Archive for the ‘Places to see’ Category

A few years ago, stunning Etruscan frescos were found, vivid as the day they were painted in the 4th century BC, in an underground tomb in a farmers olive grove near Sarteano. One of them is of the flame haired guardian of hell, Charon, in a chariot, pulled by lions and griffons. It is unique, apart from the superb quality of the fresco and other paintings in the same tomb, no-one had seen a red haired Etruscan before. The frescos in the tomb are the most significant archeological Etruscan find in the last 10 years and haven’t made it to the tourist guide books yet.

The tomb is one of many dotted around what is now an ordinary olive grove (with great views across the valley) and the entrance just looks like a hole in the side of a hill, but is actually part of an Etruscan necropolis, or city of the dead.  It is a few kilometres from the town of Sarteano, a lovely place in its own right.

You can get your tickets for the tour and the visit to the tomb at the Museum office in Sarteano. The tours run every Saturday year round, in winter at 11.00 and in summer at 9.30 and 18.00. You have to ring the Museum and book your tickets beforehand because the paintings are so delicate that large numbers of human bodies and breath would destroy the finely balanced humidity and conditions they are kept in, so they restrict the numbers. Call the Museo on 0578269261  or 0578269212. The tour is €7 a head, free for those under 6 years old, and includes an expert guide, in english if you ask.

Go now before everyone else discovers it.

And kids love the serpents, lions and griffons. And lunch/dinner at the tiny friendly Osteria da Gagliano (on Via Roma, a few steps from the main piazza on the way to the Museo) was superb too, ph: 0578268022


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Highly recommended restaurant in Siena just off the Campo. Find it by making your way to the Campo, face the flat side (will make sense when you are there) with the tower (Pallazzo Publicca) in front of you. Take the side street to the left of the tower but still on the flat side and it is about 30metres off the Campo on your left – or just ask local they will know it. Great food – pasta, salad of asparagus and broad beans braised Ox Cheeks all highly recommended. Menu more for grown ups than kids. What was also amazing was eating late into the evening then strolling back down the dark side street into the magnificent Campo which is all lit up at night and literally takes your breath away with its beauty.

Contact details:Osteria Le Logge
Via del Porrione, 33
I-53100 Siena


T +39 0577 48013

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A Manhattan skyline in Tuscany. Amazing. Apparently they built the towers to be nearer to god. The richer you were the higher the tower etc.. wonderful but a tourist mecca and therefore very busy. Try just out of season and definitely try the ice cream in the main square – world champion no less. Find San Gim by heading to Siena then follow signs to Firenze. Take the first exit for Poggibonsi and follow the signs.

Fab walled town, views are amazing. famous wine is Vernaccia (OK but not a world beater). Cantucci great and also try Osso de Morte (probably spelt wrong but means bones of the dead – nice) a bit like Cantucci and great dipped in Vin Santo. Enjoy.

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