Carlo Fontana, the villa was built in the 1600s by Cardinal Flavio Chigi for Pope Alexander VII — Fabio Chigi. The gardens at Villa Cetinale are renowned as being amongst the most beautiful in Italy. The estate features sculpture by Mazzuoli.
Villa Cetinale was originally a farmhouse built over an ancient Etruscan settlement. It was renovated under the guidance of Carlo Fontana, a pupil of Bernini, in 1676. Fontana designed the stairs at the rear of the house. Above the villa there is a hermitage, called the Romitorio, a five storey hermitage inhabited by monks until the end of XIX century, now fully restored.. To get to this hermitage, one must climb a sacred path called scala santa (holy stairs), which is about 300 steps. The Blessed Chigi had this building built in 1716 in order to give hospitality to the Coenobite monks, who took care of ill people.
The straight line that runs from the Romitorio down the avenue and past the house finishes on the southeastern side of the villa, with an enormous statue of Hercules, also by Mazzuoli.
Garden visits are Monday to Friday 9.30 – 12.30 by appointment only.

Gardens in Tuscany | Villa Cetinale


 

Villa Cetinale
     
The ancient Castel Pietraio is now the home of the Fattoria di Castel Pietraio. This winery is part of the district of the Montagnola Senese, located at the foot of Monte Maggio.
History of Castel Pietraio. At the end of the 10 C, nearby Strove and Staggia were under the rule of the Countess Ava Lambardi, a descendent of a noble Longobard family, whose sarcophagus is still on view in the right aisle of the abbey at Abbadia a Isola. The countess Ava and her husband Ildebrando had two sons, Tegrimo, who married Sindrada, and Berizio, who founded Poggio Berizio, now Poggibonsi.

   

Malignano - Some documents written before the year 1000 mention the castle of Malignano. There is an oratory dedicated to the Archangel Michael; in this place the Ardengheschis and the Republic of Siena subscribed some agreements. In 1259 the village was burnt and destroyed by the Florentine troops.

Molli - the first documents about the parish church date back to 1078; on 2nd February the countess Matilde of Canossa gave the Bishop of Volterra this church as a donation, however, according to some researches into the walls, it could have been built during the Longobard period or the Frankish one. It is a church with nave and two aisles; the altar has been rebuilt, probably by using the stones of the bell-tower destroyed by a lightning in 1930. The front has a symmetrical structure and has been probably rebuilt in the first years of the XVIII century.

Montarrenti - the charming castle stands upon a craggy hill (345 m. / 1132 ft. high); the first informations about the castle date back to 1156.

Palazzaccio - ancient fortified building of the Republic of Siena. In 1333 the village was burnt by the troops of Pisa; it is still possible to see the damages, as the building has never been cleaned nor rebuilt.

Palazzo al Piano - it has Medieval origins and stands at a height of about 430 m. / 1416 ft.

 

 

   
Pernina - the old parish church of Santa Maria in Pernina stands at a height of about 499 m. / 1637 ft.; it dates back to the XII century. The bell-tower, on a square plan, is about 22 m. / 72,4 ft. in height and it stands in front of the church.

Personata - this small deconsecrated church, dedicated to Santa Margherita, has ancient origins, probably Etruscan origins, but the first informations date back to the XIII century.

The Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista, better known as the Pieve di ponte allo Spino, rises in the center of Rosia. The most archaic element is the Lombard-influenced bell tower that displays a succession of single, double, triple, and four-light windows placed in four orders. It has an elegant fagade with limestone ashlars, with three steps leading to a door, surmounted by a round arch and three single-light windows. A 14th-century, prism-shaped baptismal font is found inside, with the Baptism of Christ depicted on the front of it, as well as a 15th-century Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints Sebastian and Anthony the Abbot by Guidoccio Cozzarelli.

  Pieve di Pernina
The Pieve di ponte allo Spino already existed in 1050 and it was a halting-place along the road that linked the "Via Cassia" to the "Via Aurelia". Under the courtyard some precious mosaics of the Roman Empire Age have been found; they were part of a large Roman villa. The entrance of the church is interesting, as you have to go down some steps to enter the church. It consists of a building with nave and two aisles and it was built in late Romanesque French style, that is quite similar to the Gothic style. The capitals are gracefully decorated with human figures and geometrical ornaments.

 


Sovicille, Pieve di San Giovanni Battista, better known as the Pieve di Ponte allo Spino


Ponte della Pia - (Pia's Bridge) it is the most charming bridge of this area. In Etruscan times an ancient road crossed it; the bridge linked the Merse Valley to the Maremma Toscana. The bridge has probably Roman origins and it has been rebuilt during the Middle Ages in Romanic style. According to some legends, the beautiful Pia, Nello d'Inghiramo de' Pannocchieschi's sorrowful wife, crossed this bridge to go into exile in Maremma, at Castello della Pietra. Dante Alighieri, too, wrote about this legend (Divine Commedy, "Purgatorio", Canto V).

