You can start visiting Siena with a welcome dinner at the workshop of Stigliano, which welcomes visitors inside a project of active citizenship and direct participation in the exchange and mutual enrichment through the experiences that each of the patrons can use to create a network of relationships and knowledge of the area.
The first steps can be moved from the Church of San Domenico, a typically Romanesque marvel, expanded in 1300 in the classic gothic fashion that we can still admire. The vertical momentum will not be abandoned even after the reconstruction that took place in the late 1800s, after which the church drastically changed the internal aspect.
The church is famous for the small private chapel at St. Catherine of Siena, which contains his relics.
The cathedral is the ideal second step, here you can see the breathtaking views that this intersection of streets and walls jealously conceals. In a few minutes, through the narrow and shady lanes of the beautiful Siena, you can arrive at the magnificent cathedral. Nestled in the square, winks at her “twin” of Pisa. The composition and structure of the cathedrals of Tuscany was affected, in fact, by the obvious influence of local materials (colored marbles).
The point: simple but unique food. Everything is based on a poor but excellent good: bread, in any variation. The Cinta Senese, finocchiona and lard enrich the flavor of the "poor" bread, made strictly at home.
Do not miss a delicious aperitif with toasted black bread prepared according to tradition, served with bovine spleen, onions and anchovies.
The soups are always present, from acquacotta to typical soups with bread crumbs and soaked with onion, tomato, oil and vinegar.
The famous Florentine steak Dominates Siena, it is grilled and cooked strictly by Chianina, typical of Tuscany. And then… Siena tripe and the legendary... Ribollita!
Do not miss the desserts : Panforte di Siena, Gingerbread, ricciarelli and yummy and delicious almond biscuits!
Walking the streets swept by the incipient pale autumn sun you can warm up in one of the typical restaurants of the district: “La Taverna di San Giuseppe”, in the district (contrada) of the Wave, a few steps from the profane font in which babyies receives the initiation to the Contrada once born. Set in a background of the 1100s, the tavern looks warm and informal, despite the exclusivity and sophistication in its dishes. Ingredients are typically Tuscan, wholesome and homemade. Very special spicy salami and combinations with fruits and vegetables.
You can conclude your visit riding in the Val di Merse. You can choose, for starters, a 30 km trip, so called ” Wandering of Sovicille.”
It starts from Stigliano, it crosses the Marshes, San Rocco a Pilli, Sovicille and than gets you to Torri. The roads are secondary roads, just a little frequented by motorists. The surrounding countryside almost reminds Scotland. You can also choose to lengthen the path along the river Rosia, which gives its name to the adjacent village. In this case, a feast for the eyes, the “Ponte della Pia”, it may surprise you.
And what about walking? The Via Francigena goes on relentless and runs between rows of cypress trees. San Gimignano stands outside the hills with its towers and its fairy-tale silhouette. As in the Middle Ages, the red – ocher of the earth of Siena accompanies the paths that lead into the Elsa Valley, with its splendid Romanesque Coneo Badia, Colle Val d’Elsa and Monteriggioni, a beautiful medieval town surrounded by impressive and intact city walls.
The Val d’ Arbia shows the rolling hills of the Crete Senesi, we are beginning to write the history of the Via Francigena: buildings born in road service such as hotels and hospitals, churches, abbeys and canonical, fortified structures such as the granary of Cuna, once deposit of tailings to the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. Buonconvento with its beautiful historical center, located in the heart of the Crete welcomes visitors with a warm embrace. The road continues in Val d’Orcia, soft green grass dunes Cottony hills that run slow, in ethereal space. The feet will find comfort at the Farm Grossola, beautiful stone farmhouse in Castiglione d’ Orcia. We can move in the direction of Bagno Vignoni, a true pearl.
Discover all eco-friendly accommodations in the province of Siena, organic agritourisms surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, or eco-friendly Bed & Breakfasts and hotels set in the heart of medieval villages.
by Angela Sebastianelli
Cover photo by Richard Scott, via flickr