There is so much of interest close to Le Tolfe, and all visitors to the villa, or indeed those coming to stay in the apartments, are encouraged to engage and explore. Just a few minutes away, Siena is a wonderful Medieval masterpiece, pulsing with a vibrant cultural life centred around the contrade or sectors of the city and the Palio horse-race which dominates the hearts and minds of almost all Sienese. All around, this part of Tuscany is a tightly intertwined landscape of nature and culture. Le Tolfe stands on the edge of the Chianti region – a hilly land, with rolling vineyards and wild-woods, with ancient hilltop villages and towns all around. Fascinating places nearby include the monastery of Pontignano, the fortified village of Monteriggioni, and towns such as San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, Montepulciano, and Volterra.
To the south lies the more arid landscape of the Crete Senesi and the forests and nature reserves around the rivers of the Merse and the Farma to the south. Gentle walking and more serious hiking are excellent: and we are not far from the Via Francigena, the ancient route from Canterbury to Rome. Cycling too, is fabulous, both on the paved roads and the unpaved strade bianche (white roads) that criss-cross the land. The routes of two internationally renowned bike races – the Strade Bianche and the Eroica – pass only a stone’s throw away.
Every season brings its own special moments and events. Winter breaks into spring with waves of fresh growth and fields packed with wildflowers. In the summer the two Palio horse-races dominate the attention in Siena, but every town, small and large has its particular sagra or festival associated with feast-days or seasons. The autumn period commences with the vendemmia (grape-harvest), and moves on with the olive harvest, and locally special events celebrating porcini mushrooms, chestnuts, truffles and much more besides.
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