Bagno Vignoni

Bagno Vignoni is an ancient spa village located in the heart of Tuscany, in the Val d'Orcia Natural Park. The thermal baths of Bagno Vignoni were enjoyed by the Romans and became even more popular during the Middle Ages, thanks to their proximity to Via Francigena, an important thoroughfare connecting Northern Europe to the Italian Peninsula. From the 12th century and throughout the 13th century, Bagno Vignoni became a stopover point for Christian pilgrims traveling this route on their way to Rome.

At the heart of the village is the thermal spa, arranged and surrounded by buildings and taverns with a chapel in the middle. This pool, no longer used by the public, is a massive basin of steamy water, which forms the main piazza, creating an element of pleasurable surprise. Warm reflections of stone buildings, tiled roofs and potted geraniums dance across its surface to delight the visitor. The town remains essentially unchanged since the middle ages.

San Quirico d'Orcia, Pienza, Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino

Florence - 74 miles, Siena - 38 miles, Arezzo - 47 Miles

Barbarino Val d'Elsa

Barberino Val d'Elsa is located on the ridge that separates the watersheds of the Elsa and the Pesa rivers. The town has retained its mediaeval elliptical shape with a main street running between the two turreted tower gates, the Porta Romana and the Porta Fiorentina. Barberino has conserved its medieval structure with its walls, gate and towers and its Pilgrims' Hospital; the center of town is still ringed by its original fortifications.

Barberino Val d'Elsa lies in the heart of Tuscany. It is an area that simply pulsates with history and legend. There isn't a hill that does not have a church, a castle, villa or simply a chapel at its top. The Val d'Elsa area of this municipal territory is made up of hills that are rich in vineyards and olive groves and is dotted here and there with centuries old cypress trees. This area is recognized as the Chianti Classico belt, Chianti Classico being the prince of Italian wines renowned and appreciated all over the world.

Visit the Chianti area, Siena and San Gimignano

Florence - 19 miles, Siena - 25 miles, Arezzo - 60 miles

Chianciano Terme

Chianciano Terme traces its history back to the 5th century BC and the Etruscans, who had built a temple dedicated to the god of Good Health, close to the Silene springs where the newer quarter of Chianciano (the Terme section) stands today. News of the curative power of Chianciano's water became well known during Roman times, as Horace visited the area on the advice of his physician during the 1st century BC. Luxurious Roman villas were built in the area near the thermal baths.

Present day Chianciano Terme has two distinct areas. Chianciano Vecchia (Ancient Chianciano) is located atop a small hill. The Porta Rivellini, with its elegant Renaissance structure, is the main gateway into the town at the end of the Via Dante. In contrast to this is the modern quarter, the Terme, whose nucleus has grown around the thermal springs and stretches northward in a crescent shape along the Vale della Libertà towards the older city. Today, the Terme section is considered among the finest health resorts in Italy with its parks, numerous hotels and especially its therapeutic water that is reputed to cleanse the liver via an increase in the production and excretion of liver bile.

Chiusi, Montepulciano, Cetona, Sarteano

Siena - 52 miles, Florence - 82 miles, Arezzo - 46 miles

Colle val d'Elsa

Colle di Val d'Elsa is a town located above the valley of the river Elsa on the route of the ancient Via Francigena, the mediaeval highway frequented by pilgrims and merchants traveling to Rome from Canterbury and elsewhere in northern Europe. Major archaeological finds in the area date as far back as the 4th millennium BC, but the first documents mentioning Colle di Val d'Elsa are from the 10th Century, as is typically the case for Tuscan settlements.

The town was originally made up of three independent areas with separate structures and urban arrangements: Borgo di Santa Caterina, Castello di Piticciano and Piano. The two oldest settlements are both situated on the same hilly ridge, which runs from east to west, and is separated by a wide valley, and dominate the valley floor that is home to the third 'hamlet', Piano, which has a more recent urban structure built especially to accommodate manufacturing activities. Colle di Val d'Elsa became known as the Bohemia of Italy in the 19th century. Today it is an authentic 'Crystal City', producing 15% of the world's crystal.

Visit San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Casole d'Elsa, Chianti area

Siena - 17 miles, Florence - 30 miles, Arezzo - 72 miles


Montaione is a beautiful medieval village immersed in the heart of Tuscany, in the province of Florence. Set on a green hill, the village is surrounded by beautiful vineyards, olive trees and woods, offering an evocative landscape typical of the Tuscan countryside. Rich in history, Montaione is also famous for its glass making, particularly in the production of bottles, flasks and cruets, which dates back to the 13th century.

Despite the destruction of the Second World War, the historical center and part of the fortified wall have preserved its ancient structure taking you back in time. Inside the center, visitors will find several important museums and churches, including the Pretorian Palace, which hosts the Civic Museum and the Church of San Regolo.

Visit San Gimignano, Colle di Val d'Elsa, the Chianti area

Siena - 40 miles, Florence - 33 miles, Arezzo - 80 miles


Montepulciano is an interesting walled hill town in Tuscany, built on a sloping and narrow limestone ridge in the heart of the Vino Nobile wine growing area and commanding the southeast part of Tuscany near the Umbrian border. It is the ancient Etruscan city of Nocera Alfaterna (300BC). It is the biggest and highest of southern Tuscany's hill towns with medieval alleyways, beautiful Renaissance palaces and churches as well as an impressive central square and views.

