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Val di Chiana

CORTONA

Cortona is a small charming town in the Valdichiana, or Chiana Valley, in the province of Arezzo in southern Tuscany. The city, enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, sits on the top of a hill about 600 meters (about 1968 feet) above sea level. This dominant position over the valley offers a spectacular view from all over the town of the surrounding valley and even Lake Trasimeno.

The city is small but offers many interesting places to visit, among these the Diocesan Museum (where you can admire a beautiful panel painting of the Annunciation by Beato Angelico) and the MAEC (The Etruscan Academy Museum of the City of Cortona), where it is possible to see many artifacts found in the Eruscan archeological sites in the area. You can also request additional information about the Archeological Park at the museum.

You should not miss a visit to the beautiful Santa Margherita Sanctuary, patron of the city, and to the Girifalco Fortress. Both are on the highest point on the hill and are easy to reach after a short, uphill walk.  Following the path that follows the city walls, you can also enjoy a beautiful view over the surrounding countryside. The Girifalco Fortress, constructed for military purposes, has undergone many substantial changes throughout the centuries and today only a part is open to the public.

Various small shops on the main streets of Cortona offer local handmade items andgastronomical productsGreat red wines are made in the area (we are just a few kilometers from Montepulciano and Montalcino) and all of the wine bars offer a wide selection.
There are many restaurants in the city, most offering traditional local and Tuscan cuisine (the Chianina cattle, one of Italy’s oldest, high quality bovine breeds is bred in Valdichiana).

Just outside of Cortona’s walls you’ll find the Franciscan hermitage Le Celle, the first monastery built by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1211, where a small community of friars still lives today. Through the course of the centuries, the hermitage was restructured and enlarged several times but Saint Francis’s small cell has always been conserved in its original state and can be visited today.

In summer, Cortona organizes the Tuscan Sun Festival, an annual event dedicated to the arts which sees the participation of several international stars and artists and some of the world’s leading photographers at Cortona On The Move, international photography festival www.cortonaonthemove.com

MONTEPULCIANO

A walking tour designed to discover Montepulciano and its narrow streets, offering amazing views to those who know how to choose the less traveled paths.
Our itinerary starts in front of the Temple of San Biagio, the Renaissance church of Antonio da
Sangallo the Elder.
We will visit the Piazza Grande with the Duomo and the sumptuous sixteenth-century palaces that surround it.
The Cathedral contains priceless masterpieces like the altar of the Gigli by Andrea Della Robbia, the triptych of the Assumption by Taddeo di Bartolo and the sweet Madonna del Pilastro by Sano di Pietro .
The Town Hall faces this square, as a tribute to his Florentine corresponding “twin” Palazzo Vecchio.
The course, now downhill, continues to the fourteenth-century church of Santa Maria dei Servi, where we can admire the Vergine della Santoreggia and the birthplace of Poliziano which is located nearby it .
Along the way we will visit the churches of San Francesco, Santa Lucia and Sant’Agostino, excellent work of Michelozzo and Palazzo Bucelli, an outdoor Etruscan museum, to then exit from the mighty Porta al Prato and come across the Romanesque church of Sant’Agnese.
Before leaving the Porta al Prato we will make a stop to taste a good glass of Vino Nobile.

SARTEANO

A guided tour rich of places to see and discover. Sarteano is in fact a place full of history, a Village long contested between Orvieto and the Sienese Republic in the Middle Ages.
As soon as you arrive in the village you can immediately notice the stately fifteenth-century castle, which dominates the town from above and which will be one of the key-visits of the tour, along with the austere Renaissance buildings. Among these buildings there is Palazzo Piccolomini in which Pope Pius III was born, whom commissioned the building the church of San Francesco.
Other important stops of the tour will be the one at the church of San Martino, with the extraordinary Mannierist Annunciation by Beccafumi and the Etruscan necropolis of Pianacce, where a few years ago the Tomba della Quadriglia Infernale was found.

The tour in Sarteano does not only involve history and architecture, but it is also dedicated to nature and landscapes.
We will cross the the beautiful Parco delle Piscine, nourished throughout the year from the thermal waters and the village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro offering an unforgettable overlook of the Val d’Orcia. The natural reserve of Porciana Stone will also be part of the visit, with its rare beechwood wich will offer a fresh respite during hot days.

CHIANCIANO

Chianciano is reknown since Etruscan times for the regenerative properties of its thermal waters but, before relaxing, we suggest you to take part to one of our guided tours.
The itinerary that we propose starts with a scenic walk in the oldest part of the city, known as Chianciano Vecchia or Paese. We will discover the history of Chianciano visiting its landmarks both of historical and artistic interest: from the renaissance Porta Rivellini to the Curch oft he Immacolata Concezione , from the Clock Tower to the Castle of the Conti Manenti, from the Palazzo dell’Arcipretura to the Church of the Madonna della Rosa.

At the end of the tour, the unmissable visit to the Archaeological Museum of Water.
The museum features exceptional archaeological finds from the necropolis of the Pedata, the reconstruction of the Prince’s tomb at Morelli, and part of the pediment’s decoration of the temple of Fucoli.

CETONA

The itinerary will take us through the narrow and paved shores of Cetona, not surprisingly included in the list of the Italian’s most beautiful villages.
The village still preserves its walls and the typical medieval structure dominated by the Rocca.
Besides the unquestionable architectural and urban beauty, there are many other reasons to take part in our guided tour such as the city’s history, a dominion of Siena from centuries disputed between Orvieto and Perugia.
The tour continues with the Chiesa Collegiata, built in the 12th century, inside which the fresco of the Assumption of the school of Pinturicchio is preserved.
At last, we suggest a visit to the Museum of Prehistory, rich in finds which attest the presence of urban settlements since the Paleolithic era. The museum will show the geological evolution of the area. The tour will culminate with the visit to the Archaeological and Natural Park, where you will be able to retrace the history of Cetona from the Neolithic era to the Etruscan times.

CHIUSI

An itinerary to discover the history of Chiusi, a city that in the course of its time has often been an important center of artistic and cultural heritage.
Born as an Etruscan settlement, with the name of Charmars, the city knows its most prolific period between the 7th and 5th centuries BC under the legendary guide of king Porsenna.
In Roman times Chiusi becomes Clusium; the urban structure overlaps the Etruscan one keeping the same walls and roads. In Christian times the city is experiencing a new phase of splendor, as evidenced by the Cathedral of San Secondiano.
After losing importance in the Middle Ages, Chiusi joins the Sienese Republic and sees its rebirth in the 19th century, at the time of the great archaeological discoveries.

We suggest to integrate the guided tour with one of Chiusi’s museums:

National Archaeological Museum, to learn more about the Etruscan civilization, its traditions and its unsolved mysteries.

Cathedral Museum which exhibits ancient bas-relief and storied sarcophagi , old paintings and a rich set of renaissance choral parchment, from the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.
From the Museum you can also access the Porsenna’s Labyrinth, a fascinating journey in the undergrounds of Chiusi through tunnels and Etruscan galleries.

Visit to the Etruscan necropolis and the early Christian catacombs of Santa Caterina and Santa Mustily.

Info
www.guidesiena.it

 

 

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