Tuscany is a very popular destination for relaxing stays, wine & food tastings, nature trails and luxury experiences; this great variety of attractions is the result of centuries-old traditions, a great attention to the welcome of travelers and care in keeping intact the many artistic masterpieces in the entire region.
The 4 small medieval villages that we have selected have in common a magic charm that enchant tourists as a spell; explore the alleys and squares of hamlets of lesser known destinations, Tuscany is more than Siena and Florence!
Trequanda, in the heart of Crete Senesi
Do you know the shade of color named “Terra di Siena”? This name comes from the ocher shades of the Sienese countryside, in particular from the area where is located Trequanda, a hamlet on a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana.
Compared to other parts of Tuscany, here you will notice a landscape defined by clay hills that surround the horizon, cypress and oak trees that dot the landscape, farmhouses and churches that stand out among the slopes.
Trequanda also received the Orange Flag prestigious award, bestowed by the Italian Touring Club to small towns that offer excellent tourist services.
To get there you have to pass through the Crete Senesi (marked by a landscape that has been described as “lunar” and evocative, simply amazing), following the road to Pienza and turning right through the vineyards and the woods surrounding the town.
In Trequanda you can admire the cylindrical tower of the Cacciaconti castle, the facade of the parish church of Ss. Pietro e Andrea made with white and blacks chess stone, dating from the XIII century, and the Romanesque church of S. Stefano in Cennano located in the hamlet of Castelmuzio, a church built in the Middle Ages in the place where it originally stood an Etruscan temple.
Inside the church, in summer, it’s possible to listen to concerts of classical music, an additional reason to make a stop in Trequanda.
Torrita di Siena, romantic town in Val di Chiana
On top of a hill in the western part of the Val di Chiana is located Torrita di Siena, a hamlet that owes its name to its historical walls, built in 1100 to protect the castle around which the village was born.
One of the attractions that will catch your attention in the center of Torrita is the Teatro degli Oscuri, located inside the town hall, founded in 1776 by the members to the Academy to promote the culture.
Today, theater performances and concerts held here make this venue one of the most interesting in Siena province.
Strolling through the streets of Torrita, you will see the small Church of Our Lady of the Snows, in front of the Gioco del Pallone square, a must-see because of the XVI century tabernacle by Benvenuto and Girolamo del Guasta, a work of art characterized by the extremely vivid colors, depicting moments in the life of Virgin Mary.
This church is one of the finest artistic treasures of Torrita: to visit the church you can contact the CTA “Il Borgo”, since it is usually closed to the public. For information :www.facebook.com/CTA-Il-Borgo.
A short walk from the center of Torrita there is a relais that is one of its kind, Residenza d’Arte: the hotel’s interior and its beautiful gardens are full of contemporary artworks, a tribute to the beauty of the surrounding landscape and a successful combination of the colors of nature and passion for art that emerges from the paintings and sculptures that embellish this boutique hotel.
San Casciano dei Bagni: ancient thermal baths, top wellness
ince the Etruscan’s age, the town of San Casciano dei Bagni is a perfect place to get the right balance between body and soul.
The 42 natural water springs that flows at 40 degrees make San Casciano the third thermal water flow rate in Europe.
Enjoy the breathtaking view of the entire Val di Chiana from the center of San Casciano dei Bagni, admire the castle of Fighine, the squares and the palaces of this hamlet, you’ll feel inside a fresco by Giotto!
If you prefer to explore the unspoiled nature, we recommend following the trails and discovering the thick woods around the town by walk or riding a mountain bike; in these woods is it common to encounter hawks, deer and roe deer!
The access to thermal baths is free, these baths are located a few meters from Piazza Matteotti (located at the center of the town), and here you can float and relax completely, erasing any stress and forgetting the hectic pace of life in big cities.
The basins of Bagno Grande and Bagno Bossolo are a must for wellness vacations, ideally to be combined with a stay at Casa Fabbrini, an agritourism on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees that separate it from the center of San Casciano.
Monteriggioni, the most popular castle in Tuscany
Although Monteriggioni is a well-known village for its medieval towers and for its strategical position, between Siena and Colle Val D’Elsa, it’s often mentioned because is the scenario of the famous videogame saga Assassin’s Creed.
What Dante would have said about that? He mentioned Monteriggioni in his Divine Comedy and describes it as “crowned by towers”.
What is certain is that this hamlet deserves to be visited by those who want to grab the essence of Tuscany: the medieval festival, the castle, the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Assunta, the walkways on the historic walls and the museum of antique weapons and armor are the elements that make a tour in Monteriggioni truly unforgettable.
The medieval festival takes place in July and consists of banquets, fairs, costume parades and performances of jugglers, an event that every year attracts tourists from around the world.
However Monteriggioni is a cozy place at other times of the year; we recommend a cozy dwell at a short distance from here for a comfortable stay: Relais La Costa, located in a place where pilgrims stopped during their travel along the Via Francigena.
This relais, in fact, stands where once there was a stage of the religious itinerary now back in vogue, an original way to discover the most authentic side of Tuscany.
These 4 medieval hamlets enclose the charm of the places suspended in time, towns that give pure emotions to visitors: enjoy a sunset seen from a centuries-old tower and take a break in the heart of Val di Chiana.