In the immediate vicinity of Siena, along the hills that surround the city from the south-east, opens up a territory, one of the most striking: the Crete Senesi. Here you can find a landscape characterized by a succession of gray hills, alternating rugged areas where nature has shaped in the wild territory. The water, in fact, running out of control along the hills slopes dug deep furrows on which vegetation cannot take root. These ravines and deep grayish tens of meters, known by the name of “calanchi”, often stretch for hundreds of meters from the ridge to get to the valley floor. Another erosive form present in the Crete Senesi are the “biancane”. These reliefs that appear like white domes are due to forms of water erosion of clays, from which white sodium sulphate exudes and is deposited on the surface. In limited areas you can see also the “frills” (balze in italian), which are points where the hilly terrain is interrupted.

Crete Senesi

It is also worth noting that this area was completely submerged by the sea 2.5 million years ago. Here you can find lots of villages as Asciano, Buonconvento, Monteroni d’Arbia, Rapolano Terme, Trequanda and San Giovanni d’Asso. A feature of the area is the presence of many Spa known for the beneficial properties of its waters. Among the most popular we suggest visit the Terme di San Giovanni Rapolano and Terme Antica Querciolaia Spa, both in Rapolano Terme where you can enjoy indoor and outdoor pools and also some beauty treatments! The Crete Senesi are therefore a place where you can enjoy a little ‘well-deserved relax and unwind from everyday stress!

Rapolano Terme Spa

Any person crossing the territory of the Crete Senesi immediately realizes what this is really rich: clay. This has encouraged the production of this material, originally “poor”, to turn it into something of greater value. This stemmed from the art of baking clay to produce “cooked”. To understand the importance that has baked in this area should visit two architectural masterpieces: the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the old town of Buonconvento. The first one founded in 1313 by John Tolomei, is constructed almost entirely in brick. You can access to the abbey from the fortified palace erected in 1393 to defend the monastery. The interior of the abbey, divided into three cloisters, preserves important works of 400 and 500 and a magnificent library containing over 40,000 ancient books. As the abbey also near the center of Buonconvento, still enclosed by its walls, has most of its medieval buildings constructed in brick. Remember also the presence of the Via Francigena, the long pilgrimage route that linked Europe to Rome.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey


The main center of Crete Senesi is however represented by the village of Asciano, which is about 30 km far from Siena and where you can go through Monteroni d’Arbia along a scenic road made of curves and hills, perfect for lovers of bike and photography. Here you can watch and contemplate a beautiful landscae in the silence of nature and the woods surrounding it. In Asciano, which has been the granary of Siena, you can see farms, isolated buildings in the countryside, where in the past families lived. The farmers have cared for centuries the balance and beauty of the landscape based on the main crops such as wheat, vines and olive trees. In the ’60s, with the end of sharecropping begins the abandonment of the countryside partly offset by real immigration of Sardinian shepherds who import in Tuscany the culture of cheese.

Asciano landscape

The Crete Senesi are an inevitable stop for lovers of cycling and mountain biking. Cycling in this area is certainly a fascinating experience for those that prefer frequent changes and trajectories. Among the main roads we can mention two in particular: the path of Monte Sante Marie (Asciano- Torre a Castello) and the way of Pieve a Salti (Buonconvento – San Giovanni d’Asso), where you can go by bike or by walk. For lovers of road bike we suggest you  Lauretana road from Siena to Asciano and arrives till Chiusure, Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Buonconvento.

At this point we can only wish you good visit to discover one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany!


Published by Borgo Grondaie Hotel

Passignano Abby a hidden gem in Chianti is  even called Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo in Passignano; it is located in Tavernella Val di Pesa area, near Florence. The building surrounded by the houses of the village is still a monastery. Passignano Abby was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt and  its present appearance  is that of a fort rather than a monastery.

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Passignano abby


Passignano abby – IL Chiostro


Passignano abby

The abbey of San Michele  is dedicated to the angel warrior San Michele. The statue of the angel on the top of the chapel roof  and the Templar cross that lies within are clear symbols of it. The abbey which once contained over 6600 scrolls it is a real  treasure to visit and discover. The monks who live in only ask visitors for a  donation but we guarantee that what you see is worth well over. Very beautiful is the medieval kitchen never renovated during  nineteenth century and  the hall of the refectory where “The Last Supper” by Ghirlandaio dating back to 1476 and  covers the entire wall of the room.


Passignano abby – Medieval kitchen


Passignano abby – Medieval kitchen


Passignano abby – Medieval kitchen


Passignano abby – Medieval kitchen


thanks to Wikipedia

Last Supper from Ghirlandaio

Currently the fresco is covered because under restoration. Lack of funds are, however, lengthening the time of the restoration. This is also why I suggest you a  visit at the Abbey of Passignano and leave your generous contribution that will be critical to the preservation of  this beautiful fresco, a symbol of Italian culture. Beautiful view from the gardens and from the terrace.

