Crete Senesi

Morning, San Gimignano, Siena [1]


Exploring the landscape of the Crete Senesi from Montalcino to Siena


Southern Tuscany is an undiscovered jewel. The territory known as the Montagnola Senese  is an area of hills to the west of Siena, and corresponds to the area that borders on the Maremma. The Montagnola, extending in the districts of Siena, Monteriggioni, Sovicille and Casole d'Elsa, is largely covered by forests and has conserved its native beauty.


Walking through the rolling hills of the Montagnola Senese | Selection of the best  itineraries in the Montagnola Senese [gpx]




Anello Monteriggioni | Monteriggioni – Badia a Isola – Castel Petraia – Monte Maggio
 | 19 km

Monteriggioni – Monte Maggio – Marmoraia – Molli – Ponte della Pia | 29 km

Monteriggioni – Monte Maggio – Marmoraia | 14 km | Marmoraia - Podere Santa Pia | 16,44 km

La Cetina - Monteriggioni | 17 km

Pieve San Giovanni Battista a Molli – Marmoraia | 8,67 km

Marmoraia - Pieve San Giovanni Battista a Molli | 8,67 km


Ponte della Pia

Ponte della Pia - Monteriggioni | 19 km

Ponte della Pia - Montarrenti - Pieve di San Giovanni Battista a Molli | 8 km circa

Pieve a Molli - Montarrenti - Ponte della Pia | 8,19 km


Anello Sovicille – San Giusto – Villa Cetinale – Pieve di Pernina – Ancaiano – Castello di Celsa | 16 km

Anello Sovicille – Villa Cetinale – Pieve di Pernina – Molli | 17 km

Sovicille - Pieve a Molli - Montarrenti - Ponte della Pia | 13 km

Val d'Elsa

Botro ai Buchi, il piccolo canyon della Val d'Elsa


The best paths in the Montagnola Senese



    From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni - 29,8 km


Total length (km): 29.8
Travel time on foot (h: min): 7.30
Paved roads: 19%
Dirt roads and driveways: 70%
Mule tracks and trails: 12%

Getting to the starting point: FS Empoli-Siena Railway Line, Poggibonsi station; bus line 133 for S. Gimignano

View Tappa 10 in a larger dimension on Google Maps

    This 29.8 km leg begins in San Gimignano and takes in about 7 hours to complete. It is one of the most beautiful legs of the Via Francigena, and after the frst section of the path, you begin to walk up and down in the valley of the Foci river, near Molino d'Aiano.

A path leads upward to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria a Coneo. Then you cross the bridge on the hilltop to reach the Romanesque church of San Martino di Strove. Then you go to the Abbey of Island, before catching a sight of Monteriggioni, with its unmistakable ring of walls and towers that dominate the surrounding hills.

From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni - 29,5 km

Da San Gimignano a Monteriggioni - 29,5 km


Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta in Chianni
    From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano - 13,4 km

    A short stage, however an interesting one for the beauty of the landscape along the Via Francigena. Exiting from the centre of Gambassi Termi, one goes towards the Luiano farm, passing through terrain cultivated with vineyards. Once past the farm, we encounter the bridge of the Madonna, on the Torrente dei Casciani which marks the confine between the provinces of Florence and Siena and the entrance to the municipality of San Gimignano. From here the route goes uphill past cultivated fields and beautiful cypresses until reaching Pancole, the site of a Marian sanctuary and a place for refilling water. The route involves going through the underground passage of the large religious structure. Shortly after, one can already glimpse the multi-towered profile of San Gimignano. But before reaching the town we encounter the charming Romanesque parish church of S. Maria a Cellole, completed in 1238, as recorded in an inscription to the side of the portal. From the church, passing the houses of Sferracavalli, one can take a brief detour to visit an Etruscan necropolis with well-preserved hypogeous room tombs that date between the 4th and 1st century BC. There is no rest point along the route.

From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano - 13,4 km

Da Gambassi Terme a San Gimignano
- 13,4 km

    From Monteriggioni to Siena - 20,5 km


Departure: Monteriggioni, Piazza Roma
Arrival: Siena, Piazza del Campo

Getting to the starting point: FS Empoli-Siena Line, Castellina Scalo station


    This 20.5 km leg begins in Monteriggioni and takes in about 6 hours to complete. Leave Monteriggioni and walk along the road in the Sienese hills to the medieval village of Cerbaia. It runs through the woods up to the Castle of Chiocciola and the Castle of Villa, before descending down toward Pian del Lago.

Then cross the Renai woods before arriving at Porta Camollia, the traditional Via Francigena entrance to Siena. In the city, walk down Banchi di Sopra and then up to the end of this leg in Piazza del Campo, the Duomo and then the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.

