Mount Amiata guided tour

mount amiata guided tour
  • Thermal Baths of Bagno Vignoni

  • Radicofani historic centre

  • Radicofani Fortress

  • Baths of Bagni San Filippo

  • Abbadia San Salvatore village

  • Crypt and Museum of the Abbey

Duration of the tour: 6 hours
Difficulty: medium
Suitable for children: yes
Disabled’s  Accessibility: no in the Radicofani Fortress and in the Crypt of Abbadia San Salvatore
Difference in level: 80 metres

(Radicofani Fortress)

Mount Amiata, enchantment beyond the Tuscan landscape

Besides the vaunted Tuscany landscape, that of cypresses and golden fields, there is a place in the region where nature is still wild and fascinating in its being difficult to tame; to discover this place you have to leave the low altitude of the Val d’Orcia hills to climb towards peaks where you can discover the history of men and their millenary civilization: all this is what you can discover by the Mount Amiata guided tour.

We begin this beautiful route from Bagno Vignoni, a spa hamlet known since Roman times and frequented by great personalities, such as Santa Caterina da Siena and Lorenzo the Magnificent. Here we will see the famous medieval basin of the village from which, still today, sulphurous water naturally rises; the picturesque aspect of the thermal bath allows you to contemplate a truly enchanting image, which inspires a sense of tranquillity and harmony. The great evocative capacity of the Bagno Vignoni Baths has even inspired the famous Russian filmmaker Andrej Tarkovskij who wanted to film here some scenes of one of his famous Nostalghia. We move to the Parco dei Mulini, a few metres from the basin, where we will be able to observe how worked the articulated system of channels, those that, through the exploitation of the kinetic force of the water coming from the spring basin, allowed the operation of the mills installed here and that were already used in the Middle Ages by the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside.

Radicofani tour

Radicofani Fortress

On the road to Radicofani

After visiting Bagno Vignoni, we continue our Mount Amiata guided tour in the direction of the perched village of Radicofani.

While travelling by car or bus, what will grab your attention will be the almost dreamlike view of a barren landscape, where the grey clay hills, continuously shaped by the erosive action of the wind stand out.

As we get closer to Radicofani, you will notice how quickly we go up in altitude, with the air becoming increasingly rarefied and cold, even if you happen to do this tour in the summer. Radicofani is a village rising 800 meters above sea level. Documented since the Iron Age, thanks to the discovery of finds that attest to the presence of settlements in the area, in the Middle Ages this place was an important control point on the Via Francigena route.

The Fortress of Radicofani

Reaching the village, the first thing you can notice is the dark colour of its buildings; this feature is due to basanite – the local volcanic stone – widely used in both civil and religious constructions. This outpost welcomed within its perched walls a rebel who came from Siena, went down in history as the”Robin Hood of the Val d’Orcia“: the rebel was called Ghino di Tacco. Through the stories I will have to tell you about this almost legendary character, you will discover the reason why he is remembered by this amusing name. The monuments that will be visited in Radicofani, such as the San Pietro church, the Sant’Agata church and the Fortress, are still clear signs of the function as outpost this village had, especially in the times when this was a ‘land border’, disputed by armies, municipalities and lordships.

From Radicofani we move on with the Mount Amiata guided tour, going down to the valley to reach Bagni San Filippo. Stopping at this other well-known termal bath, we can see the so-called White Whale, a sort of rocky sediment formed by the stratifications of the sulphurous water coming out from the springs and which over time has created an image similar to a whale. Encouraged by the hot water that still flowing today, many people stop here to take a bath and relax with friends, especially at the weekends. Leaving Bagni San Filippo, we head to the last stop of our Amiata guided tour: the village of Abbadia San Salvatore.

Ghino di Tacco Radicofani

Ghino di Tacco’s monument, Radicofani

tour montalcino sant'antimo abbey

The white whale of Bagni San Filippo

The picturesque village of Abbadia San Salvatore

Centre developed in the Middle Ages around an important monastery – from which it has taken its current name – Abbadia San Salvatore is today one of the most picturesque villages in the province of Siena. A peculiarity of its historic centre is the architectonic style of the edifices is very reminiscent of the buildings in the Tuscia area – a feature due to the proximity of Abbadia San Salvatore to the area of Upper Lazio.

After visiting the historic centre, still partially enclosed by its ancient walls, we go to visit the San Salvatore Abbey, a building dating back to medieval times and in this day curated by a community of Cistercian monks.

The crypt, a wonder of the Lombard era

Once inside the church, on the main altar we can admire a beautiful wooden crucifix dating back to the Romanesque age, one of the oldest and most precious artefacts that have been preserved in Tuscany. But the real jewel of the church is its wonderful Crypt – dating back to the 8th century –, a very rare architectural testimony of the Lombard era. The ‘forest’ of columns that you will see in this environment of incredible suggestion will bring you back, with your imagination, to the time when the monks officiated religious rites under these vaults, having as light that of candles, as sound that of the songs in Latin and as a perfume that of incense. After visiting the crypt of the church, we can also see the Abbey Museum which, in addition to precious church furnishings, houses a facsimile of a great masterpiece of illuminating art, preserved in this monastery until the end of the eighteenth-century: the Amiatina Bible.

At the end of this Amiata guided tour, shortly after you have left Abbadia San Salvatore, you will see in the distance the blurry horizon line, in all similar to the indefinite timeline that on Monte Amiata seems to have really stopped. This is where nature and history come together, giving you an image of Tuscany that you would have never expected.

Amiatina Bible

Detail of the Amiatina Bible

mount amiata tour

The Lombard Crypt of Abbadia San Salvatore

 

This tour can also be booked in combination with the other available tours on Siena and Florence, which can be consulted in the Menu.

 

The cost of the entrance ticket to the Radicofani Fortress and to the San Salvatore Abbey Museum (in the event you want to visit them) is not included in the tour rate. The access to the other churches is for free.

The guide does not provide transportation service. 

For organized groups/squadrons by tourist coach, there are drop-off/drop-on points for passengers at each site on the route (click here to view the points). 

To get further information about the tour and the museum tickets, to book the tour or to get the contact of a licensed driver providing private transfer service, please write to:

 

info@guidaturistica-michelebusillo.com

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  • Michele Busillo

    Official tourist guide of Florence and Siena
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    To get more information about the visit, to have a quotation of customized itinerary, please contact me at:
    Mail: info@guidaturistica-michelebusillo.com
    Mobile: +39 3332591526

    About me

    My name is Michele Busillo and I am an official tourist guide of Florence and Siena, in Italian, English and Spanish language. I live in Chianti, midway between Florence, the cradle of Renaissance, and Siena, the city of the Palio. I love passing on the others my excitement of my job, accompanying people to discover the beauties and the secrets of Tuscany…

    Copyright © 2018 by Guida Turistica Michele Busillo

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