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The treasures of Chianciano

 

The thermal waters of Chianciano were already known in Etruscan times and established themselves during the period of the Roman Empire. Evidence of the thermal activity are the archaeological finds of furnishings and statues, including a bronze one, the Apollo Salutare, and writings by Varrone, Tibullo and Orazio. For the exploitation of its waters, in the communal age, Chianciano was disputed by Siena, Orvieto and Montepulciano. In the sixteenth century, Andrea Bacci, a talented scholar and naturalist, expert in hydrology, wrote the treatise De Thermis in which the miraculous therapeutic properties of its waters, classified as bicarbonate-sulphate-calcium, are mentioned. These flow from four springs – Santa, Fucoli, Sillene and Sant’Elena – and, due to the high concentration of mineral salts, are particularly suitable for the treatment of hepatobiliary and digestive diseases.

From Chianciano Terme you can reach the ancient village of Chianciano which stands on the top of a hill protected by medieval walls. It contains valuable civil and religious architecture, including the Castle of the Manenti Counts, also known as the Monastery dating back to 1000, the Clock Tower built on the ruins of one of the bastions of the Castle and the Church of the Immaculate Conception, formerly the Church of Death as the seat of that Confraternity. Located in the heart of the Sienese Val di Chiana, Chianciano Terme is surrounded by landscape, natural and cultural treasures of unique value.

The Val d’Orcia and the historic center of Pienza have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, for the richness of the natural and landscape assets, for the cultural values they embody and of which they are an expression and for the interactions between these peculiarities that create an unparalleled territory. The Crete and Calanchi, the Lucciola Bella nature reserve, the Chianina breed, the truffle, the Cappelli wheat crops, the wine, the absinthe of the Calanchi, the vision of the urban space and the Renaissance architecture of Bernardo Rossellino are just some of the many treasures of this territory that can be enjoyed.

Montepulciano, of Etruscan origins, built the Renaissance city on the pre-existing medieval layout. One of the architectural gems of the Renaissance is the Temple of San Biagio, whose construction was supported by Pope Leo X. Designed and built by Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchiio, it is located outside the historic center. Completely covered, both outside and inside, with travertine slabs, the temple has a central Greek cross plan with a central dome and semicircular apse; the façade of the temple is crowned by two bell towers, one of which is unfinished. The architectural beauty of the building is enhanced by the bright green of the turf on which it was built and by the light that gives the travertine a thousand shades of color.

This rich territory offers a varied panorama of proposals in the field of craftsmanship, from violin making to tailoring, from the processing and decoration of ceramics to wrought iron and copper, from papier-mâché to plaster and drawing painted in ink.

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