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Things to Do In and Around Cetona

Mare from Seattle

The picturesque town of Cetona (population 2,900) has a typical medieval, circular plan and sits atop a small hill. Most travel books do not mention it so there are very few tourists walking its photogenic little streets.

Be sure to tour the Museo Civico per la Preistoria del Monte Cetona. Exhibits include information about the geology of nearby Monte Cetona. Museo artifacts document nearby prehistoric settlements from the Paleolithic era to the end of the Bronze Age. Ask for an English translation handout that explains the exhibits.

Drive 5.5 km to the summit of Monte Cetona (3,731 ft) for beautiful views. Since the Paleolithic era (50,000 years ago) many of its natural caves were occupied by humans; especially Neanderthal Man. Tour the Belverde caves in the Monte Cetona Natural and Archaeological Park. Purchase tickets at the museo or at the park information office/snack bar. Admission includes both the museo and park. Ask for an English speaking tour guide.

14th c. Franciscan Hermitage of Santa Maria di Belverde, Mare from Seattle, 09/01

Close to Belverde caves is the 14th c. Franciscan Hermitage of Santa Maria di Belverde. Its church contains frescoes by Orvieto painter Cola Petruccioli and others by followers of the Siena School (14th - 15th c.).

To purchase the excellent Chianti wine served by Trattoria del Contadino, take a short drive to the village of Piazze to the winery of Rinaldo Neri. It is located in a nondescript small building down a side street (left) as you enter town (watch for very small sign). The owner showed us around and asked us to taste his various wines. Although he does not speak English, he managed to tell us that he does not ship any of his wines to the US. We were very disappointed but bought several bottles for the remainder of our trip. What a value-his excellent Chianti wine was only $4.50 USD/bottle!

Museo Archeologico, Chiusi, Mare from Seattle, 09/01

The Museo Archeologico in Chiusi was a major disappointment. We thought the Etruscan and Roman collections were magnificent; however, descriptions of the artifacts were written in Italian only. We do not read Italian so much of the historical significance was lost on us. Handouts were not available in any other language. The only information in English was a small brochure that described the museo's creation, size, bomb damage in WWII and an overview of the exhibits. It was not well lit and it did not appear to be organized into periods and/or groupings. It was alarming to see large black identification numbers stenciled in prominent locations on most large artifacts such as funerary urns and sarcophagi.

Chiusi Tuesday Market

We thoroughly enjoyed our first weekly market; Chiusi's Tuesday market! Wow, you can buy anything: fresh cheeses from Pienza, prosciutto, salami and sausages, local fruits and vegetables, sewing notions, wool sweaters, bras and underpants, household cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, baby clothes and shoes galore.

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