Historical outline

Places with particular historical and artistical interest in the surroundings:

Click to enlarge Siena - 18 km/11 miles far from Podere Incrociati; you can go to the marvellous town looking for museums, parks, fountains, games, and shows. The whole town is a museum with the charming Piazza del Campo dominated by the Gothic Tower of Mangia.

Click to enlarge San Gimignano - the so called "Città dalle belle torri", the Town with the Beautiful Towers, in the heart of the Tuscan country, is a unique example of Medieval town, still perfectly preserved. Its urban structure has invaluable environmental, historical, artistic and scenery qualities.

Click to enlarge Abbazzia di San Galgano - toward Follonica there's a landscape characterized by uncommon solitude: the ruins of San Galgano, which was once one of the most beautiful Gothic Cistercian abbeys of Italy.

Click to enlarge Volterra - a town rich in works of art, it can document 3000 years of human history thanks to its monuments.

Colle di Val d'Elsa - 26 km/16 miles far from Podere Incrociati - the so called "Città del Cristallo", the Town of Crystal; it is a picturesque Medieval town.

Casole d'Elsa - 18 km/11 miles far from Podere Incrociati - it has Etruscan origins. It is still possible to see the stronghold, the church of Santo Spirito, the ancient Town Hall, the collegiate church of Santa Maria Assunta, the church of San Pietro and San Niccolò, and the Casolari-Berlinghieri-Scheggi palace.

Larderello - this is the area where the fumaroles are. Thanks to the underground heat coming to surface it is possible to produce electricity for Larderello and its surroundings. The impressive, complex conduit system spreads on the area like a cobweb, and it resembles some sort of modern work of art, bringing the vapours of the boric acid from the underground to enormous turbines to convert them to thermoelectricity. The cooled water, still containing boron, is re-used afterwards for chemical purposes.

Click to enlarge Monteriggioni 25 km/15 miles far from Podere Incrociati - it is an ancient settlement with Etruscan and Roman evidence. The impressive fortress is 500 m. / 1640 ft. long and its walls are 20 m. / 66 ft. in height, reinforced by 14 towers; it was a Sienese stronghold useful in the struggle against the hostile Florence.

Castellina in Chianti - 40 km/25 miles far from Podere Incrociati - this place has human evidence since the VII century b.C.; archeological researches are still going on.

La montagnola senese extends in the districts of Siena, Monteriggioni, Sovicille and Casole d'Elsa, but for the most part it is located in the district of Sovicille. There is a varied landscape: woods cover the hills and fields spread out in the plains. In this area there are lots of ancient human settlements, as prehistorical evidence shows: Stone Age evidence in Personata, in the Spino plain and Brenna; Bronze Age evidence in Cetinale, Partena, Montarrenti and on the Poggio di Siena Vecchia. Several Etruscan settlements have been discovered:Luco Valley, Poggio alla Piana, Ancaiano, Cetinale, Partena and Toiano. Roman evidence has been found in Stigliano, Rosia, Palazzone, Poggio Luco near Malignano, Barontoli, Simignano, Toiano and Sovicille. Traces of Byzantine and Longobard settlements are in Filetta, Caggio di Sovicille and Orgia. During the XII-XIII century several churches were built, among which the parish church of Pernina, Molli, S.Giusto a Valli, San Lorenzo martire, S.Maria di Ponte allo Spino, teh parish church of Rosia and San Lorenzo martire. In the same period some towers (Palazzone di Sovicille and Palazzaccio di Toiano), castles (Celsa, Montarrenti, Cerreto Selva e Palazzo al Piano) were built, too. Several ancient villages and churches are really charming; among the first ones there is the XII century white fortress of Monteriggioni, with its boundary wall reinforced with 14 square towers. Among the second ones: the wonderful parish churches of Radicondoli, Ponte allo Spino in Sovicille, San Giovanni in Rosia, the Augustinian hermitage of Lecceto, and finally the original complex of Abbadia Isola, a medieval village built in 1001 around the Cistercian Abbey of San Salvatore. In the area of Montagnola Senese there are several buildings and other structures that are worth to be visited, such as:

Ampugnano - village that rises near the airport. The buildings still have their ancient medieval structure; a charming small church, the well in the main square and the one behind the church remind the visitor of the old way of living.

Ancaiano - this place was already inhabited in the first period of the Bronze Age. The existing church is dedicated to San Bartolomeo and it was built in Renaissance-style in 1660, thanks to Pope Alessandro VII Chigi. The church is aisless, it is on the plan of a Latin cross and at the end there is an apse with projecting transept.

