(all destinations are within 1 hour’s
drive from La Colonica and many are nearer)
Leave your car at the small station of
Castiglion Fiorentino and take the train to Florence, leaving
and returning every hour; less than 1
hour’s journey. Avoid the traffic problems in Florence!
TOUR TWO: SIENA.
Siena is about 40 minutes away by car,
driving through magical country side. Easy parking. Siena has
the famous horse-race, Il Palio, and is perfectly preserved.
The Cathedral is spectacular.
(shorter): CORTONA AND LAKE TRASIMENO. Drive
to CASTIGLION FIORENTINO. Continue to CORTONA.
Excellent restaurants at Cortona including OSTERIA del TEATRO
and IL GROTTINO (both in centre). You can visit the
beautiful Franciscan monastery Le Celle. You could return
from Cortona via Foiano, and stop just before Foiano to admire
Abbey of Farneta. At Foiano and Cortona, there are
TOUR THREE (longer):
From Cortona continue to Camucia, Terontola,
Tuoro for Lake Trasimeno. Avoid highway and take ordinary
road to Castel Rigone, Monte del Lago, Magione, Panicale,
Castiglione del Lago. This route will take you all
round the lake. From Passignano, Tuoro or Castiglion del
Lago, there is a ferry service to the two small islands on the
LUCIGNANO AND MONTE SAN SAVINO. Drive
to LUCIGNANO. See the Church La Collegiata. From
Lucignano, take road to MONTE SAN SAVINO. At Monte
San Savino, drive up the hill to the town centre. See the
Loggiato in the main street (the post office is there) and just
opposite it is the Town Hall or Comune. You can enter the
Town Hall and walk straight through into the marvellous garden
and amphitheatre. Near Monte San Savino is the Castle
of Gargonza. Two pleasant places to lunch/dine near
Monte San Savino are the Belvedere and Castello di Gargonza
(both on road to Siena, a few miles outside Monte San Savino;
both are well sign-posted).
TOUR FIVE (shorter):
MONTEPULCIANO AND PIENZA. Drive to
Lucignano. Continue through Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena
and then follow signs to MONTEPULCIANO (wonderful for
wine). From Montepulciano, drive to PIENZA (very
good for lunch, cheese-shops etc).
TOUR FIVE (longer):
Then from Pienza, drive to SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA.
BAGNO VIGNONI, a Roman thermal spring, with thermal heated
swimming pool etc at the Hotel (very good for virtually all
muscular complaints and great fun!). Near Bagno Vignoni on
the way back to Pienza is MONTICHIELLO, a tiny and pretty
hill village (there is a very nice coffee and tea-shop on left
as you enter walled village).
ABBEY OF MONTE OLIVETO. Suggested route is: Lucignano,
Rigomagno, Serre di Rapolano, Asciano.
This is a very scenic route and goes through the lunar landscape
known as the Crete Senesi. MONTE OLIVETO
MAGGIORE, the Monastery (closed between 12 and 3) has
wonderful frescoes and is located in a spectacular
setting. There is also a good restaurant in the garden.
FOUR MAGICAL VILLAGES. We
recommend this itinerary as it is a way to get to see little
Tuscan villages which are really off the beaten path. They
are about 30 minutes away from La Colonica.
Suggested route is: Lucignano, Sinalunga.
At Sinalunga, drive straight through and
immediately past the hotel Taverna dell’Amorosa (yellow signs),
you will see a sign to the right for Castelmuzio.
Follow this road and arrive first at Petroio (small hill
village; terracotta museum). Continue to Castelmuzio
(worth walking around) and then on to Montisi. At
Montisi there is a very good road-side restaurant which serves
light lunches out of doors (it has a large mural outside).
As you walk around Montisi,, you will note that like Siena, it
is divided into quarters – the famous contrade. It
has an upper section which is worth visiting. On your way
La Colonica, you can visit
Trequanda, described as the village where time has stopped!
MONTALCINO. Suggested route is:
Lucignano-Sinalunga-Trequanda-Montisi-San Giovanni d’Asso-Torrenieri
and MONTALCINO. Thisis a very
beautiful drive. Wine shops everywhere and vineyards. Near
Montalcino is SANT’ANTIMO, a famous and very beautiful
monastery (where the film The English Patient was
partly filmed). The nearby village of Castelnuovo dell'Abate is
very pretty. Reccomended restaurant in Montalcino: Osteria di
Porta al Cassero.
TOUR NINE: AREZZO,
SANSEPOLCRO. Drive direction
AREZZO (Piazza Grande – antiques and churches).
From Arezzo, take direction SANSEPOLCRO. On way
there or back, it is possible to take quick side trips from main
Anghiari and Monterchi. This is also
known as the “PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA TRAIL” as each
town has paintings by this painter.
TOUR TEN: CASENTINO, CAMALDOLI,
VALLOMBROSA, LA VERNA. Suggested route is
Arezzo-Bibbiena-Poppi etc. The Casentino is a lovely wooded
hilly area, and has some very attractive small towns. This
area is completely unspoiled. Not far away is Il Borro,
former Royal residence of Their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of
Aosta, now open to the public with pretty shops etc.
place to stop for lunch is at Il Poggio, in
the unspoilt village of Chitignano.
Further on are the world-famous
monasteries of Camaldoli, Vallombrosa
La Verna. There are marvellous woods
and valleys all around: e.g. from Rassina to Loro Ciuffenna via
TOUR ELEVEN: PERUGIA,
Suggested route: Drive to
Foiano. At Foiano, follow signs for Perugia
(high way). In Perugia, take road to Assisi.
Other interesting towns are Gubbio, Deruta
Spello, Spoleto (home of the famous music festival)
and Montefalco (famous for its Sagrantino red wine).
DESIGNER OUTLET STORES: In
this area, about 30 minutes from La Colonica,
there are the factory outlet discount stores of PRADA, GUCCI,
FENDI, ARMANI, DOLCE & GABBANA. They offer very
substantial discounts. We are happy to give you printed
directions as to how to get there.
Several famous thermal
spas are nearby:
Rapolano Terme (15 minutes)
MARKET DAYS (MORNINGS):
MONDAY: FOIANO DELLA CHIANA
WEDNESDAY: MONTE SAN SAVINO, CASTIGLIONE DEL LAGO
THURSDAY: LUCIGNANO, CAMUCIA
FRIDAY: CASTIGLION FIORENTINO
SATURDAY: AREZZO, CORTONA
THE ANTIQUES FAIR IN AREZZO TAKES PLACE ON THE FIRST
SUNDAY OF THE MONTH (STARTS ON FRIDAY EVENING AND
CONTINUES SATURDAY AND SUNDAY). AREZZO, MONTE SAN SAVINO AND
CORTONA HAVE NUMEROUS ANTIQUE SHOPS.
EACH VILLAGE AND TOWN HAS LOCAL FEASTS: PLEASE INQUIRE
FOR DETAILS. THE BIGGEST ONE IS THE MAGGIOLATA HELD
EVERY WEEKEND IN MAY IN LUCIGNANO. In 2003, THE FAMOUS
HORSE-RACE IN SIENA, THE PALIO, IS HELD IN EARLY JULY AND
EACH TOWN/VILLAGE OFTEN HAS OPEN-AIR CONCERTS AND OTHER MUSICAL
EVENTS. CORTONA USUALLY HAS A FEW OPEN-AIR OPERAS, AND
THERE IS A CONCERT FESTIVAL IN MONTE SAN SAVINO.
© La Colonica 2009 - all rights