2018 MPW TOUR OF SIENA

Situated in central-southern Tuscany, the Province of Siena covers some of the most notable and engaging Tuscan territories, such as the southern hills of Chianti, Val d’Elsa and Val di Merse, Val d'Arbia, Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia, right up to the slopes of Mount Amiata.

The Province’s Capital, Siena, is a magnificent city of art with characteristic alleys, wards (Rioni) and towers, artisan shops and historic architecture. A shell-shaped Piazza del Campo dominates the centre and is host to the bi-annual Palio horse race, steeped in tradition and fervent emotions.

A bucket list item for all photography enthusiasts. This elegant city has kept its valuable historic medieval appearance untouched, with narrow streets and noble palaces, surrounded by majestic landscapes.

Walk the streets where architecture, history and culture blend in a multitude of settings, providing ample exploration of a wide variety of photographic genres.

Moving through Siena’s lands, immersing yourself in this atmosphere is a magical adventure, travel through diverse landscapes, from dense woodlands to old farms and clay hills.

Territory preserving numerous remains from the Middle Ages, springing out along the Via Francigena, the great pilgrimage road to Rome that crossed Val d’Elsa, the city of Siena and Val d’Orcia.

Touring through this countryside, you’ll be capturing impressive abbeys such as Sant’ Antimo, Romanesque parishes (Pievi) and characteristic small towns (Borghi) such as San Quirico d’Orcia or San Gimignano, which preserve their original appearance to this day.

The Chianti area, located in Tuscany’s heart, between the provinces of Siena and Florence, home to the famous wine is an alluring part of Tuscany. Host to quieter towns such as Castellina, and dense vineyards, such as those of Radda in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti or Castelnuovo Berardegna.

Prevalently of wooded hills, the landscape is characterised by grape and olive cultivation. Vast areas of vineyards, olive groves, chestnut, oak and pine woods, ancient castles, churches and isolated abbeys distinguishing this lush environment. Travelling along country roads at night it’s probable that you will see deer, pheasants or wild boar.

South of Siena leading towards the Medieval centre of Asciano, the landscape is dominated by the typical Crete, clay lands where erosion has created crevices, openings and cracks resembling a lunar landscape.

An impressive area where the imposing Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore stands out.

Of particular note is Montalcino’s summit that beholds the splendour of an ample and varied panorama of the Senese hills to the mountains of Amiata. A notable home to the famous Brunello wine.

To the north-west, we find the awe-inspiring Val d’Elsa, with its characteristic towns Colle di Val d’Elsa, Poggibonsi, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano. So called the "city of towers" for its numerous towers and tower-houses that render a quite unique skyline, symbols of Medieval mercantile power.

This characteristic Medieval Borgo, under the tutelage of UNESCO, has a remarkable artistic legacy, including the marvellous Collegiata (13th Century), the Gothic-Romanesque St. Augustine’s Church and the Palazzo del Popolo, site of the Civic Museum, upon which stands the Torre Grossa (Big Tower).

Travelling west of Siena, we find the Val di Merse, home to fascinating places, including the ruins of the San Galgano Abbey, dating back to the 13th Century.

In the Val di Chiana area, we’re going to find many other delightful towns. Montepulciano is located upon a hill, dominating the valley and Chianciano Terme, important for its beneficial waters.

Famous as far back as Etruscan times, and home to the beautiful Museo Archeologico delle Acque (Water Archaeological Museum). Chiusi is a small town with an internationally-reputed Etruscan museum.

The Val d’Orcia is a magical landscape composed of hills and gullies, Tuscan cypress trees, the river, olive groves and vineyards, protected by UNESCO.

A land fresh and unspoilt, where the nature of the agricultural economy linked to the perseverance of the land by inhabitants, using naturally found materials and methods, safeguard man’s relationship with the environment.

Numerous magnificent towns abide, from Pienza and San Quirico to Montalcino and Castiglione in the west lies the solitary Rocca di Radicofani. A landscape interspersed with torrents, ravines, rugged outcrops and river banks, intertwining until lost in the ash colour of the distant Crete.

This Province’s marvellous and unique landscapes offer infinite opportunities in diverse settings, including fourteen Natural Reserves.

In the South is the Reserve of Lake Montepulciano, which offers up plenty of rare bird species and that of Lucciola Bella, with a splendid view over Val d'Orcia and Pietraporciana, inside a centuries-old beech wood forest.

The territory has many thermal spa centres where you can spend relaxing, health-focused stays, in Bagni di San Filippo, Bagno Vignoni, Chianciano Terme, Rapolano Terme and San Casciano dei Bagni.

The annual calendar is a rich medley of events and activities. Montepulciano, hosts the Bruscello, in Piazza Grande, a festival of love stories in the Tuscan tradition where actors in period costume narrate on a stage decorated with a symbolic tree.

During March, in Torrita di Siena the San Giuseppe Festival is held, here eight contrade compete for the Palio dei Somari (a donkey race) dressed in 17th-Century costumes.

Medieval folklore carries on in Montepulciano, with the renowned combat of the Bravio delle Botti in August, during which the athletes of the contrade compete by pushing heavy, 176-lb barrels.

In Monticchiello, between July and August, the entire community participates in ten days of not only horseback riding but in writing and producing a drama focused on the issues of rural life.

Worth a visit is the Medieval Barbarossa festival in San Quirico d’Orcia, held in June, and the Sagra del Tordo (Thrush Fair) in Montalcino, in October.

Finally, the spectacular Giostra del Saracino (The Saracen Joust) is held in Sarteano on the Feast of the Assumption (15 August).

We truly believe that every province of Tuscany has something beautiful and unique to offer, as we do your research in advance, you can’t really go wrong, in destinations where you can have everything.

Oh before we forget, if you love food, this is truly the food heaven. Tuscany is indeed the essence of Italy in many ways.

The sheer quantity of subject matter, mixed with a wonderful Mediterranean climate makes this an ideal location to explore your photography, learn new techniques and create lasting memories from your finest photography tour.

  • YOU CHOOSE DATES

  • ALL LEVELS

  • ITINERARIES FROM £800

  • 1 - 4 GROUP SIZE

TOWNS AND CITIES IN THE PROVINCE OF SIENA

Abbadia San Salvatore, Abbazia Sant’Antimo, Asciano, Buonconvento, Casole d’Elsa, Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Castiglione d’Orcia, Cetona, Chianciano Terme, Chuisdino, Chusi, Chiusure, Colle Val d’Esta, Gaiole in Chianti, La Foce, Montalcino, Montefollonico, Monte Oliveto Abbey, Murlo, Piancastagnaio, Pienza, Poggbonsi, Radda in Chianti, Radicofano, Radicondoli, Rapolanao Terme, San Casciano del Bagni, San Gimignano, San Giovanni d’Asso, San Quirico d’Orcia, Sarteano, Seggiano, Siena, Torrita di Siena, Trequanda and Volpaia.

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