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Slow Travel Google Map: Italy, Tuscany, Southern
Monte Oliveto Maggiore
Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey (Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore) sits on top of a hill east of Buonconvento, north of Pienza. This 15th century Abbey still houses monks. Visit it to see the magnificent building and the large room of Sodoma frescoes depicting the life of St. Benedict.
Beautiful small Renaissance church just below the hill town of Montepulciano.
Don't miss this beautiful Romanesque church, set in a valley near the village of Castelnuovo dell'Abate. The setting is beautiful with hills and trees on one side and looking up to the village and vine covered hills on the other side. The church, built in the 1100s and originally a Benedictine Monestary, still has monks that do regular chanting. Their chanting schedule is on the website.
Another beautifully preserved hill town with many restaurants, caffes and shops. This area is famous for their "Brunello" wine. We liked the restaurant Taverna del Grappolo Blu. Read Isabella Dusi's book "Vanilla Beans and Brodo" for more information about Montalcino. I bought very nice solid olive wood cutting boards from one of the shops here.
Beautiful historic hill town with many caffes, restaurants, shops. Park in lots outside the city walls. The town is built on a hillside and is steep if you walk from the main gate to the top of town. The main piazza is not on the main street through the town, but is near the top and to your left.
Beautiful small hill town in the center of southern Tuscany. Historic center is a pedestrian zone and the main streets are flat. The town is perched on the edge of a hill overlooking southern Tuscany. Walk behind the church to the "Lovers's Walk" for beautiful views towards Monte Cetona.
San Quirico d'Orcia
Smaller than Montepulciano and Montalcino and a little off the beaten path, this pretty and well preserved town is worth a visit. There is a very good restaurant here, Trattoria al Vecchio Forno.
A small town with a natural hot springs. There are large pools in the center of town, built by Lorenzo de'Medici, but no longer in use. The natural hot springs water flows in a small stream along the edge of town where you can sit and soak your feet. Or go to the Hotel Posta Marcucci to use the hot springs pool. We have many good reviews of the restaurant Osteria del Leone here.
Beautiful small village in the middle of fabulous countryside. Drive from Pienza to Castelmuzio to Montisi and then north to Siena to see cypress lined roads and gorgeous countryside. There is a good cafe in Castelmuzio and a good restaurant.
Beautiful small hill town south of Pienza. As you approach the village look for the famous cypress lined road that you see on countless postcards. We have many good reviews for the restaurant Osteria La Porta.
Another beautiful hilltop village, near Castelmuzio. Very good organic olive oil producer here. Also a caffe and a good restaurant La Romita.
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