Mount Amiata guided tour
Thermal Baths of Bagno Vignoni
Radicofani historic centre
Baths of Bagni San Filippo
Abbadia San Salvatore village
Crypt and Museum of the Abbey
Duration of the tour: 6 hours
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
Mount Amiata, enchantment beyond the Tuscan landscape
Besides the vaunted landscape of Tuscany, that of cypresses and golden fields, there is an area where nature is still wild and barren. From the low altitude of the Val d’Orcia hills, you go up to peaks where you can discover the history of men and their millenary civilization: this what you can discover by Mount Amiata guided tour.
We will start with our route from Bagno Vignoni, a thermal baths village known since Roman times and frequented by eminent personalities such as Saint Catherine of Siena and Lorenzo the Magnificent. Here we visit the space of an ancient tank from which sulphurous water still naturally flows today. What we will be able to see here is a truly enchanting image that did not fail to impress the Russian filmmaker Andrej Tarkovskij who wanted to shoot one of his masterpieces films here: Nostalghia.
From the medieval basin of Bagno Vignoni we will move towards the Parco dei Mulini (mills park), an articulated system of canals that, through the exploitation of the kinetic force of the water that falls in cascade, until a few decades ago allowed the operation of some of the mills in the area, used in the Middle Ages by the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside.
On the road to Radicofani
After visiting Bagno Vignoni, we move on with the Mpunt Amiata guided tour towards the entrenched village of Radicofani, a widely outpost that in the Middle Ages served as an important control point on the ancient path of the Via Francigena. The village, characterized by the dark colours given by basanite – the local volcanic stone –, welcomed among its walls a rebel who came from Siena, a man went down in history with the nickname “Robin Hood of the Val d’Orcia”: Ghino di Tacco. Through the stories I will have to tell you about this almost legendary figure, you will discover why he is remembered with the name of Robin Hood. The monuments that are preserved in Radicofani, such as the San Pietro Pieve, the Sant’Agata church and the Fortress, well explain the nature of this ‘borderland’ and its function as an outpost.
The village of Abbadia San Salvatore
From Radicofani we descend towards the valley – which is the final part of the Val d’Orcia – to reach Bagni San Filippo. Stopping at this other well-known thermal baths site, we will hike through its natural slopes; what we admire here is the so-called White Whale, a rock that has been modelled by sulphurous water spills that, over time, have created a surface similar to a beach which is today frequented by all ones who want to take a bath, encouraged by the hot water that continues to flow from here.
After leaving Bagni San Filippo, we will reach the last stop of our Mount Amiata guided tour: the village of Abbadia San Salvatore. Centre developed in the Middle Ages around the abbey of the same name, Abbadia San Salvatore is one of the most fascinating historical centres in the province of Siena both for its incredibly intact look and for the peculiarity of its buildings that are very reminiscent of the architecture of the upper Lazio – a characteristic due to the proximity to that region.
After visiting the narrow streets of the village, we will go to visit the Abbey church, a building dating back to medieval times which is still today managed by a community of Cistercian monks. Once inside the church, we can admire the beautiful wooden crucifix dating back to the Romanesque age that is one of the most precious artefacts that have been preserved in Tuscany. But the real jewel of this church is wonderful Crypt, a very rare architectural testimony of the Lombard era.
Ghino di Tacco’s monument
The ‘white whale’ of Bagni San Filippo
The ‘forest’ of columns of this evocative environment will take you back to the time when the Benedictine monks – the first community that settled here in the early centuries of the Middle Ages – officiated their rites under these vaults. After visiting the church, we also are able to visit the Abbey Museum where, in addition to precious furnishings, we can admire a faithful copy of one of the illuminating art masterpieces that was found in this monastery: Amiatina Bible.
On the way back home, you will see the blurred line of the horizon: this resembles the indefinite line of time that seems to have stopped on Mount Amiata. This is where nature and history come together, giving you an image of Tuscany that you have never expected.
The Lombard Crypt of Abbadia San Salvatore
The guide is not a tourist agency, therefore he cannot reserve external services (such as tastings or lunches) but only give suggestions or procure the contacts of the services themselves.
The cost of museum tickets (Radicofani Fortress and Abbadia San Salvatore Museum) is not included in the tour fee. In case you do not want to visit the museums, it’s possible to do the tour with an alternative route to the museums.
The guide does not provide transportation service; it is, therefore, necessary to reach each site of the route by its own means of transport.
For organized groups/squadrons, there are drop-off and pick-up points for passengers at each site on the route (click here to view all points on the route).