Castel del Piano
is just a short drive away for stocking up on essentials, including fresh fruit and veg, delicious bread. Enjoy a coffee with the locals at the Bar Corsini, and perhaps indulge in one of their tempting pastries!
The Val d’Orcia
The house lies on the edge of the Orcia valley, recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site and home to some absolutely stunning scenery. It covers a fairly large area between Siena and Grosseto with Pienza, Montalcino, Castiglione d'Orcia and San Quirico d'Orcia being the principal towns, with many beautiful Renaissance buildings to admire.
Not just a lovely hilltop town, but also a great place to do some wine tasting! The surrounding vineyards produce the famous Brunello di Montalcino wines, made predominantly from Sangiovese grapes. Sample a few and bring a couple of bottles back to enjoy at the villa!
- a must do on anyone's list, and an easy day trip from Tenuta Il Patriarca. One of the finest cities in Italy, with an enchanting centre where plenty of shops and cafés line the narrow streets. At the heart of the city is the unique Piazza del Campo, the shell-shaped slanting square - a perfect place for a coffee, and the venue for the famous Palio race which takes place on 2nd July and 16th August - depending on your point of view, these are either great days to visit, or days to avoid Siena! Whilst in the piazza, climb the 400+ steps to the top of the Torre del Mangia where you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the city.
The walled town of Montepulciano
is a Renaissance gem on top of a steep hill, the impressively intact walls encircling a web of narrow cobbled streets lined with historic stone buildings. It is also home to the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano wines. Situated under the Palazzo Tarugi and Palazzo Sinatti (two of the oldest buildings in the town) is the Talosa Cellar. Take a tour of these 16th century cellars which include an Etruscan tomb and then enjoy tasting these renowned wines or try the Cantina Contucci just off the Piazza Grande, where you can view how the city's jail was converted into a wine cellar.
Pienza - city of cheese!
This charming village is widely known as the "ideal city of the Renaissance", the creation of the great humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini who later became Pope Pius II. Pienza is also the city of cacio, which means cheese! The Pecorino from Pienza is a tasty cheese made from sheep's milk, renowned worldwide and delicious. The streets are full of small charming shops selling pecorino and other typical local products such as fine wines, spices, and pici (handmade pasta). We recommend stopping and tasting!
Over to the east in Umbria lies Lake Trasimeno, Italy’s fourth largest lake. There are various restaurants around the lake and eight public beaches with good facilities. For watersport enthusiasts, there are sailing schools at Castiglione and Passignano, windsurfing at Magione and waterskiing at Castiglione and Tuoro. You can also take a boat trip out to the Isola Maggiore in the middle of the lake.
is the only volcano in Tuscany, considered a holy mountain by the Etruscans. The surrounding area is a protected natural park which has designated paths and trails for walking and cycling, and it also a great place for spotting birds and other wildlife.
Within the Monte Amiata park mentioned above, the ‘Indiana Park Amiata’ will delight children (and adults!), with its rope swings and zip wires through the trees! There are different routes depending on your age/height… and bravery level! Minimum age/height for the easiest route is 6 years old and 1.2m tall. Take a picnic, or dine at the Le Macinaie restaurant.
is available nearby at Seggiano or Arcidosso - saddle up and take in the local scenery at a leisurely pace.
Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore
This Benedictine monastery is nestled in a tranquil and peaceful spot surrounded by thick forest. You can visit the three cloisters (decorated in beautiful frescos), the Pharmacy and the Library (which holds over 40,000 restored pamphlets and parchments) or listen to Gregorian chants sung by the monks at mass.
Fortress of Radicofani
Due east lies the tiny village of Radicofani, noted for its fortress built high on the top of the hill and which makes an impressive sight. A narrow warren of streets and houses leads up to the fortress, from where there is an incredible view towards Lake Bolsena and Lake Trasimeno. Radicofani is also known for being the base of the outlaw ‘Ghino di Tacco’, a Robin Hood type figure who appeared in both ‘Inferno’ by Dante and ‘Decameron’ by Boccaccio.
In an area not noted for its rivers and water, the southern part of Tuscany nevertheless boasts numerous thermal springs, deriving their heat from the volcanic origins of Monte Amiata. The most well-known springs are at Castiglione d’Orcia, Chianciano Terme, Montepulciano, San Casciano dei Bagni and San Quirico d’Orcia. It is widely held that the mineral waters have curative and therapeutic properties... and few would dispute that wallowing in warm water is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon!
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