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From vineyards to the extinct volcano

From the home of Brunello wine to the slopes of monte Amiata

Abbazia di Sant'Antimo - Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Municipality of Montalcino
Vivo d'Orcia, Municipality of Castiglion d'Orcia
about 20 km
3 and a half - 4 hours
This itinerary is easily travelled in one day. We recommend checking the state of the waterways to be crossed, especially if it has rained recently


This short but spectacular itinerary descends from the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo, surrounded by silence and Brunello vineyards, then climbs up the pristine slopes of Monte Amiata, an ancient extinct volcano. The trip ends up in Vivo d'Orcia, one of the most well-conserved and verdant localities in Tuscany, charged with energy from the volcano and blessed with the ascetic atmosphere of its woodlands.


1° Leg

Distance: about 20 km
Duration: 3 and a half - 4 hours

This itinerary travels over some of the higher peaks in Terre di Siena. From the vineyards that run seamlessly down the slopes of Montalcino we ride downhill toward the Asso and Orcia waterways, to then climb up the shady green slopes of Monte Amiata, a venerable extinct volcano. This brief journey is also a voyage into spirituality that departs from the impressive Abbazia di Sant'Antimo, a paragon of stability amidst the rolling hills of Terre di Siena. It concludes in the intimate isolation of Vivo d'Orcia, adorned with ancient springs and the remains of a ruined Camaldolese hermitage. In the 12th century St. Romualdo had chosen to build his hermitage in Vivo, which he described as "Wild and magnificent - a little highland at the point where the beech forests and chestnut forests meet, with a few level metres near a winding ravine, where two gushing springs of icy water thunder forth". From the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo we proceed toward the hamlet of Bassomondi, then continue on the road for Casalta until we reach the farm of the same name. We cross the Siena-Monte Antico railroad tracks by passing over a tunnel, and then take on two crossings: the first over the Asso stream, which is deeper than it looks; the second over the Orcia river, which we cross opposite the Scarceta farm, where we then arrive by riding up a series of paths. The climb up toward the Strada Provinciale del Monte Amiata is cadenced by the Montelaccio, Finocchieto and Capanna farm-houses we pass along the way. The itinerary continues on this asphalted road as far as Madonna delle Querce, and then turns right along the aqueduct that supplies Siena with pure water from Monte Amiata. The final stretch leads to one of the most memorable spots on the mountain - the hermitage in Vivo d'Orcia. In addition to the Camaldolese hermitage itself, Vivo surprises visitors with its impressive fortified Renaissance palazzo attributed to Antonio Sangallo il Giovane. This is an enchanting place, with a double row of farmhouses and the remains of ruined artisan workshops along the river. Just opposite the palazzo, the church of San Pietro displays a façade in trachyte stone bearing the crest of the Cervini di Montepulciano family, the powerful local nobility.


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