San Giusto a Balli - the first informations about this parish church date back to 994; it originally had a nave and two aisles, but nowadays there are just two aisles, because of an intense intervention made in the XV century. The beautiful church well dates back to the XII-XIII century; it was built by using semicircular limestone blocks.

  La pieve di San Giusto a Balli
La pieve di San Giusto a Balli

 

Simignano - it stands at a height of about 410 m. / 1345 ft. along the road that goes from Ancaiano to Pievescola; it has uncertain origins, but it probably dates back to the Roman Age. The first informations date back to 1163, when it was subdued by Siena. The beautiful, small church is dedicated to San Magno and it has a wonderful bell-tower, which is simple but graceful.

Torri - small Medieval village, where the Abbey of Santa Mustiola is, which was built in the XII century and has a wonderful cloister.

The small villages of Tonni, Toiano, Tegoia and Abbadia Isola are really charming: they have stayed as they were, and here time seems to have stopped.

 

 
Pieve di Santa Mustiola in Torri
   
   

Castello di Celsa, chapel

 

Holiday Accommodation Tuscany


Podere Santa Pia, a casa vacanze in the Tuscan Maremma is situated on the outskirts of Castiglioncello Bandini and dominates one of the most beautiful setting that nature can offer: the Tuscan countryside. Podere Santa Pia offers the quiet tranquility of a private retreat, with numerous attractions and gorgeous small hillside villages, natural reserves and beautiful beaches only a short drive away.

Holiday homes in the Tuscan Maremma | Holiday home Podere Santa Pia

 
   
Walking in Tuscany
La montagnola senese extends in the districts of Siena, Monteriggioni, Sovicille and Casole d'Elsa, but for the most part it is located in the district of Sovicille.
During the XII-XIII century several churches were built, among which the parish church of Pernina, Molli, S.Giusto a Valli, San Lorenzo martire, S.Maria di Ponte allo Spino, the parish church of Rosia and San Lorenzo martire. In the same period some towers (Palazzone di Sovicille and Palazzaccio di Toiano), castles (Celsa, Montarrenti, Cerreto Selva e Palazzo al Piano) were built, too. Several ancient villages and churches are really charming; among the first ones there is the XII century white fortress of Monteriggioni, with its boundary wall reinforced with 14 square towers. Among the second ones: the wonderful parish churches of Radicondoli, Ponte allo Spino in Sovicille, San Giovanni in Rosia, the Augustinian hermitage of Lecceto, and finally the original complex of Abbadia Isola, a medieval village built in 1001 around the Cistercian Abbey of San Salvatore.

Sovicille’s territory stretches from La Montagnola Senese to the valley of the river Merse.
Most of the itineraries around Sovicille are covered by the Carta Turistica (Turistic Maps) and by the Sentieri della Montagnola Senese 1:25000 (The Sienese Montagnola Paths) Club Alpino Italiano (CAI: Italian Alpine Club) Sezione di Siena (Multigraphic Edizioni, Firenze).

Walking in Tuscany | Itineraries in the surrounding hills of Sovicille | Sovicille, Villa di Cetinale, Castle of Celsa, Cetina, Pieve di Pernina, Pieve di San Giusto a Balli, Abazia di Santa Mustiola, Stigliano and the Ponte della Pia

Anello Sovicille | Sovicille – San Giusto – Villa Cetinale – Il romitorio di Cetinale - Pieve di Pernina – Ancaiano – Villa Celsa - 16 km (Italian)


Anello Monteriggioni | Monteriggioni – Badia a Isola – Castel Petraia – Monte Maggio (Italian)

 

Itineraries CAI della Montagnola Senese


 

Sentieri CAI della Montagnola Senese

 

Maps: Edizioni Multigraphic Walking Maps of Central Italy 509, Montagnola Senese & Bosco di Lecceto, 1:25,000.
An overprint highlights hiking paths, including all the popular hiking routes such as the Grandi Sentieri della Provincia di Siena,

Il Club Alpino Italiano (C.A.I.) | www.caisiena.it/sentieristica.py | Dal versante di Sovicille e Rosia, verso il sentiero n° 100 | Sentieri n°110 | Sentiero n°112 - Sovicille – Molli | Sentiero n°114 - Rosia – Tonni | Sentiero n° 100: Monteriggioni – Monte Maggio – Marmoraia – Molli – Ponte della Pia