It is difficult to define the exact borders of Valdichiana Senese, but its identity is very clear and peculiar. Visitors are welcomed to enjoy all of its facets: a rich history that blurs into legend; the everlasting mystery of the Etruscan civilisation; the therapeutic thermal baths; the renowned wine and food; the elegant architecture; the inimitable natural landscapes. Everything here emanates a sense of total harmony that is the true characteristic trait of this territory.
The first human settlements in the area date back to over 40,000 years ago, but it was the blossoming of the Etruscan civilization that truly left a mark on the territory. The peoples and cultures that came after the Etruscans led to the purest expression of harmonic elegance: the Renaissance. Each village and town, with their wealth of palazzos, churches and monuments, as well as the layouts of the towns themselves, are open-air museums in their own right.
In the countryside, the strong tradition of grapevines has been handed down from generation to generation, improving and evolving over the centuries. The most significant product is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Docg. Today, just like yesterday, it is the Sangiovese vine variety (known locally as the Prugnolo Gentile) that gives the wine its soul: a wine that, after two years aging in barrels, achieves the unmistakable taste, with a strong identity deriving from its terroir.
The variety of local produce that provides the ingredients for traditional recipes is abundant. Let’s start with the ultimate raw material: the grain that produces the perfect kind of flour for making local breads and pastas, such as ‘pici’. The silver olive trees that colour and give shape to the hills produce an exceptional extra virgin olive oil (Terre di Siena Dop and Toscano Igp). The marvellous Vin Santo fortified wine is produced in cellars throughout the entire territory, where the producers, like alchemists, watch over their casks until they are ready to be opened. The aglione (garlic) of the Valdichiana, with bulbs that can weigh up to 800 g, is born here and here continues to be cultivated through traditional techniques. The undisputed king of the valley is our “White Giant”, the Chianina Igp cattle breed that has transformed over the years from a beast of burden into the source of one of the most exquisite meats in the world. A recovery project has led to the revival of another species of pigs that has been celebrated since the Renaissance, the Cinta Senese Dop.
For pleasure or necessity, attending the spas of Valdichiana Senese has a special advantage: being in one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of Tuscany, where everything seems to exist only for the wellness of body, mind, and spirit. If you travel the region from north to south, you will meet Montepulciano first, and the Terme di Montepulciano, with sulphurous saline-bromo-iodic waters rich in carbon dioxide flowing directly from the subsoil of the spa. Continuing southwards, you will find Chianciano Terme: a spa town par excellence, with its four thermal springs that flow naturally in green parks in different areas of the town. At the Sensory Spa of “Parco Acqua Santa”, you can experience 20 wellness experiences; at the thermal water spring “Sillene”, you can find the Thermal Pools “Theia”, with four outdoor and three indoor pools, whose temperature ranges between 91,4 ° F and 96,8 ° F. In your journey to the southern border of the Valdichiana Senese, you will find San Casciano dei Bagni, with the Fonteverde Natural Spa - an exclusive spa with a panoramic view on Val d’Orcia.