Beyond Poggio

As guests, the portfolio of activities within an hour drive may vary from winery visits, wine tastings or cooking courses just minutes away from where we are to visits to Florence and Siena and their architectural sites and masterpieces both reachable in 30 min drive, to visits to S.Gimignano and Volterra real highlights of the region, to the discovery of smaller pearls such as Volpaia and other villages of the wine area. Or, less close, to a farer drive up to S.Galgano a medieval roofless abbey and then on to Chiusdino and in case up to Massa Marittima, or to the less known Lucca an hour drive and nearby Viareggio with its huge sandy beach and stunning promenade. A full day on the beach is possible in the summer even in the farer wilder southern part of the Tuscan coast if you leave not too late! For hikers and bikers it can be fun too, knowing that the region is very hilly and offers also steep climbs and sudden descents.

Good restaurants can be found in and just out of the village and nearby in the area. For shopping fans opportunities do not miss and go from the Florence centre streets with their amazing fashion shops to the outlet centres not too far to reach offering famous brands but not only.


Some great places not to miss if you stay at Poggio d’Oro! :

San Donato in Poggio

San Donato in Poggio is set in one of the prettiest patches of the Chianti. The hilltop medieval village dominates a ridge separating the Val di Pesa from the Val d’Elsa and enjoys views of olive groves and vineyard-clad hills. This walled, stone-and-brick-built hamlet is tucked into its medieval fortifications. Even if only stretches survive, including two gateways, the street plan remains medieval. A remaining watchtower on the western edge of the hamlet leads to a bell-tower and the atmospheric main square, along with the Gothic church of Santa Maria della Neve and an octagonal well. Given its position as a pawn in the long-running battles between Siena and Florence, San Donato often depended on this well for survival. The Florentine-Romanesque church of San Donato stands by the Porta Senese, the Sienese gateway, a reminder that medieval peace treaties between Siena and Florence were twice signed in this former citadel.


30 min drive

May be home to the world’s greatest concentration of Renaissance art with priceless masterpieces.

Don’t be afraid of driving into it, a magnificent city full of churches and art treasures and home of Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, the Accademia with the original statue of David, the Duomo and Baptistery, the markets, Pitti Palace with the Boboli Garden and the Uffizi museum (reservation advisable, it can be done at the reception) just to mention the main ones. Be prepared for lots of tourists anytime of the year. Using the parking instructions you will find driving into Florence easy and you will encounter some of the best views of the city you are ever likely to see. If after visiting Florence you still have some time follow the signs to Fiesole, a hilltop town 10 km outside the city, which not only offers spectaculars views of the whole of the city, but also has some extremely impressive’ Etruscan ruins.

Reservations for:

Uffizi (,


Accademia (,

Palazzo Vecchio (


30 min drive

This beautiful mediaeval city is a must for anyone visiting the region of Tuscany, especially its unique shall shaped Piazza del Campo, the heart of the city and the pride of the Sienese. Siena is a medieval city par excellence, crammed with rich treasures, and for many people it is infinitely more appealing than Florence. All over the city, statues of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf serve as a reminder that, according to the legend, it was founded by Senius, the son of Remus. Siena has many sights to see apart from its beautiful Piazza. Wednesday morning is market day and the market is held in the car park: there are alternative places to park but Siena will be busier than normal.

Reservations for the Duomo and other monuments:

San Gimignano

25 min drive

One of the best preserved medieval cities in Italy, with its famous 13 towers dating back centuries. This unique hilltop town boasts wonderful panoramas and attracts visitors worldwide. The first sight of S.Gimignano takes your breath away and seems to take you back to another age. Originally there were no fewer than 72 towers (15 survive). They were built thanks to the immense wealth of this free comune’s merchant and financial classes, gleaned from their principal trades of saffron and usury (as 13th- century canonical law defined financial speculation).

San Gimignano fell into decline in the 14th century, when its population was decimated by wars, civil strife, famine and plagues. Protected by strict monument restrictions since 1929, San Gimignano is an extraordinary living museum. An unforgettable visit.


50 min drive

Volterra is a breezy hill-top town, on the west of S .Gimignano with marvellous panoramic views, a well preserved Etruscan amphitheatre and hoards of locally mined alabaster to keep you interested.

Worth of half a day visit.  It’s one of Tuscany’s most evocative hill towns and usually has far fewer tourists than nearby San Gimignano. Volterra stands on a rocky hill some 1770 feet above sea level, located between the rivers Bra and Cecina and is surrounded by strong walls. The district is rich in alabaster, the working of which was an important industry of the city. The Cathedral (Duomo) of Volterra, (1120), has a high altar adorned with a sculpture by Mino da Fiesole. Among the pictures is an “Annunciation” by Luca Signorelli.


