In Southern Tuscany, there’s a special full of art, things to do and magical landscapes. We’re talking about Monte Amiata, in the province of Siena, which faces the rolling landscape of the Val d'Orcia to the northeast and the Maremma on the eastern side.
In ancient times, Monte Amiata was a volcano, but don’t worry, it’s dormant today! It’s also the highest in Italy at 1,736 metres. One of the reasons the area is so stunning is because it’s largely untouches and has maintained its rural charm, making it a paradise for sports lovers and all those wanting to explore the beautiful area by bike, horseback or on foot, and visit the historic villages dotting the territory. For anyone thinking of taking a holiday here, let us suggest a few ideas for ways to spend your time in the area.
Monte Amiata is the kingdom of chestnuts and mushrooms. Chestnuts in particular have always been present in traditional dishes, like chestnut polenta, castagnaccio and bread made with the chestnut flour. But Amiata is also famous for boar or lamb buglioni, cinta meat, handmade pasta and wine.
Wonderful trails, rocks, springs, rivers and streams across a volcanic landscape formed millions of years ago are just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Monte Amiata also has a long history connected to mining, and the Mining Museum of Monte Amiata explores the places connected to one of the most important mercury mines in the world. You might even be able to find old miners who can speak to you about the hard life of mining.
Because Monte Amiata was an active volcano in Antiquity, today it’s home to many thermal springs. There are three spa resorts in the area around the mountain: Bagni San Filippo, Bagno Vignoni and, just a few kilometres away, San Casciano dei Bagni, all with thermal springs that flow endlessly from deep underground, and each one offering a wide array of treatments.
The famous via Francigena passes by the foot of the mountain, while via Cassia crosses it a bit higher up, from where you’ll see Abbadia San Salvatore, founded in the early Middle Ages, and the Abbey of San Salvatore. Among the many events that regularly take place in Abbadia San Salvatore, one of the most interesting is the traditional “Medieval Festival” that takes place in July. The event includes a historical procession, dances and duels that evoke the Middle Ages.
This area is perfect for people who like sports: