Saturday was a beautiful spring day so we decided to take advantage of a sunny free afternoon and took a drive around the hills of Siena.
The landscape is breath taking and photos don’t do it any justice. It’s the exact image of what comes to mind when you think of Tuscany. Long rolling green hills dotted with cyprus trees. You can also the the Crete Senese (“Siena Clays”) which are crater, lunar-like hills.
We headed Southeast from Siena on the SS438 and decided to stop at Vescona to meander through the countryside. We ended up parking our car right by a little barn that was full of sheep. It was a delight to see the little lambs running around the field close by, and on the way back we also saw two horses!
Afterwards, we cut across to the west on the SS73 to see the Abbey of Saint Galgano. The 13th century abbey is no longer functioning, but is particular because of the structure that remains after it was abandoned by the Cistercian monks in the 14th century following disease and destruction. Just 500 meters from the abbey up on a hill is Montesiepi Chapel. The chapel holds Saint Galgano’s sword which he supposedly thrust into the ground after a vision he had on top of the hill and renouncing his ruthless war past and starting his pious hermetic life. The sword melded with the ground becoming the “sword in the stone.”
After paying 3 euros to visit the inside of the abbey we walked up the hill to the chapel and saw the sword in the stone and then we stopped by for an ice cream at the little bar located just below the chapel. We arrived just around sunset and so the lighting was perfect and the sunset was gorgeous on the drive back to Poggibonsi.
If you have an afternoon free I would highly recommend taking a drive around the hills south of Siena. You’ll find yourself wanting to stop multiple times around the way to just take in the view and snap a few photos.