20 min drive

North of Siena its fame stems from the fact that it was mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno” and, indeed, the fortress of Monteriggioni is breathtaking sight. The village is slightly elliptical in shape with two gates. Inside the walls of the town there is a huge square where a Romanesque church is, as well as two bars ideal sitting place for a drink at sunset.

Colle Val d’Elsa

20 min drive

Three areas make up Colle Val d’Elsa, developed between the 10th and the 13th century. The lower section, known as Piano, was specialised in the manufacture of paper in the Middle Ages, using energy from the waters of the Elsa river. Today Colle Bassa is a major producer of glass and crystal and, as such, has a host of outlets selling crystal at very reasonable prices. The other two sections, Castello and Borgo, together form Colle Alta which is the main attraction, and feature splendid architecture of medieval origin with Renaissance additions. Wonderfully photogenic and not too full of tourists, Colle Alto provides a very picturesque stop-off on your journey to Siena.


30 min drive

The town consists of two levels, basso (lower) and alto (higher, underestimated and not well know as deserves, the higher being the old part of the town. Its narrow streets are lined with restored medieval houses and palazzos). Like many other Tuscan towns, Certaldo is divided between its medieval walled town on a hill and the modern residential and industrial suburb spread out below. Certaldo Alto is definitely worth a look. The charming medieval upper town, reached on foot in 10 min or by cable car from the station in the main piazza (2min). All the principal buildings, as well as some attractive houses, face onto Via Boccaccio. Half-way up on the left is the Casa del Boccaccio (rebuilt in 1947), museum where the famous Italian writer is said to have spent his last years,  with a tower and loggia, which was bought and restored in the early 19C by Marchesa Carlotta dei Medici Lenzoni. Facing onto the little piazza is the church of Santi Michele e Jacopo. The simple brick facade dates from the 13C and the interior has been restored to original Romanesque.

At the top of the street is Palazzo Pretorio, originally the castle of the Conti Alberti with its facade decorated with picturesque coats of arms in stone and glazed terracotta which record the Governors (Vicari) sent from Florence.

The Chianti Classico Wine Area

This is the area to the South East of Florence and North of Siena and has some of the most scenic landscape in the region. Many villages can be explored with panoramic views en route. There are lots or fattoria and cantine (vineyards and wine estates) scattered around the area. Chianti is probably the most famous Italian red wine: in 1984 it was given the highest distinction in Italy, the DOCG (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita). The Growers’ Association chose the black cockerel, the Gallo Nero, as its symbol. Wherever you see the sign “Vendita Diretta” outside a vineyard, you may stop and taste by the local wines.

Castellina in Chianti

15 min drive

As its name suggests, Castellina is built around a splendid Castello, which survives at the centre of the town. Magnificently positioned in beautiful countryside scattered with buildings from the era of the grand dukes, Castellina was an important centre of the Chianti league and the town still has its medieval square plan and 15th- to 16th-century houses. It was restored to its pristine condition in 1927. The town also retains its walls, all part of the medieval defence, strengthened under Florentine rule in the 15th Century. Picturesque views can be enjoyed from the medieval Via delle Volte. On the road to Greve, four Etruscan tombs dating from the 7th to 6th century BC have been excavated from Montecalvario’s tumulus.


20 min drive

An attractive town located on a high ridge on the scenic Via Chiantigiana, exactly halfway between Florence and Sienna, in Tuscany, Italy. Panzano is quite modern in appearance but ancient in its foundation with the parts of the castle partly incorporated into the church and another tower used as a private dwelling. There are remains of Roman pavement here and there. There are several good restaurants and an enoteca as well as a butcher’s shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, that has become a tourist attraction in its own right due to the fame of the butcher, Dario Cecchini.

Radda in Chianti

30 min drive

A place for soaking up the slow pace of life, visitors may relax in one of the prettiest villages in the Chianti region, sampling the wines with Tuscan snacks such as crostini in the local enoteca (wine bar). High on the hill that separates the Pesa Valley from that of the Arbia, Radda{530m above sea level) was an important castle controlled by Siena until 1176. Under Florence it was fortified and made the capital of the Chianti league (1384). Fine 15th century and 16th century buildings stand out in the medieval centre, which has elliptical plan. Medieval streets can be found around the central Piazza with its stately Palazzo del Podestà. Nearby Volpaia (6 km to the North) a small fortified village and its castle is regarded as even more picturesque.


