Southern Tuscany is made up of the provinces of Siena and Grosseto, locally the area is known as the Maremma area. Up into the hills there is a lot of wine production, this is where prestigious wines such as Bolgheri are grown. As you go further into the hills you enter the Alta Maremma, an area that is more mountainous.
If you are staying in Southern Tuscany, you must pay a visit to Saturnia, a famous spa town with soothing natural hot springs. The coastline in this region is mainly visited by Italians. Although the coast is picturesque, the quality of property here isn’t high, so locals tend to drive down and stay elsewhere. Before Tuscany turns into Lazio you will come across Monte Argentario, a tiny rocky island that is still connected to the mainland by a stretch of sand that you can drive over.
Florence and Siena should also be on your list of places to visit. Siena is home to Italy’s only University that does a degree in wine production (Oenology’). It was in the county of Siena where the recipe was developed for Chianti wine, the 300th anniversary of the Chianti association formation will take place this year.
Underneath Siena is the Crete Senesi region, which is characterised by its low rolling hills, lunar landscapes and farmhouses engulfed in mist. ‘Crete’ means ‘craters’, this is because this area has distinctive craters that almost look like craters on the moon.
In this region you will find lots of sheep, because it’s famous for Tuscany’s Pecorino cheese. Pecorino cheese is particularly popular in Pienza, a charming town in the province of Siena. Other stunning hilltop towns you should visit in this region include Montalcino, a town is famous for its Brunello wine, which is the most expensive red in Tuscany.
You should also spend some time in Montepulciano, a medieval town filled with Renaissance palaces and ancient churches.
It’s easy to see why Southern Tuscany is such a popular area to visit, browse through the towns below to find out more.
To outsiders, it’s the prestigious Brunello de Montalcino wine that defines this tiny Tuscan outpost.
From a distance Montalcino looks like a medieval Sienese painting, so little has changed since its heyday. The town is bathed in a russet glow at sunset but changes with the seasons. In spring, the surrounding countryside area is lime green, but yellow rape seed, poppies, sunflowers and grapes soon add different hues. To many, Montalcino is the most Sienese town in the province and the locals are treated with particular respect. Its history is a microcosm of all Sienese history. The town has been known as “the last rock of communal freedom” since its time as the Sienese capital in exile between 1555 and 1559. After the fall of Siena, exiles gathered around the Sienese flag. As a reward, Montalcinesi standard bearers have the pride of place in the procession preceding the Palio in Siena.
Pienza is an exquisite Renaissance doll’s house, almost too perfect for its own good. Pienza’s popularity has been boosted by its Unesco recognition and by its attraction as a film set. More heretically, visitors flock to the town almost as much for its superb array of Pecorino cheeses as for its perfect Renaissance architecture. The future Pope Pius II was born here in 1405. He commissioned Bernardo Rossellino to rebuild the village of his birth as a model Renaissance city. The result is what locals call a città d’autore, a city inspired by one vision. After strolling around Pienza’s city walls for splendid views of Monte Amiata and Val d’Orcia, few can resist retreating to a quaint inn for lunch. Expect Pecorino sheep’s milk cheeses to be on the menu. The scenery around Pienza is equally lovely, with the town framed by chestnuts and cypresses, olive groves, poppies and sunflower fields.Read more
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