Borgo dé Brandi is located in the very heart of the most spectacular and authentic Tuscany. It is a perfect starting point to go to and explore the magnificent cities of art, precious gems of this enchanting territory.
Whatever you are interested in, we guarantee you will find plenty to enjoy in the region around Borgo de Brandi.
Four out of the seven Tuscan sites enlisted in the Unesco World Heritage are in this area: Siena, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and the Val d’Orcia. Nearby there are Chianti Classico, Volterra, Crete Senesi…. the tiny villages and the Romanesque churches scattered in the countryside, castles, hermitages, the many summer festivals, arts and crafts and the delicious local food and wine, so tasty that the Tuscan people had to create an unsalted bread!
Via Francigena (Francigena road) is a historical road, that dates back to the year 900. Pilgrims, tradesmen, kings and emperors, walked it through centuries and it stretches out a few steps from Borgo dé Brandi. It is an easy route that can be walked by grown-ups and kids, for short or longer hikes.
Borgo dé Brandi is located in the countryside, a car is necessary to reach it. When planning to travel by plane or train, we suggest you to rent a car at destination airport or train station.
From North, take the A1 motorway direction Rome, take the Firenze Impruneta exit and follow the four lanes road (Superstrada) direction Siena. Turn off at the Monteriggioni exit.
At the first roundabout, take the second exit direction Monteriggioni and go on for about 1km, then turn right onto the non-paved road following the signs “Borgo dé Brandi” for 500 mts.
From South, take the A1 motorway direction Milan, take the Bettolle/Siena/Valdichiana exit and follow the signs to Siena. Then take the four lanes road (Superstrada) direction Firenze and turn off at the Monteriggioni exit.
At the first roundabout, take direction Monteriggioni and go on for about 1km, then turn right onto the non-paved road following the signs “Borgo dé Brandi” for 500 mts.
For GPS devices:
Lat: 43°38’10.60″ N – Lon: 11°22’97.56″ E
At the main train station in Florence (Santa Maria Novella or SMN), we suggest you to rent a car and follow the road for Firenze/Siena. Take the Firenze Impruneta exit and follow the four lanes road to Siena, following the above directions as for “By car” info.
Florence airport “Amerigo Vespucci” (Peretola) is located about 55 kms from Borgo dé Brandi. Rent a car at the airport and take the A11 motorway following directions Firenze/Pisa Nord. After 1 km, turn right on A1 directions Bologna-Roma-Firenze Nord. From here, follow directions as for the above “By car” info
Pisa airport “Galileo Galilei” is located about 100 kms from Borgo dé Brandi. Rent a car at the airport and take the four lanes road (SGC) FI-PI-LI direction Firenze, turn off at the « Ponte a Elsa » exit then follow the signs to Siena and the above info “By car”.
|San Gimignano||25km||35 min|
|Nearest train station (Poggibonsi)||18km|
|Nearest bus station (Monteriggioni)||2km|
Watching the castle from the distance of a gentle hill top, Monteriggioni looks like it turned out of a fairy tale, or out from a costume drama about knights and crusaders.
As a matter of fact, Monteriggioni castle was a solid, walled-in reality since the second half of the 13th Century, by will of the Siena Republic as defense against its mighty enemy, Florence. How many battles in and out these walls!
Chianti is a world famous region celebrated for its landscape, castles and for its prized wines, which production started back in the 13th Century. The three towns of the Ancient League of Chianti are Castellina, Radda and Gaiole, in the province of Siena.
Castellina is only 16 km from Borgo de Brandi. Its characteristic piazza is crossed by Via delle Volte, a covered alley that had military security functions.
Just out of town, you can explore an interesting Etruscan necropolis at Fonterutoli.
Radda is also very charming, with its castle and Podestà Palace. Find an array of cafés, restaurants and wine shops where to taste fabulous wines and specialties such as local cold cuts, cheese and truffle sauce. Around Gaiole there are magnificent castles such as Brolio, Meleto, Ama, and the tiny charming village of Vertine.
On the Florentine side of Chianti, the two lovely towns of Greve and Panzano. You will be thrilled with your Chianti tour!
Since its first prehistorical and Etruscan installations, later Commune in the Middle Age, every stone of the world famous “Middle Age Manhattan” is soaked in history. It was a free Commune until the Plague of 1348 that decimated its population, and then subdued to Florence. Its towers (72 in the 14th Century, 13 nowadays) have seen battles, glory and conquests. The cathedral is just beautiful, holding magnificent frescoes depicting the Old and the New Testaments (XIV Century) and the beatiful Chapel of Santa Fina from the Renaissance. Sant’Agostino church is also remarkable, with its frescoes and sculpures by many artists from XIV TO XVI centuries. In this church, a Mass in English is celebrated every Sunday at 11,00 a.m.
