These days, no one thinks as the Etruscans did that the large mountain, with its unmistakable profile, rising from the Earth in the south of Tuscany, between the Provinces of Siena and Grosseto, is the home of Tinia, the equivalent of the Roman Jupiter. Yet still today, the inactive volcano exercises its vital influence for hundreds of kilometres around, just as it has done for thousands of years. Monte Amiata stands unmistakably with its austere and mysterious profile and can still be sensed everywhere: in the warm waters of the springs flowing from the heart of the earth, in the sour odour of the fumaroles that can still be smelt on the southern face of the mountain, in the extensive stretches of beech and chestnut trees that envelop the rocky volcanic cone, in the colours of the meadows that surround it, and in the fertile land that man has shaped to its will, harvesting wines, oils, cheeses and meats of the highest quality.
This alone would be inviting enough for a trip to the slopes of the Amiata, but that’s not all. Alongside the history of the volcano, as ancient as the meadow, is the history of man and the civilization that has arisen over the centuries, thriving and leaving behind traces over time. Merchants and pilgrims travelling along the via Francigena, Lombard princes in search of conquests that, entranced with wonder for the beauty of these places, fell in love and decided to build their homes right here, outlaws, the memory of whom still arouses fear and respect at the very mention of their name, traditions, and legends written about by Dante and Boccaccio, becoming key pieces of medieval literature: it’s history that can be experienced first-hand, in the stone villages of Amiata, with its towers, castles, fortresses, churches and abbeys.
This 5-day itinerary certainly can’t cover the vast wealth of Amiata’s nature and history, but it will definitely unveil the soul of the ancient volcano and make you discover the ancient civilization that lived in the shadow of its profile. The point of departure of each excursion must be reached by car.