Capraia - the castle of Capraia stands upon a craggy hill. The Ardengheschi Family had this castle built in order to protect their estate, when Siena had their previous castle of Orgia destroyed. Rumors said that it was impregnable because of its three boundary walls and because it stands upon a rocky hill. In 1100-1250 the Republic of Siena and the Ardengheschi Family contended this castle, then several owners succeded, till the last noble family that arrived here on the 24th September 1554; all the Family members were slain together with all the inhabitants of the village by the Marquis of Marignano's troops. The Marquis had an agreement with the Medici Family, according to which he had besieged Siena, that was nearly surrendering. Nowadays it is possible to see the tower that has been recently restored by the current owners.

Celsa - the first informations about the castle date back to the 1st August 1344. The Celsi Family, who owned the castle, had it rebuilt in order to transform it in a villa according to Baldassarre Peruzzi's plans, who also conceived the gardens. Nowadays it is possible to see only the southern tower of the previous building.

Cetinale - near this place Etruscan findings have been discovered: they date back to the IX-VIII century b.C.; Cardinal Flavio Chigi (Pope Alessandro's VII nephew) had the villa built in 1680, according to the architect Carlo Fontana's plan. Since the beginning of the XVIII century there was a renowned ceramics and majolica factory. Above the villa there is a hermitage; a sacred path called "scala santa" (holy stairs), 500 m. / 0,31 miles long, leads to this charming place. The Blessed Chigi had this building built in 1716 in order to give hospitality to the Coenobite monks, who took care of ill people.

Malignano - Some documents written before the year 1000 mention the castle of Malignano. There is an oratory dedicated to the Archangel Michael; in this place the Ardengheschis and the Republic of Siena subscribed some agreements. In 1259 the village was burnt and destroyed by the Florentine troops.

Molli - the first documents about the parish church date back to 1078; on 2nd February the countess Matilde of Canossa gave the Bishop of Volterra this church as a donation, however, according to some researches into the walls, it could have been built during the Longobard period or the Frankish one. It is a church with nave and two aisles; the altar has been rebuilt, probably by using the stones of the bell-tower destroyed by a lightning in 1930. The front has a symmetrical structure and has been probably rebuilt in the first years of the XVIII century.

Montarrenti - the charming castle stands upon a craggy hill (345 m. / 1132 ft. high); the first informations about the castle date back to 1156.

Museo del bosco - (Museum of the Woods) this is an ethnographic museum where it is possible to admire some evidence of human life and work in the woods. It is in Orgia, a village of Etruscan origins, composed of some buildings that stand upon several hills.

Palazzaccio - ancient fortified building of the Republic of Siena. In 1333 the village was burnt by the troops of Pisa; it is still possible to see the damages, as the building has never been cleaned nor rebuilt.

Palazzo al Piano - it has Medieval origins and stands at a height of about 430 m. / 1416 ft.

Pernina - the old parish church of Santa Maria in Pernina stands at a height of about 499 m. / 1637 ft.; it dates back to the XII century. The bell-tower, on a square plan, is about 22 m. / 72,4 ft. in height and it stands in front of the church.

Personata - this small deconsecrated church, dedicated to Santa Margherita, has ancient origins, probably Etruscan origins, but the first informations date back to the XIII century.

Pieve di ponte allo Spino - this church already existed in 1050 and it was a halting-place along the road that linked the "Via Cassia" to the "Via Aurelia". Under the courtyard some precious mosaics of the Roman Empire Age have been found; they were part of a large Roman villa. The entrance of the church is interesting, as you have to go down some steps to enter the church. It consists of a building with nave and two aisles and it was built in late Romanesque French style, that is quite similar to the Gothic style. The capitals are gracefully decorated with human figures and geometrical ornaments.

Ponte della Pia - (Pia's Bridge) it is the most charming bridge of this area. In Etruscan times an ancient road crossed it; the bridge linked the Merse Valley to the Maremma Toscana. The bridge has probably Roman origins and it has been rebuilt during the Middle Ages in Romanic style. According to some legends, the beautiful Pia, Nello d'Inghiramo de' Pannocchieschi's sorrowful wife, crossed this bridge to go into exile in Maremma, at Castello della Pietra. Dante Alighieri, too, wrote about this legend (Divine Commedy, "Purgatorio", Canto V).

San Giusto a Valli - the first informations about this parish church date back to 994; it originally had a nave and two aisles, but nowadays there are just two aisles, because of an intense intervention made in the XV century. The beautiful church well dates back to the XII-XIII century; it was built by using semicircular limestone blocks.

Simignano - it stands at a height of about 410 m. / 1345 ft. along the road that goes from Ancaiano to Pievescola; it has uncertain origins, but it probably dates back to the Roman Age. The first informations date back to 1163, when it was subdued by Siena. The beautiful, small church is dedicated to San Magno and it has a wonderful bell-tower, which is simple but graceful.

Torri - small Medieval village, where the Abbey of Santa Mustiola is, which was built in the XII century and has a wonderful cloister.

The small villages of Tonni, Toiano, Tegoia and Abbadia Isola are really charming: they have stayed as they were, and here time seems to have stopped.