Mighty shrine of art and architecture treasures, where the major Sienese School artists worked from 13th for over two centuries. So many different historical ages, from the Romans to the Etruscans and then the Republican glory, have made this town unique in the world. Siena is also seat of one of the oldest banks and univeristies, one of the oldest hospitals in the world, founded in the 10th Century to host pilgrims (the Via Francigena ran right through town), orphans and the poor, and now refurbished into a marvellous museum. Siena is a town of wonder and excellence that gives liberally its beauty, as you can read on the top of Porta Camollia: “Cor magis tibi Sena pandit” (=Siena gives you its big heart). Here you will also find a vaste choice of excellent restaurants, cafés, and quality shopping.
Val d’Orcia could be described as “a landscape of the soul”. Here you can touch the harmony between art and nature, natural and human space, that wise men worked on and designed in the Renaissance, people who lived in harmony with their land. This wonder is perfectly depicted in the famous fresco “Allegory and effects of the good government” by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1338/39 Palazzo Pubblico, Siena).
Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia are the five beautiful municipalities that created the Val d’Orcia Park, to preserve its environment and promote its beauty. Bagno Vignoni, Rocca d’Orcia, Bagni San Filippo, Radicofani and the stunning Abbazia di San ‘Antimo are also wonderful gems to discover in this fascinating territory.
Tuscany is one of regions in Italy where you can find the largest number of thermal springs. The region around Siena is particularly rich of thermal waters, known and used also in the Roman age. The thermal springs closer to Borgo de Brandi are “L’Antica Querciolaia” and “Terme di San Giovanni” both in Rapolano Terme (46 km). But also Bagni di Petriolo is a beautiful spring, with its sulphurous hot water that flows into the Farma stream, tucked in the lush nature of the Natural Reserve of Alto Merse. You won’t believe your eyes seeing the stunning XVI Century thermal bath in Bagno Vignoni, where Santa Caterina, Pope Pio II and Lorenzo il Magnifico bathed centuries ago. Other fascinating springs are Fosso Bianco (=white ditch) and Balena Bianca (=White whale) in Bagni San Filippo, and Bagno Grande (=big bath) in San Casciano dei Bagni. Real treasures to be discovered.
Magic and mysterious town, deep rooted in three thousand years of history.
Of every time of human civilization, here you can find the signs of cultures that made this town unique. Volterra is one of the capital towns of the Etruscan civilization.
From that time, the town walls are still there, the imposing Porta all’Arco, the necropolis and the many archeologic finds displayed at the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum. The Vallebona Theatre remind us of the importance of the Roman age in Volterra. But the real frame of this town comes from the Medieval time, not only in the inner walls, but also in the urban lay-out, such as its narrow streets, its palazzos, the towers and churches. The Renaissance touches Volterra in a remarkable way, without altering its medieval atmosphere. From this time are the superb palaces, the imposing Medicean fortress, San Girolamo convent. Nearby these monuments, the view widens onto a spectacular landscape over the valley below. Here you can taste a lifestyle that’s still human, authentic, and discover a unique local handicraft; alabaster, a stone that dates back to 6 million years, manufactured and used by the Etruscan themselves, and still coming from the nearby quarries.
SAN GALGANO ABBEY
Between Siena and Massa Marittima lie the fascinating ruins of San Galgano Abbey, one of the most unique samples of gothic-cisternians architecture in Italy. The abbey was built to honour San Galgano, former Galgano Guidotti, a noble knight who retired on the Montesiepi hill to become a hermit and repent of his sins. He died there in 1181. The bishop ordered to build the chapel that was completed a few years later and frescoed by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
The magnificent abbey was built between 1220 and 1268 by will of bishop Ildebrando Pannocchieschi, and soon became one of the most powerful cisternian monastery until the XIV Century. The famine in 1328, the plague in 1348, the many ravages decimated the monks community, who definitely abandoned the monastery in 1474. Entrusted to an abbot in 1505, this was the beginning of a sad decadence and ruin, when even the imposing lead roof was sold and caused the fast downfall of the once magnificent abbey. In the chapel of Montesiepi hermitage one can still see the sword thrust into the rock by San Galgano, as a symbol of the Christian cross that he promised to worship, thus renouncing wordly battles and sins.
How can we describe the magnificence of the Renaissance cradle in a few lines?
We let you find out by yourselves www.visitflorence.com
We suggest to visit Florence by public transportation, by train from Poggibonsi or by bus from Monteriggioni (www.trenitalia.com, www.sitabus.it, www.trainspa.it): so you won’t have to worry about driving in the city traffic and parking hunting!