From Monteriggioni to Siena - 20,5 km

Da Monteriggioni a Siena - 20,5 km


    Monteriggioni circular walk | Trekking nella Montagnola senese tra Monteriggioni e Badia a Isola | Anello Monteriggioni | Monteriggioni - Badia a Isola - Castel Petraia - Monte Maggio (Italian)

Mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy, Monteriggioni was for a long time the object of a struggle between Florence and Siena, like many other towns in this corner of Tuscany. It was only in 1554 that Florence definitively conquered it.
As you approach Monteriggioni you feel like you are travelling back in time. The small town, whose distinctive feature is its elliptical city walls soared by 14 towers, is set atop a hillock. Only two access gates (Porta Romea and Porta San Giovanni) open into the walls, one opposite the other.

The town has also a “pieve” (a kind of church) and a small museum with a great masterpieces of Renaissance Florentine painting: the Maria Maddalena by Pollaiolo, realized in the second half of XV century, when he was admitted in the hospital of the town, after getting sick in San Gimignano.


    Val di Merse | The Hermitage of Montesiepi

    The abandoned Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano with the Montesiepi hermitage rise in the valley of the river Merse, between the medieval villages of Chiusdino and Monticiano.
The site is made up of two major attractions: the Gothic roofless cathedral and the unusually shaped monastery of Montesiepi, and ancient hermitage, which hosts the tomb of San Galgano and the sword in the stone.
According to the tradition, in 1180 on Christmas Day San Galgano fixed his sword into the stone in order to realize a cross. Now in Montesiepi's Hermitage a plexiglass shrine with the sword into the stone is still preserved.
The Round or Montesiepi’s Hermitage was built right after the death of the saint, over the ancient hut where St. Galgano spent his last year of life. The church is based on a circular plan, only broken off by the little apse. The small chapel is posthumous if compared with the rest of the Round. It was built and badly connected to the Round only in 1340, by will of Vanni of the Salimbeni. The chapel interior is famous for its hemispheric vaulted ceiling in concentric two-tone rings created with brick and travertine and for the sword of San Galgano thrust into a rock.

There’s a very nice and reasonably level walk from San Galgano to Monticiano that takes about an hour. During the itinerary you can stop at the sculptures park by Roberto Ciulli in Monticiano.

Walking in Tuscany and the Val di Merse | From San Galgano to Monticiano

Walking in Tuscany| From Monticiano to Camerata and the Hermitage of Camerata


L'eremo di Montesiepi (the Hermitage of Montesiepi)

Walking in Tuscany| From San Galgano to Monticiano

    Sovicille, Province of Siena, Italy - panoramio (1)

Palazzaccio di Toiano, Sovicille [3]




Val di Merse | Sovicille | Itinerarys in the surrounding hills of Sovicille

    Sovicille’s territory stretches from La Montagnola Senese to the valley of the river Merse.
The historic-artistic heritage of the territory is of extreme importance. It can boast a large presence of abbeys and Romanesque parish churches such as San Giusto a Balli, Pernina, Molli, Ponte allo Spino, Torri with the notable polychromatic cloister in the Santa Mustiola abbey, and San Lorenzo a Sovicille. Villas worth mentioning are the 17th century Cetinale designed by the architect Carlo Fontana; Celsa with its formal garden and the 18th century Villa Linari.

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).

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

Alternative itineraries

Walking in Tuscany | Itinerarys in the surrounding hills of Sovicille

Sovicille, Palazzavelli, Tombe etrusche del Luco, Malignano, Padule, Aeroporto, Ampugnano, La Sala, Pieve del Ponte allo Spino, Sovicille

Itinerary 15 Sovicille, Rosia, Montarrenti, Tonni, Tegoia, Molli, Incrociati, La Cetina, Celsa, Pernina, Romitorio, Cetinale, Piscialembita, Ponte allo Spino, Sovicille

Itinerary 1 | Cennina, Casa Luciano, Castello di Celsa, podere Bareto, La Cetina, podere Morra, podere Chiostro, podere Gabbreta, Pernina, Romitorio, Cerbaia, Campo di Pania, Cennina | 12 km | 3h 30'

Itinerary 2 | Cetinale, Tebaide, Romitorio, Pernina, Ancaiano, Cetinale | 9,5 km | 3h

Itinerary 3 | Simignano, Fonte a Radi, Palazzo al Piano, Poggioli, Molli, Simignano | 9,5 km | 3h 10'

Itinerary 4 | Campeggio, Palazzone, Piscialembita, Personata, Personatina, Poggiarello, San Giusto, Petriccio, La Costa, Sovicille, Palazzalbero, Campeggio | 9 km | 3 h

