Montalcino is just a five-minute car ride away or half an hour on foot. This old town has its own ancient and prestigious history and sits alongside its medieval fortress atop a hill that overlooks the surrounding vineyards, cultivated fields, and forest. Churches and museums house exquisite collections of art. The narrow and steep streets reveal splendidly aged places, like the Brunello that made them famous. It is a place where tourists blend in with the locals in an elegant and treasured atmosphere which is, at the same time, authentic and traditional.
ABBAZIA DI SANT'ANTIMO
Just a twenty-minute drive from the Borgo stands the most famous Benedictine complex from the Romanesque period, a rest stop for pilgrims along the Via Francigena since the era of Charlemagne. Set in a field surrounded by hills of vineyards and the Mediterranean brush, it is a place for meditation and silence, sometimes only broken by Gregorian chanting. Magical in the morning fog, heavenly at sunset.
It only takes about twenty minutes to reach this charming little town in the Val d’Orcia, whose centre was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beauty. The main square, the buildings, the narrow lanes, the romantic and sweetly Tuscan surroudings, the terraces that look over landscapes and cypress trees. As sacred as its pecorino cheese, an absolute must.
SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA
Just fifteen kilometers from the Wine Relais, San Quirico is a very old town that dates back to Etruscan times, and during the Middle Ages, it was a rest stop for wayfarers along the Via Francigena. Must sees are the fortress walls, the Collegiata and Pieve church, the remains of the Cassero Tower and the Horti Leonini, an amazing sixteenth-century garden that opens onto the main square. Take your own picture of the famous postcard of cypress trees along the way.
Not far from San Quirico, this village dating from Roman times is one of the most beautiful places in the Val d’Orcia, maintaining its magical charm over the centuries, where even today the past steeps in the mist of the hot springs that run free, sulphurous and warm. Popes and kings have soaked in this soft healing water. History and nature in their purest form.
A forty-five minute drive from Canalicchio di Sopra, the biggest event for this city is the Palio that takes place every year on July 2 and August 16 when ten of the seventeen districts called contrade, drawn on a rotation, challenge each other to a medieval horse race in the main square, Piazza del Campo. Before the legendary race, there is a historical parade featuring medieval costumes as well as the jockeys and horses that starts from the Cathedral and weaves its way through the streets of the city. Save the date!
The Tuscan capital can be reached in an hour and fifteen minutes by car where the rest of the day can be spent seeing as much as possible from the Santa Maria Novella church to the Cathedral with its dome by Brunelleschi and bell tower by Giotto. Go shopping old style in the gold shops of Ponte Vecchio or shop for the latest trends along the high streets of fashion around Palazzo Pitti. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes or even buying a pair in the most famous city in the world for leather goods.