Province Itineraries

following the path of the Via Francigena

Itineraries in the province of Siena

Following the path of the Via Francigena

The surroundings of Siena are worth a visit to discover the charm of these lands. The beauty of the villages and the colourful natural landscape make Tuscany one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Below are some recommendations for visiting the area around Siena and San Gimignano during your stay at Antico Borgo San Lorenzo.

The towers of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a perfectly preserved medieval town dating back to the 12th-13th centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, the city transports tourists back in time thanks to its characteristic environment that reflects its ancient history.
The 14 towers of San Gimignano, the hallmark of this Tuscan town, accompany visitors on their discovery of this perfectly preserved settlement.

A walk around San Gimignano takes in Piazza della Cisterna, where the market used to be held, and Piazza del Duomo, where the old Palazzo Comunale (town hall) stands. A visit to the farm that produces Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine is also recommended.

Asciano and the clays of Siena

The ‘Crete Senesi’ is the area to the south-east of Siena, so called because of the clay (also called ‘creta’) found in the soil. It is this clay that gives the Crete Senesi its characteristic blue-grey colour and its resemblance to the lunar landscape.
The itinerary can be undertaken by car or by bus and allows you to take in splendid natural views, as well as unique artistic works.

Driving along the Lauretana road south of Siena, you cross the picturesque landscape of the Crete Senesi before arriving at the characteristic medieval village of Asciano. Here you can taste typical local products and rediscover the timeless taste of tradition. Afterwards, we recommend a visit to the Abbey of Monteoliveto, where an enchanting series of 16th-century frescoes is preserved in the Chiostro Maggiore.

Montalcino and St Antimo Abbey

From Montalcino, a hill south of Siena, there is a breathtaking view of the barren landscape below.
In Montalcino, we recommend a visit to the 14th-century fortress, one of the finest examples of military architecture in Tuscany, the last bastion of the Sienese Republic before its demise on 21 April 1555. The Civic and Diocesan Museum is also worth a visit.

Descending towards the valley, we recommend a visit to the beautiful abbey of St Antimo, where the monks practise the ancient art of the Gregorian chant in this well-preserved Romanesque jewel. To end the tour on a high note, we recommend a visit to the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine cellars.

Pilgrims on the Via Francigena

The Via Francigena consists of a group of roads linking Rome to several cities in Central Europe and Canterbury. The road has very ancient origins: one of the first testimonies of its existence dates back to the 10th century, when Bishop Sigeric described his pilgrimage from Rome to Canterbury. To relive the pilgrims’ experiences, we recommend starting from the fortified castle of Monteriggioni. The walls of this castle are mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy.

Inside the castle, children can don knights’ armour and take a step back in time.
From here we recommend a visit to Abbadia Isola, this abbey is one of the most important points on the Via Francigena. Along the way, you can stop in a small medieval village where you can try the tasty traditional cuisine. As a last stop, we recommend a visit to San Gimignano, which enjoyed its heyday in the 13th century thanks to the pilgrims who travelled along these roads.

Pienza and San Quirico d'Orcia

Pienza owes its beauty to Pope Pius II Piccolimini who made it a real treasure trove of Renaissance architecture. Pius II, in fact, was born in Pienza (then known as Corsignano) during his family’s exile.
To celebrate his birthplace, Piccolimini reconstructed most of the buildings in his humble village.

In Pienza, we recommend a visit to the beautiful Cathedral and its exquisite 15th-century Sienese art. Not far from Pienza is a farm where you can discover the secrets of the famous local pecorino cheese.

From Pienza we recommend visiting San Quirico d’Orcia, a picturesque medieval village, an traditional stop for many pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena.