Overview of Monte Amiata
Monte Amiata is the highest mountain in Tuscany reaching a height of 1732 m.
It rises between Orcia, Fiora and Paglia’s valleys. The lower slopes are covered by chestnut and beech trees and the higher slopes are grown over with old dark forests. The assorted and wonderful colours make its sight really amazing.
The mountain is a volcanic cone and its last eruption came about 180,000 years ago.
It keeps on stimulate many thermal springs around its base which are feeding well-known thermal hot water bathing towns located in its environment, like Bagno Vignoni and Bagno San Filippo.
In the pre-historic times there was a human settlement on Monte Amiata as demonstrated by the cave painting “Pittura dell’Arciere” founded on its summit.
Nowadays, Monte Amiata is in winter a prestigious ski station. Its grassy slopes offer real 15 ski runs for a total of nearly 20 km. The “Italian Ski School of Monte Amiata”, with more than 30 instructors, offer ski lessons and equipments can there be hired.
In summer it becomes a wonderful place for walking along its paths, with a cool breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, and across its sun wet meadows, while looking to the wonderful panoramic views over the hills and the mediaeval towns located on that area.
Overview of Abbadia San Salvatore
Abbadia San Salvatore is a middle Age, perfect preserved, small town which it most important feature is to be a mountain fortress with Mediaeval, Gothic and Renaissance buildings. It is situated on the eastern slopes of Monte Amiata and Paglia’s valley and in origin it was Benedictine’s feudal, there established in the 8th century by the Longobards, with the same name of the Abbey.
In the 12th century the neighbour territory of the Abbey increased its development under the strict control of the monks. The continuous confrontations between the monks and the powerful Aldobrandeschi feudal family decided them to take over monks’ privileges on the area.
In the 13th century, after a short period of Orvieto’s dominion, the fortress acquired a kind of status of independent community. In the same century, because of the crisis of the Benedictine order, the Pope conceded the Abbey to the Cistercians order. After the legendary battle of Monteaperti, the Republic of Siena conquered Abbadia San Salvatore.
In the 14th century it felt again under the power of Orvieto which finished conceding the fortress to the Aldobrandeschi family.
In the middle period of the 14th century Sienna’s Republic bought the fortress, becoming a Florentine territory in the 16th century.
What to visit:
The historical centre of Abbadia San Salvatore, where the mass of old buildings with tiny windows located in breezing narrow streets will surprise its visitors never knowing what are they going to find going from a street to the next one: maybe, the façade of a tiny church or engraved beams or a splendid view over the countryside.
The Abbey of San Salvatore: a short time after its foundation it became the most important abbey of Tuscany. It was reconstructed into Romanic style in the 11th century. In the 16th century the single interior nave, a characteristic Latin cross, was whole modernized. The
Crypt which lies beneath contains 36 columns with over refined engraved capitals. The Abbey is also housing numerous and rich art works.
Abbadia San Salvatore prides a famous traditional festival, coming back for a thousand years, named “Fiaccole della Notte di Natale”. It took place every Christmas Eve. A torch-lit parade encircled the town. People are bringing torches to light the bonfires while singing Christmas song.
Main Towns of Valdorcia
Radicofani, Sarteano, Cetona,
San Quirico D'Orcia,
Bagni San Filippo,
Abbadia and Monte Amiata
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