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from the garden of Passignano Abby


Passignano Abby – a view of the chiostro

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The garden – Passignano Abby

Have a nice tour

posted by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

A week end trip to Val d’Orcia Tuscany – in the south part of Siena area -worth by sure a visit but if you don’t have enough time to see all its territory just Pienza and Moltancino give you the idea of how beauty is this part of Tuscany. For those who have more time we suggest to follow the river Orcia till the castle of Rocca d’Orcia (also called Rocca di Tentennano), just a few meters away from the main town of Castiglione d’Orcia. The castle is open to public and  offers an incomparable view: The near mountain Monte Amiata, the castle of Radicofani , the town of Castiglione and the hot springs just on the opposite slope of the Val d’Orcia, the spa town of Bagno Vignoni.


The small hamlet of Rocca d’Orcia with its medieval fountains and churches from the 13th century makes you feel back into Medieval time. Here Saint Catherine of Siena learned reading and writing during their stay in 1378

The entrance fee for the castle is 3 euros and it also includes the entrance  to the small museum Sala d’Arte San Giovanni in the center of Castiglione d’Orcia. Here you can admire paintings of Simone Martini, Giovanni di Paolo and Vecchietta.


Museum and castle are always open on Saturdays and Sundays (10:00 to 13:00 / 16:00 to 19:00).

Have a nice tour!



Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

The Tarot Garden is an art park developed in the late seventies by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, populated by statues inspired by the shapes of the Tarots. Definitely inspired by the beautiful park Guell in Barcelona, Niki de Saint Phalle, with this fantastic garden, realizes the magical and spiritual dream of her life, to create giant sculptures, high around 12/15 meters, full of symbolic and esoteric meanings. Glittering sculptures, which seem to come from a storybook, built of steel and concrete, covered with mosaics in fine glass and ceramics. Many, from all over the world have already traveled this path of imagination, a place where not only nature and art meet, but that also remains suspended without space or time … ..
The Tarot Garden  is located on the southern side of the Garavicchio hill near Pescia Fiorentina, an hamlet close to Capalbio (GR). It is about 1 ½ hours from Siena and being located between the coastal road  and inland hills, it is perfect solution for those who want to spend a pleasant day taking a nice break from the beach.
Tarot Garden is open every day until October 15th  from 2:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m. For reservation email to

We visited this wonderful park and here same photos:


Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy


Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy


Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy


Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy


Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy


Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

For more information contact Hotel Borgo Grondaie


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For two days, Sarteano, a nice village near Siena (about an hour by car), will be transformed into a wonderful show of colors, art and fragrances. All this thanks to “Artinfiore”, the first festival of flowers and creativity.

Located in the historical center of Sarteano you’ll admire different art installations inspired by the “greenery” theme. It will be also possible to visit the trade show dedicated to flowers , uncommon plants and crafts related to gardening.
The event will also provide children’s workshops and classes for all ages to learn something new about the world of flowers.
You can find more information on :
Source: Siena News

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sottotetto duomo

It took months of work but on  April the 6th the Cathedral of Siena opens its attics that were never opened to the public.
With an experienced guide you walk  spiral staircases almost hidden from visitors’ view and  in small groups you are taken over the vaulted stars of the right aisle. From there it begins a journey where view range from inside to outside the cathedral. You can visit Ulisse De Matteis windows with the representation of the Apostles and the gallery where you can admire the view on the main altar. From the left aisle  visitors can admire a breathtaking view of the Basilica of San Domenico, the Medici Fortress and the entire cupola of St. John the Baptist.
Much more is to discover if you decide to  participate in an event of historical and emotional impact like no other, organized by Opera – Civita Group
For information

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In the beautiful village of San Quirico d’Orcia, about an hour’s drive from Siena, we celebrate the Festival of Barbarossa. It is the recollection of the meeting between Frederick I, called Barbarossa and the Cardinals sent from the Pope Adrian IV.

In 1155 King Frederick I was named to become Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. To obtain the coronation he should ask for the assent of the Roman Church. He obtained the agreement for his coronation by the Church but only in exchange for the capture of the heretic Arnold of Brescia.
The festival runs from Wednesday, June 13th to Sunday 17th June .You can enjoy parades, lucky dinners, flag bearers, archers competitions and medieval shows.

For more information contact Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie.

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Even this year in San Gimignano, a few kilometers from Siena, the Harvest Fair takes place, a historical-mediaeval reenactment  revives by the association of the Knights of St. Fina. Now, as in the past, they participate in the traditional holiday “ Ferie Messium” celebrated by the entire population during the crops period.
The inauguration of the festival will take place Friday, 15th   June, from 9.30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and then develops  along  two days following through shows of flags, songs, dances, games, parades, competitions and tug of war competitions and archery, even the famous tournament of “Giostra dei Bastioni”(tournament of knights on horseback).
Visitors can also admire the ancient arts and crafts market and bring a souvenir of the past.

For more information contact Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie
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