Itinerary 5 | Tegoia, Molli, Pescina a Molli, podere Colombaio, Cerbaia, Poggiarello, Casaotti Tegoia | 6 km | 2 h

Itinerary 6 | Borgo Pretale, Tonni, Cave del Baulino, Montarrenti, Eremo di Santa Lucia, Ponte della Pia, Le Reniere, Borgo Pretale | 9,5 km | 3h

Itinerary 7 | Borgo Pretale, Le Reniere, Poggio Crocino, Poggio della Pigna, Poggiarello, Cerbaia, Borgo Pretale | 9,8 km | 3h

Itinerary 8 |Rosia, Ponte della Pia, Eremo di Santa Lucia, Castello di Spannocchia, Monte Acuto, Torri, Rosia | 10,5 km | 3h 30'

Itinerary 9 | Brenna, Cimitero, Campalfi, La Steccaia, Torrente Ricausa, Mulino, Castiglion che Dio sol sa, Le Sugherelle, Lago di Stigliano, Montestigliano, Brenna | 12 km | 4h

Itinerary 10 | Toiano, Palazzaccio, Valli, Caldana, Valacchio, La Casella, Campora, Cennina, Pastine, Toiano | 11 km | 3h 30'

Itinerary 11 | Linari, podere la Corte, Poggio Salvi, Staffoli, Turamino, Viteccio, Chiesa di Barontoli, podere Agresto, Linari | 4 km | 1h 30'

Itinerary 12 | Castello di San Rocco, Brucciano, podere Il Moro, rientro nella strada del Luco, San Domenico, San Felice, San Francesco, fosso Serpenna per 1 Km. fino a Casalta, Villa Cavaglioni, Castello di San Rocco | 12,7 km | 3h

Itinerary 13 | Orgia, Itinerari del Museo del Bosco: La passeggiata del Conte, Il fiume, il Romitorio, le carbonaie | 1,5 km | 40'

Tuscany | La montagnola senese



The Val d'Elsa   The Val d'Elsa


Val d'Elsa, borrowing its name from the river Elsa, is located in the heart of Tuscany close to the cities of Siena, San Gimignano and Volterra.
The Valdelsa was a center of the Etruscan civilization, as shown by a wide range findings in the area, including several necropolises.
In the Middle Ages, it was crossed by the Via Francigena


    Colle di Val d'Elsa

Colle Val d'Elsa


Percorso Trekking | Colle di Val d'Elza - Gracciano | 4,76 km | 3 ore circa


San Gimignano   The municipality and the entire province of Siena offer an infinite variety of trekking and cycling itineraries. Paths and tracks which, in the case of the San Gimignano area, wind through valleys and hills, woodland and open country. On foot from San Gimignano you can reach Castelvecchio, the village of Lariano and the Romanesque parish church of Cèllole, the sanctuary of the Madonna di Pancole. There are many routes, on foot or by bicycle.
Attempting a walk out of San Gimignano can be daunting, but the nearby countryside holds enough sites of interest to make it worth your while. Most trails depart from San Donato (downhill from the San Giovanni Gate) with routes taking you into the Castelvecchio Nature Reserve and the four kilometers to Pieve di Céllole, a pretty Romanesque parish church with a beautiful and quite surprising view back to San Gimignano.

San Gimignano




Album Siena


  Album Val d'Elsa   Album San Gimignano
    Piazza del Campo, Il Campo, seen from the top of Torre del Mangia   Monteriggioni, Province of Siena, Italy - panoramio   San Gimignano, città delle torri



  San Gimignano, città delle torri
    Colle Val d'Elsa, Le Caldane   Caldane   Colle Val d'Elsa, un tratto del fiume

Colle Val d'Elsa, Le Caldane


  Colle Val d'Elsa, Le Caldane   Colle Val d'Elsa, itinerario per la sorgente de Le Caldane

La Via Francigena | Da Ponte d'Arbia e Buonconvento a San Quirico d'Orcia

    Photo album Abbey of Sant'Antimo Photo album Abbey of Sant'Antimo  




    Exploring the landscape of the Crete Senesi from Montalcino to Siena  

ature reserves and beaches | The Tuscan and Etruscan coast



Trekking in the Crete Senesi, stunning landscape between Siena and Asciano






[1] Foto di Giorgio Galeotti, icenziato in base ai termini della licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione 4.0 Internazionale
[2] Italo Moretti, Duccio Balestracci, Maura Martellucci, The Paths of the Via Francigena in the Siena Region, Marta De Luca (Editor) Le Balze (2003) [ISBN-10: 8875390045 - ISBN-13: 978-8875390044]. Also avalaible in Italian as I percorsi della Via Francigena nelle terre di Siena, and in German as Wege und Umwege der Frankestraße in der Provinz Siena.