This route leads us to a magical place in the Crete Senesi (Clays of Siena), called the “Accona desert” at the beginning of the fourteenth century, due to the inhospitable nature characterised by gullies, present on this hill located approx. 30 km from Siena. Nevertheless, this “desert” was transformed into an oasis of silence and contemplation by Giovanni Tolomei (1272-1348), a Sienese nobleman, very devoted to the Virgin Mary, who decided to retire to a hermit’s life in these places, choosing the name of Bernardo.
Today, Monteoliveto Maggiore is a guiding light of spiritualism and of artistic and cultural beauty, famous worldwide.
The route starts in Siena to then head towards Asciano, in the centre of the Crete Senesi, along the Via Lauretana, a tarmacked road that runs through landscapes of rare beauty, with elevation gains at times challenging.
From Asciano the road, always tarmacked, begins to climb towards Monte Oliveto Maggiore, passing through the most authentic part of these almost lunar landscapes. Before Monte Oliveto Maggiore, the small village of Chiusure is definitely worth a visit, perched on a hill from whose top one can enjoy a wonderful view.
From Monte Oliveto a pleasant descent begins towards Buonconvento, a fortified centre located along the ancient Via Francigena, from where, always along the Via Francigena, the itinerary returns to Siena, through a long stretch of basically flat dirt road.
- The places of various artistic, cultural and religious interest are indicated in green on the map.