30 min drive

A pretty market town with a particularly attractive triangular piazza. Now named after the navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano (1480-1528, family castle slightly further north), Greve’s large square was once the venue for a major market. Goods were displayed and business was conducted beneath the two wings of terraced porticoes that converge like a funnel towards the church of Santa Croce. Today it makes a delightful place to rest. There are a large number of small shops, most selling local wines. In the Middle Ages the town was controlled by the ancient castle of Montefioralle, just west of Greve. The lovely stone village with streets cobbled in a circular pattern and picturesque closed passages is a great place to wander around.


Lying on the valley floor, framed by vineyards, this market town developed in the mid-13th century. A hundred years later it joined the Chianti league and its emblem was the black cockerel, still found on DOC bottle labels. This village has a stream running its main street.

Above the town of Gaiole, you can pay a visit to the village of Vertine. A road to the right of the church leads to the 11th  Century church at Spaltenna and on to Vertine, a timeless tiny walled village sitting on the top of a vineyard-covered hill, which developed in the 12th and 13rh centuries.

Barberino Val D’Elsa

20 min drive

Barberino has conserved its medieval structure with its walls, gate and towers and its Pilgrims’ Hospital; it is found on the road that branched off from the VIA FRANCIGENA in the bottom of the valley and led onto the old Badia a Passignano and then onto Florence. This landscape remains one of the most beautiful of the area. Scattered throughout the territory of Barberino are also a wide variety of small centres. These centres walled and fortified like castles, each being unique and different from the others within itself but yet each with the same age old memory of art and culture serving as a root and link that unifies this charming land. The centres are: SANT’APPIANO with its romanesque Priory and remains of a Protoromanesque Baptistery; PETROGNANO, the village of Semifonte with its civic flavoured medieval towers; LINARI, an ancient free Commune which is a delightful example of medieval town planning; TIGNANO, a small walled hamlet.

Badia a Passignano

20 min drive

The abbey of San Michele Arcangelo in Passignano is a grandiose monastic complex of the Vallombrosana Congregation located in the territory of the Chianti hills, in the Passignano area, just few minutes away. You can reach it from Sambuca continuing towards S.Casciano and turning right after about 200 meters following the indications, then continue for about 2 km up the hill.

The monastery adopted the Vallombrosan rule as early as the 11th century by Giovanni Gualberto, who died here in 1073. Destroyed and rebuilt several times, today it appears more like a castle than a monastic community.

The architectural complex still appears today enclosed within the fifteenth-century quadrangular wall curtain with corner towers, but the neo-Gothic additions made at the end of the nineteenth century are evident when, suppressed the monastic community, it was transformed into a villa. The abbey church, with a Latin cross plan, was almost entirely rebuilt from the second half of the 16th century and internally frescoed by Domenico Cresti, known as il Passignano and by Alessandro Allori.

Inside the Abbey you can visit the wonderful Sala del Cenacolo with the beautiful fresco of the last supper, made by Domenico Ghirlandaio between 1440 and 1485 and recently restored. Currently the monastery is occupied by a small community of Vallombrosan monks and can be visited on request on Sunday afternoon when one of the monks is available as a guide, usually by appointment.


1hour 15 min drive

Everybody has heard of what is undoubtedly the world ‘s most famous tower located in Piazza dei Miracoli (The Square of Miracles) with the cathedral. Pisa is worth half a day visit. Why not to combine it with a visit to Lucca and Viareggio?

Reservations for the Tower and other monuments:


1 hour 15 min drive

Half an hour from Pisa, this lively seaside resort is popular with the Florentines in summer. Viareggio has a turn of the century elegance, with many fine Liberty style buildings. Viareggio is the southernmost Italian Riviera style resort on Italy’s Mediterranean coast and the largest beach town in Tuscany. Art nouveau buildings housing shops, cafes, and sea food restaurants line its promenade. Although Viareggio was at its peak as a resort in the 1920’s, it’s still a top Tuscan town for beaches, seafood, and nightlife. It’s also known for holding one of Italy’s top Carnevale festivals.


1 hour drive

Approximately 15 miles inland from Vìareggio is definitely one of the most beautiful small towns in Northern Tuscany, and has enchanting tranquillity. Possessing many architectural and artistic masterpieces. The Piazza Anfiteatro is the most spectacular square in Lucca. The Guinigi tower, 44 meters high and built in stones and bricks, is one of the most representative and famous monuments of Lucca; its main feature is the presence of some holm oaks on its top. Open to the public, it can be visited.


