Tour the Tuscan Countryside | Crete Senesi | The Clay Hills of Siena

By | 23 November, 2009

Siena Medieval Piazza del Campo | Torre del Mangia | Tower of Siena

Siena Medieval Piazza del Campo | Torre del Mangia | Tower of Siena

The hill top town of Siena located in Tuscany and listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site is one of the most charming places to visit in Italy. Sienna is world famous for the Palio, the stunning Torre del Mangia and the outstanding Duomo but when in Siena visitors should not miss the opportunity to visit the Crete Senesi, where Tuscany reveals its truest and most beautiful identity.

Crete Senesi Art of the Landscape | Tours from Siena

Crete Senesi Art of the Landscape | Tours from Siena

The Crete Senesi, the clay hills of Siena, offer a remarkable landscape of rolling hills that adopts the form of the senses and communicates with the force of emotions. This is an interesting journey through one of the most celebrated landscapes in the whole Italy. The Crete are a sea of greyish waves not  softened by woods or trees to be found just outside Siena when driving towards the south. Here, along the via Cassia, overlapping the ancient via Francigena, we find the 14th c.  walls of Buonconvento known for an interesting Sacred Art museum and a museum dedicated to sharecropping . From here we climb to the Abbey of  Monte Oliveto Major dramatically set at the edge of a steep slope of clay. This is one of the most visited monuments in Tuscany thanks to its religious and artistic heritage. The frescoes in the kiosk, the inlaid choir or the library are not to be missed. San Giovanni d’Asso is the capital of Tuscan truffles. The village castle is now the first museum in Italy  dedicated to these noble and expensive bulbs. Asciano is the most important town in the Crete area with its interesting Romanesque church and Archaeological and Art museum.

Clay Hills of Siena | Romantic Tuscany

Clay Hills of Siena | Romantic Tuscany

Siena is separated from the Crete by a few miles and hundreds of curves, now and then its turreted profile appears on the horizon.

Siena Profile from the Crete | Travel Tuscany

Siena Profile from the Crete | Travel Tuscany

The crete of Siena is a portrait that varies from red to purple in fall, becomes gray as the sky in winter, evolves to brilliant green in spring, and finally shows a dazzling yellow in summer when the wheat is already high, this is a borderland where the colors of the Crete meets with the green shoulders of Chianti offering incomparable views in this sea of land of endless wheat fields dotted with hamlets, farms, vineyards, churches and winding roads.

Memorable Colours | Crete in Siena

Memorable Colours | Crete in Siena

The appearance of the clay hills changes with the season and sunlight but the most fascinating phenomenon here is that it is enough just to walk the same street in the different directions to discover a whole different world.

Crete with a View | Hill Top Farm in the Crete Area

Crete with a View | Hill Top Farm in the Crete Area

All the streets of these hills provide excellent spots to take pictures, to observe, to wonder, to meditate, to paint, and to fall in love!

Hills of Siena | Siena Countryside | Enjoy Tuscany Landscapes

Hills of Siena | Siena Countryside | Enjoy Tuscany Landscapes

What to See

ASCIANO – The 14th Century Abbey of Monteoliveto Maggiore the most important monastery in the Siena area, the 11th Century Saint Agata’s Basilica, the Gothic church of San Bernardino home to the Etruscan Museum and the late Gothic Church of Saint Francis, Piazza del Grano with its 15th Century travertine fountain by Paolo Ghini.

Weekly Market on Saturday | Asciano Crete Market – Second Sunday of every month

Unique Landscape of Tuscany | Crete Senesi | Clay Hills of Siena

Unique Landscape of Tuscany | Crete Senesi | Clay Hills of Siena

RAPOLANO TERME – Porta dei Tintori, Piazza del Castellare, the Romanesque Church dedicated to Saint Bartolomeo, the breathtaking view over Siena’ s tower. Weekly Market on Friday

A View of the Crete from Rapolano Terme | Landscapes of Tuscany

A View of the Crete from Rapolano Terme | Landscapes of Tuscany

SERRE DI RAPOLANO – The gorgeous historical center, the outstanding medieval architectural complex of Palazzo della Grangia, and its surrounding gems such as the villages of Armaiolo and Poggio Santa Cecilia, and the 12th Century Castle of Madanella.


Best Restaurants Around the Clay Hills of Siena

Da Mario | Buonconvento | Euro 25

Da Roberto Taverna in Montini | San Giovanni d’Asso | E.30

Il Conte Matto | Trequanda | Euro 35

Modanella | Modanella | Euro 35

La Pievina | 9 Via Lauretana Asciano | Euro 50

Would you like to share your Italy travel tips or pictures with us? Please write us your comment and we will be happy to post it! Enjoy Tuscany!

Ciao from Rome:-)

Nancy Aiello

ItalyTravelista.com

Join ItalyTravelista on Twitter

© Copyright 2009, Nancy Aiello Tours

Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours, based in Rome, specializes in Private Guided Vatican and Rome Tour, Siena and Tuscany wine tasting tours, and Italy Tours for the value conscious travelers and family visiting Italy with children.

New articles are published on our site weekly, sometimes daily. To keep up to date with our news, tips and current events, please sign up for ItalyTravelista free RSS feed.

If you are interested in publishing this article please contact Nancy Aiello Tours for consent & info.

Nancy Aiello Tours of Tuscany | Travel to Tuscany

Nancy Aiello Tours of Tuscany | Travel to Tuscany