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The itineraries of the Crete Senesi fascinate visitors of all ages

The tour of the Crete Senesi is a must for anyone staying in Siena

The Crete Senesi is one of the most beautiful landscapes in thew world and an obligatory destination for those who choose to spend a few days discovering the territory of Siena. The region’s name comes from the gray-blue clay that make up the ground: it is what remains of the sea that covered the area millions of years ago. The territory of the Crete Senesi is occupied by cultivated hills, disturbed only by some farmhouse or by isolated oaks and cypresses, which become groves in the valleys. The typical features of the landscape are the fontoni, depressions that get filled with rainwater, and the biancane, that is to say light-colored dome shaped hills; and crags and gullies which instead are the argillaceous rock walls on which parallel grooves were formed by erosion. The Crete Senesi are crossed by numerous paths, designed for those who practice trekking and decide to explore them by mountain bike.

Places to visit in the Crete Senesi

One of the most important towns of the Crete Senesi is Asciano, which is located about 30 km south of Siena. Like other towns in the area, Asciano was founded in Etruscan times and had its golden age during the Middle Ages; the Basilica di Sant’Agata, for example, dates back to this period, standing imposingly on top of a high staircase. Built around 1000 in Romanesque style, during the thirteenth century it has undergone expansions in the Gothic style. Only a few kilometers from Asciano we can find other significant towns of the Crete Senesi, such as Buonconvento, San Giovanni d’Asso and Trequanda, which was awarded by the Italian Touring Club with the prestigious Orange Flag. Even the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is a destination that attracts thousands of visitors every year: the imposing monastery, built in 1320, is surrounded by a small forest of pines, oaks and cypresses.

Things to see in the Crete Senesi

The Crete Senesi offer its visitors many relaxing possibilities. Rapolano Terme, for example, has two thermal structures, both immersed in a natural environment: the Terme Antica Querciolaia and the Terme San Giovanni. There are also many exciting events that take place every year, starting from the Festival of the Crete Senesi, a series of concerts and musical performances taking place in Asciano in mid-August. The second Sunday of September, also in Asciano, there’s the Palio of the donkeys: born as a parody of the Palio di Siena, it entertains young and old. The Sunday closest to August 5 the Giostra di Simone, an historical commemoration, takes place in Montisi, while Buonconvento in July offers the Threshing at the walls, to remember the agricultural tradition of the area. The local cuisine is very rich and will complete your experience in the area: the most famous amont the first courses is the pici, a sort of noodles with various sauces, and the acquacotta, a kind of broth, with eggs and Parmesan cheese on a bed of toasted bread. A very special second course is the pollo al mattone, a chicken covered with clay and then cooked on the grill; It can be accompanied by artichokes of Chiusure, which are produced only in the Crete Senesi. Among the desserts, it’s worth mentioning the berriquocoli, made with a soft dough with honey, walnuts and almonds. Also, do not forget that this is the area where the most famous Christmas cakes where invented: Cavallucci, Panforte and Ricciarelli.