50 min drive

One of Tuscany’s wealthiest cities, its prosperity is based on a thriving jewellery industry. They have a monthly antique market in the Piazza Grande (first weekend). Arezzo is set on a steep hill rising from the floodplain of the River Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of later structures.

The Crete Senesi

The Crete Senesi are the “desert that surrounds Siena from noon” and right from Siena you can begin your one-day itinerary. It is an area of great landscape value, with rolling hills interrupted by grandiose erosive phenomena such as badlands and “biancane”, which give life to wide and suggestive panoramas, immortalized by photographers especially in the early hours of the morning. In spring it is a green cloak that sways in the breeze, in summer it is a golden expanse of wheat, in autumn the gray of the plowed land prevails. The environment is desolate, almost desert, due to the low rainfall, with rare trees grouped in small groves in the valley floor.

Travelling along the Crete you come across villages, parish churches, monasteries and curious architecture related to the rural world: tabernacles, water mills, fortified granaries (grance), as well as testimonies of the Etruscans. The roads are scenic, fun to follow, so much so that they become a highly appreciated motorcycle itinerary.

There is a diverse selection of activities and areas to visit to fully enjoy the area of the Crete Senesi. The local towns of Asciano, Buonconvento and Serre di Rapolano offer a taste of the local cutlural flavor as well as delicious restaurants highlight the local culinary traditions. Heading southeast of Siena, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is definitely one of the first stops followed by the thermal waters at Rapolano Terme and delicious flavour of white truffles in San Giovanni d’Asso.


The home of Brunello Wines rises 564 mts above the river valleys of the Ombrone to the Northwest, the Orcia to the South and the L’Asso to the East. The Oaks of Montalcino have covered its hills and valleys from prehistory to present day, sharing their territory with the Olive tree, the Chestnut tree and Montalcino’s most famous plant the Brunello grapevine, also known as Sangiovese Grosso. From this height, you are left breathless by the panorama and on a clear day we can see the cities of Siena, Pienza and Montepulciano.

Pienza, a town in Tuscany, is the “touchstone of Renaissance urbanism.” In 1996, UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage Site and in 2004 the entire valley, the Val d’Orcia, was included on the list of Unesco’s World Cultural Landscapes. Pienza was the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who would become Pope Pius II. After he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town that would serve as a retreat from Rome.

Nearby Monticchiello is definitely worth a visit.


45 miles south-east of Siena, Montepulciano is a quaint hilltop (665m) town noted for its red wines, the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano. However, it is often underestimated in terms of its art and architecture, perhaps because of its small size. In fact, in former times its citizens held their city to be on a par with Siena, and indeed Montepulciano is packed with interest and charm and a must see for visitors to Tuscany. Points of interest are:

Piazza Grande, the main square is one of the most impressive in Tuscany. The piazza is surrounded by 15th century buildings including the town hall, the clock tower, and the Duorno as well as cafes and a wine tasting shops,

Town Hall: Palazzo Cornunale, is a Gothic style building with a 15th century tower rnodelled after Florence’s Palazzo della Signoria. The Cathedral – the Duomo – dates from the early 17th century and the Madonna di San Biagio Church, below town, is a pretty Renaissance church. Sangallo worked on the project from 1518 until his death 16 years later and it’s considered to be his masterpiece.

A wonderful river park for younger and older: the Sentierelsa

The Sentierelsa is a historical-naturalistic path in the Colle Val d’Elsa area (approx 20 min drive away) that allows you to coast the river Elsa for a couple of kilometers. The path starts from the San Marziale bridge, which is located in Gracciano, and reaches up to San Giorgio. Journey time is approximately 3 hours (round trip).

Along the route, there are many types of trees, plants, remains of ancient hydraulic constructions and water jumps such as that of the Diborrato, fifteen meters high, which flows into a deep pool of clear water where you can even dive.

The area is home to several species of animals. Among the fish we can find the carp, the stream goby and the barbel. There are also some amphibians in Elsa. In addition, you can see the green frog and the Dalmatian frog, while the most common snakes are those of water, completely harmless: the collared snake and the tessellated snake. Along the course of the river there are also several molluscs and insects (like the dragonfly) and many species of birds, such as the gray heron, the egret, the mallard, the moorhen, the yellow ballerina (also called batticoda), the kingfisher and the wren. The only aquatic mammal is nutria, a large rodent.