Siena Nature and Wildlife Tours
- San Galgano and the Sword in the Stone
Through the beautiful wooded hills of the Merse River, walking along an old road used for the seasonal movement of livestock (transhumance), set between the Apennines and the Maremma, we reach the suggestive and imposing ruins of the Gothic abbey of the Order of Cistercians, immersed among wheat fields.
Once we have visited the ‘roofless’ church and the remains of the adjoining abbey, we climb up to the hermitage of Montesiepi where, for the past 900 years, Saint Galgano’s sword has been stuck in the stone where he lodged it. The sword is indeed from the 12th century and does not budge!
Difficulty: an easy excursion of historical and artistic interest set in a natural landscape
Duration: half day
Option: it is possible to also visit the Abbey of Sant’Antimo thereby spending an unforgettable day in religious medieval Tuscany, much like the pilgrims would have done.
- From Montalcino to Sant’Antimo
We depart from Montalcino and take a downhill path leading first to a characteristic medieval village and then through a thick wood. We suddenly come upon the evocative Abbey of Sant’Antimo, set in a fairytale landscape. The surprising brightness and the Romanesque structure make this former Benedictine monastery unique. It is possible to tour the abbey and there is even a pharmacy where it is possible to purchase food, beer, a digestive, and cosmetics produced in accordance with medieval monastic formulas.
Religious services are still held in the Abbey and spiritual retreats and even weddings are possible.
Difficulty: an easy excursion of historical and artistic interest set in a natural landscape.
Duration: half day
Option: it is possible to also visit the Abbey of San Galgano thereby spending an unforgettable day in religious medieval Tuscany, much like the pilgrims would have done.
- From Buonconvento to Monte Oliveto: the Crete Senesi
The Crete Senesi (literally the Clays of Siena) refer to an area south of Siena, formed by centuries of water erosion, modeling sandy and clay sediments. The changing color of the soil from whitish-gray to red, depending on the season, gives the landscape a lunar appearance.
From the fortified hamlet of Buonconvento, strategically located along the ancient Via Francigena, we slowly climb the intriguing Crete Senesi. This unique landscape offers fantastic panoramas of the calanchi and biancane, a type of badlands with furrowed ravines and gullies (calanchi) and barren whitish outcrops (biancane).
We reach the picturesque village of Chiusure and then descend a small slope to the magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.
Difficulty: an easy/medium excursion of historical and artistic interest set in a spectacular landscape.
Duration: full day