Our mountain. Or really, our dormant volcano, responsible for the magnificently warm waters at the Terme di Sorano.
Monte Amiata was worshipped by the ancient civilisations of the area as a deity and by the modern man maintains the ritual every time he relaxes in the nearby hot springs.
On the surface, Monte Amiata is just as gratifying.
In the warmer months, it is a haven of nature parks with trees that are thousands of years old, while in winter, it’s the place to ski or snowboard with gentle slopes that are particularly appealing to beginners. While it’s Monte Amiata naturalistic side that attracts the visitors, its towns and villages are pretty appealing too.
The area’s most captivating town has risen up at the source of the Fiora River.
It’s the perfect place for a stroll from church to church, as long as you don’t miss La Peschiera, a hidden garden of wisterias and hydrangeas.
And next door, another church with a stream that runs visibly beneath its floor.
Monte Amiata’s biggest nature park is a haven for wild donkeys, grey wolves and… Zionists. Yep, if you can make the 30-minute hike to the top of the mountain, you’ll find the remains of self-declared second-coming-of-Christ Davide Lazzaretti’s church.
Lazzaretti started a movement at the turn of the century, collecting thousands of rainbow coloured followers before he was gunned down by Carabinieri.
You can visit a museum dedicated to him in Arcidosso.
Castel del Piano
The town for artists and pastry.
Castel del Piano has some very impressive buildings and monuments built by its wealthiest residents and decorated by the Nasini family of painters who were born here and who went on to produce art for almost every church in the Maremma.