Le Crete Senesi
Like the waves of the sea
The Crete Senesi area extends South-East of Siena and includes the municipalities of Trequanda, Montalcino, Buonconvento, Asciano, Monteroni d’Arbia and Rapolano Terme.
The name Crete Senesi cames from the clay present in the soil that gives the landscape a characteristic blue-gray color often referred to as lunar.
Another typical conformation of this area are the gullies, the crags and the biancane that extend into the semi-arid areas of this territory known as the Accona Desert.
The landscape is formed by a succession of hills that recall the undulatory movement of the sea, interspersed with isolated oaks and cypresses that alternate with farms on the heights of the hills, stretches of wood and valleys that welcome the famous fontoni of the reservoirs to collect water rain.
In addition to the many typical villages, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, founded in the fourteenth century on the initiative of San Bernardo Tolomei, is certainly worth a visit in the Crete Senesi area.
The name of this pretty village comes from the Latin Bonus Conventus which means lucky place; the small town overlooks the Via Cassia, is part of the Crete Senesi district and is the most important centre of the Val d'Arbia, thanks also to the presence of the podesteria, which includes thertytwo localities. It take also part of the Borghi più belli d'Italia (the most beautiful villages in Italy) and is definitely worth a visit thanks to the numerous churches, castles and prestigious buildings.
Buonconvento is also famous for the legend linked to the death of Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg, according to which the sovereign was poisoned by a local friar during communion, and died shortly after along the Via Cassia.
The historic city centre is surrounded by a Sienese wall dating back to the fourteenth century that enclosed it entirely, with only two openings protected by sturdy wooden doors and iron railings: Porta Senese in the North and Porta Romana in the South, the latter destroyed in 1944 by the retreating Germans soldiers.
The village remained intact for centuries, thanks also to the protection of the city walls, the town underwent major transformations in 1800 with the construction of many buildings right next to the walls such as the Teatro dei Risorti.
One of the most interesting events in the area is the Sagra della Valdarbia which is held annually in the third and fourth weekend of September; this festival has fifty-year origins and was born as a Chianina meat festival.
Buonconvento is 40 minutes from Cignella Resort.
Brunello and more
Montalcino, thanks to the Brunello wine, famous all over the world, is perhaps one of the best known towns in the Crete Senesi area.
The municipal territory, the largest in the province of Siena, is characterized by a succession of hills almost entirely covered with vineyards, and in particular with Sangiovese grapes, which according to the rules of a strict disciplinary, give life to one of the best Italian wines, the Brunello di Montalcino.
Its strategic position, which overlooks the Orcia river and the ancient Via Francigena, a very important area already in the Etruscan and Roman times, have made it acquire the structure of a military city, with a large fortress on the top of the hill and a perimeter structure with large defensive walls and towers.
The fortress is just one of the numerous buildings of great architectural interest, which together the numerous churches, such as the abbey of Sant'Antimo, the Madonna del Soccorso or the Pieve di San Michele Arcangelo, attract tourists throughout the vast municipal area.
In the heart of the historic centre, among cobbled streets, alleys and little squares, it is also possible to visit the Palazzo dei Priori and the cathedral dedicated to the Santissimo Salvatore.
Finally, you cannot visit this town without a stop in a wine bar or in one of the many wineries in the area, where you can discover and taste the many facets of local wines and buy a few bottles to make a precious gift to friends or take the memory of your holiday with you.