The fields around the town produce a violet scented, orange speckled ruby wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This area has been known since at least the 8th century for its superior wine. Vino Nobile is known as Tuscany's number two red because it's slightly less beefy than Montalcino's Brunello.

Visit Val d'Orcia, Pienza, San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagno Vignoni

Siena - 42 miles, Florence - 70 miles, Arezzo - 34 miles


Pienza, in the Val d'Orcia in Tuscany, between the towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino, is the 'touchstone of Renaissance urbanism'. In 1996, UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage Site, and in 2004 the entire valley, the Val d'Orcia, was included on the list of UNESCO's World Cultural Landscapes.

It is widely known as the 'ideal' city of the Renaissance, the creation of the great humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini that later became Pope Pius II. Piccolomini had the money and influence to transform his birthplace village, the humble Corsignano, into what he considered a Utopian city should be, exemplifying the principles and philosophy of classical times and of the great Italian Renaissance. The project was designed by the architect Bernardo 'il Rossellino'. In only 3 years, a group of amazing and harmonious buildings were realized: the Cathedral, the Papal or Piccolomini Palace, the Town Hall, and the lovely central square. Today, the village of Pienza retains its remarkable city-size piazza, one of the grandest achievements of Renaissance architecture and the only intact example of a city planning scheme from the era. Director Franco Zeffirelli was so taken by the village's look he dethroned Verona as the city of the Montagues and Capulets and filmed his Romeo and Juliet in Pienza. Pienza was also used in the Oscar-winning epic The English Patient.

Montepulciano, Montalcino, Chianciano Terme

Siena - 34 miles, Florence - 74 miles, Arezzo - 38 miles

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in Tuscany, known as the 'City of Beautiful Towers', which has preserved its medieval appearance more completely than any other town in Tuscany. It stands on the site of a small Etruscan settlement dating to 2nd BC. Its history begins around the Tenth Century. Truly a little gem, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Walking through the Old City means plunging into the Middle Ages and getting a taste of what the city must have been like more than seven hundred years ago.

The Old City is enclosed with 13th century walls and is accessed by two main streets that intersect to create two wonderful piazzas. It is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form 'an unforgettable skyline'. Within the walls, the well preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The town also is known for the white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grapes that are grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area. San Gimignano is also famous for its Torture museum, with a display of instruments and devices for torture in various times and places.

Visit Colle val d'Elsa, Casole d'Elsa, the Chianti area

Siena - 29 miles, Florence - 32 Miles, Arezzo - 74 miles

Terme di Petriolo

Petriolo Thermal Bath is near the town of Monticiano, in the provinceof Siena, situated on the road that connects Siena to Grosseto. Theenvironment is natural and enchanting - there's a forest made of oaks,holms and strawberry trees. You can still admire Roman tombs and theancient medieval bath, made of four rooms. Petriolo Thermal bath is theonly remaining fortified bath (dated 1404). Above the present bath liesa Romanesque church and a small bell tower (1276).

The sulphurous water gushes from the springs and falls in the river Farma with a series of waterfalls and pools carved into the rocks where you can swim. The particularity of Petriolo is that in the same place you have two completely different situations: at one side the hot waters of the thermal spring and on the other the cold waters of the river Farma. So Petriolo is very indicated for those who suffer circulatory disorders. Access is free. The water is salt-sulfate-bicarbonate-alkaline-sulphurous hyper thermal (43°C) and contains a very high rate of sulfur and carbon. It is used for baths, mud, inhalations, facial masks (very effective in treating skin diseases), respiratory problems, orthopedic and rheumatism. The place is enchanting both in summer and winter, but it could be very crowded especially on Saturday night.

Monticiano, Montalcino, Siena

Siena - 21 miles, Florence - 61 miles, Arezzo - 72 miles


Volterra stands on a rocky hill some 1770 feet above sea level, surrounded by strong walls. The city of Volterra has its roots in 3,000 years of history. It is possible to find evidence and traces from every historical period: The ancient city walls, the imposing Porta all'Arco, the Necropolis of Marmini and the numerous archeological finds conserved in the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci bear testimony of the Etruscan period. The Theatre of Vallebona survives from the period of Augustus and suggests the importance of Volterra under Roman domination. Today the city conserves above all a medieval aspect not only for the 12th century city walls but also because of the urban layout with narrow streets, palaces, tower houses and churches. The Renaissance had an important influence on Volterra as well, from this period are the superb palaces of Minucci Solaini, Incontri-Viti and Inghirami, the imposing Fortezza Medicea and the Convent of San Girolamo.

Volterra is the city of alabaster par excellence. The large natural deposits of alabaster in its surroundings are considered one of the most precious around the world given its particular compactness, transparency, veins and hardness. The Museum of Alabaster in Volterra displays over 300 alabaster art works made between the 18th and 19th centuries. The private collection has been assembled over the course of 30 years by the Bruchi family.

Visit San Gimignanco, Colle val d'Elsa, Poggibonsi, the Chianti area

Siena - 34 miles, Florence - 47 Miles, Pisa - 44 miles, Arezzo - 89 miles