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Chianciano Terme surroundings

Explore the Crete Senesi area, the Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia valleys, or go all the way to Lake Trasimeno

Chianciano Terme
Perched on a hill, Chianciano Terme overlooks the impressive Valdichiana and Val d'Orcia valleys, a prosperous farming area that was already famous in Roman days for its oil, wine and wheat.

Also Chianciano’sSpa, rich in healing mineral waters, is a great favourite with Italian visitors. Local climate is mild and the town is immersed in a healthy and unspoilt environment, surrounded by hilly woodlands featuring oaks, beaches, holm oaks and chestnut trees.
There is much more to Chianciano’s healing effect: a valuable Etruscan heritage and other attractions. This means you can just pick and choose: arts towns, churches, museums and relaxing landscapes.

A taste of Chianciano
At the end of each of your   Tuscany holiday days   you will be delighted to experience another local feature: food & wine. It will be your turn to fall in love with worldwide famous products like extra virgin olive oil, wines such as Chianti, Nobile di Montepulciano and   Brunello di Montalcino,and dishes including  Bistecca alla Fiorentina (T-bone steak)or Pecorino cheese.

Montepulciano
Its distinctive location along the hill ridge between the Valdichiana and Val d' Orcia valleys has always played a key role in the history of Montepulciano, a town situated 605 metres ASL, with sweeping views on its valleys and area.
Olive groves and vineyards beautify the landscape, together with a wealth of natural features, like the clay hills and the cypresses that set vertical boundaries.
There are so many things to visit in the village centre.

Noble wines
In addition to impressive Renaissance palaces and fine churches, Montepulciano owes its celebrity to its   Vino Nobile,one of Tuscany's most reputed wines on the international scene.

Chiusi
According to Latin sources, Chiusi is one of the most ancient Etruscan towns.
In fact, the hills surrounding it are famous for their necropolises.
Throughout the centuries, and especially in the 1800s, over thousand tombs were unearthed in the local fields and woods.
The walls of the sepulchres were embellished with fine details - even replicas of wooden features from homes of the time and wall decoration. Yet, as they were carved in soft, delicate, sandstone, they now need extra care and are not all open to the public.
The most remarkable are: the Tomba della Scimmia (Tomb of the Monkey,480-470 BC), the Tomba del Leone (Tomb of the Lion,510 BC) and the Tomba della Pellegrina (The Pilgrim’s Tomb, in use from the 4th to the 2nd century BC).
The subsoil of the old town is crossed by a close-knit network of Etruscan tunnels, linked by ancient wells and cisterns often converted, over the centuries, into warehouses and cellars for the buildings built above them. A tour of Chiusi’sintricate underground makes a highly evocative experience connected to the legend of Lars Porsena.

Lars Porsena's maze
Lars Porsena's maze basically consists in a series of tunnels, probably dating back to Etruscan days, dug below the whole of the old town to drain rainwater. According to Pliny, King Lars Porsena was buried under Chiusi, in a monument whose base measured 90 metres per side and enclosed a maze covered by pyramids and bronze. Such mythical sepulchre has not yet been found.  

The Val d'Orcia valley
The Val d’Orcia valley has retained its bright and healthy environment thanks to responsible farming, preserving its virtually unique bond between man and nature.

The farming heritage of the Val d’Orcia valley lives on among dramatic landscapes, making visitors feel at home and part of its classic and hearty atmosphere.

The landscape
Hilly Val d’Orcia valley is crossed by the medieval   Via Cassia (or Francigena) road, a trail connecting its main towns:  San Quirico, Castiglione, Radicofani, and, on  the diversion to the Valdichiana valley, Pienza and Montalcino.
Other noteworthy destinations include Bagno Vignoni, San Giovanni d’Asso and the tiny hamlet of Montisi.

Valdichiana
The Valdichiana valley is carachterized by gentle slopes, mild climate and by the rare privilege of hosting a complex and interesting variety of natural envrionments.
The Valdichiana valley is deemed one of Europe's most unspoilt areas, as well as one of the finest bread, wine and oil heritage landmarks.
Everything in this area makes you feel good. It is not only the beautiful landscape or mild climate, it is also something to do with the local cultural identity, which is thoroughly safeguarded.
In fact, the spirit of past cultures (Palaeolithic, Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance) still lives on in the museums, archaeological sites, monuments, historical centres and the landscape itself.
The whole is supported by the friendly attitude of the locals, who have created welcoming facilities scattered throughout Tuscany’s greenest, most beautiful inhabited countryside.

The municipalities
The area is currently divided into 20 municipalities,  8 of which in the province of  Siena (Cetona, Chianciano Terme, Chiusi, Montepulciano, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena), and 8 in the province of Arezzo (Cortona, Castiglion Fiorentino, Civitella in Valdichiana, Foiano Della Chiana, Lucignano, Marciano della Chiana, Monte San Savino and Arezzo).
Plus areas, situated in Umbria, which belong to the municipality of Castiglione del Lago and Città della Pieve in the province of Perugia, and to that of Monteleone d’Orvieto and Fabro in the province of Terni.

Siena
Surrounded by olive groves and Chianti vineyards, Siena is one of Tuscany's most stunning towns.
Set on three hill tops, it is crossed by wide streets and narrow alleyways leading you to its heart , Piazza del Camposquare, and to all the other cultural landmarks, including the  Duomo (the cathedral)  and the Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala.
Famous for its Palio, the traditional horse race held every year on 2 July and 16 August, Siena also boasts one among Europe's most ancient universities.

The contrade
The town is divided into seventeen "contrade" (districts). Each contrada races against the others during the Palio, and fierce competition pervades the atmosphere during the months preceding the event. Ten contrade are selected for each race, and each of them is allocated a horse to run in Piazza del Campo square before a roaring audience of thousands, including supporters, visitors and participants.
Two Palio races are run every summer: one on 2 July and one on 16 August. Celebrations kick off three days before each Palio, even though excitement is already at his height a week before. Such period is devoted to banquets, parades, blessing of the horses and celebrations of all kinds. The square is sealed off shortly before the Palio starts and, following likely false starts, the horses set off - and all is over before you even realise. Then the victorious contrada celebrates for weeks, with banquests and discussions, while the losers can only hope to win the next time - supported by extra training and, of course, good luck.
Watching this race is a truly amazing experience, even for the locals. The Palio is a unique event, able to trigger strong emotions; a deeply rooted tradition cherished by Siena’s people, who must absolutely participate in it once in their lifetime. An event you should attend when onholiday in Chianciano Terme and the surroundings.

Cortona
Built on a hill dominating the valley, Cortona, oncean Umbria fortress, was conquered by the Etruscans between the 7th and 8th century BC.
The imposing walls still surrounding the town bring back memories of Cortona’s Etruscan and medieval heydays.
The main attractions include:  Palazzo Pretorio - the home of the Accademia Etrusca - the Medici Fortress of Girifalco, the Cathedral, the Museo Diocesano museum, St. Margareth's Church overlooking the village, and the Convent of the Celle, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi.

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