A cura di Simone Bandini


Following the growth trend of outdoor activities, which emerged during and after the pandemic and which has been confirmed and consolidated in our days, the Municipality of Torrita has seen fit to think, trace and finally promote the historical, naturalistic and food and wine routes of its territory. We talk about it with Councilor Laura Giannini who told us about the birth and growth of this multifaceted trail network, managed with the Torrita web agency ‘Torrita di Siena Living’ (https://active.torritadisienaliving.it)



Let’s clarify immediately: rarely have we seen such a well-structured enhancement of trekking routes and routes of historical and landscape interest. In this case the paths to discover the ancient Via Lauretana, the Gran Tour Ring, the Vinsanto Path and the 3 Rings of the “Il Tondo” Park, to name a few, allow you to live and discover with a completely slow pace the ancient connecting routes that wind between the two main centres of the municipal territory: Torrita di Siena and Montefollonico.



Let’s start from the ‘Via Lauretana’, on foot or by bike, which insists on an ancient Etruscan-Roman road that experienced its development in medieval times for pure economic reasons: this stretch connected the Sienese territory to the Valdichiana and the Umbrian-Marche area. Over the centuries it assumed the character of a pilgrimage route, connecting Siena, and then the Via Francigena, to Cortona, through the territories of Asciano, Rapolano Terme, Sinalunga, Montepulciano and of course Torrita, to then continue in Umbria and finally reach the Holy House of Loreto, in the Marche, from which it takes its name “Via Lauretana”.

Travelled by merchants, pilgrims, artists, it has been consigned to history for its function as a link, rising to an important ‘cultural infrastructure’ – encouraging the exchange of ideas and people at the places of worship that dot its path. The length of the Tuscan stretch of the Lauretana is 108 km, of which 7 affect the municipal territory (it is advisable to download the official App of the “Vie Lauretane” available on the App Store and Google Play to make the most of this travel experience and get timely information on maps, historic villages crossed, experiences and accommodation facilities for the reception).

We then move on to the most significant ring for trekking lovers – which traces a perimeter between Torrita and Montefollonico, suitable for hikers of medium / high experience, considering length and heights. The ‘Anello Gran Tour’ route is almost entirely on the road with vegetation cover; Only a few sections insist on paved and white roads without tree coverage (especially the last part). It is recommended to depart from Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, in Torrita di Siena. In summary, we are talking about a track of almost 25.8 km for an estimated time of 6h and 45 min and a positive difference in height of 694 meters which, considering the extension, is absolutely accessible. From the https://active.torritadisienaliving.it/anellogt/ page you can download the digital format of the route.

Finally, we are talking about one of the ‘Sentieri del Vinsanto’, bidirectional, from Torrita to Montefollonico or vice versa for about 6.4 km in length, 2h and 05 min in travel and 242 meters in altitude. Of absolute importance are the two historic and panoramic fortified villages (Torrita: historic bulwark – castrum – of Siena in the fight against Montepulciano, acropolis with four towers and four access gates then passed under the Medici influence of Florence – and Montefollonico, famous for the prehistoric finds dating back to Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, with the lithic tools found in “Il Tondo” which is currently a public park of great charm). In its vicinity, along the way, we find the Monastery of Santa Maria, called the “Conventaccio” (1170) of which today remain the ruins, the base of the bell tower and a perimeter wall in which there are two portals and three arches supported by quadrilateral pillars with simple frames. Stones that evoke the glories of the past.

This ‘Percorso del Vinsanto’ takes up the ancient medieval route that united the two castles of Torrita and Montefollonico which, as already noted, were the last bastions of the Republic of Siena against Montepulciano, an ally of Florence. The route connects the camper area of Torrita di Siena with the Porta di Follonica di Montefollonico. Along the path there are five areas equipped for rest with benches, signs with directions to the route and themed boards that tell the story of Torrita di Siena, Montefollonico, the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria a Follonica (called Il Conventaccio) and, finally, the vicissitudes of Ghino di Tacco, the “Brigante Gentiluomo” born from a noble family from Torita, narrated by Boccaccio in the Decameron and quoted by Dante in the Divine Comedy.

To pay homage to the rural tradition of Vinsanto that has been produced since time immemorial on these lands, every year in spring the event “Lo gradirebbe un goccio di Vin Santo?” (“Would you like a glass of Vinsanto?) is held in Montefollonico, celebrations and tastings in honour of this symbol of Tuscan peasant hospitality.

Finally, the 3 Rings of the Park “Il Tondo”, of short length and marked by red, yellow and blue, easily invite you to discover this extraordinary naturalistic and panoramic site located at the end of a delightful hill, of karst origin, from which you can enjoy an incredible panorama: on clear days the view extends from Lake Trasimeno to the summit of Mount Amiata. The “Tondo” looks like a grove of holm oaks and cypresses arranged in a circular shape with two round stone tables in the centre, ideal for stopping and enjoying absolute tranquillity and coolness.



For more information and discover the other routes that can be travelled by bike, on foot and on horseback for about 100 km of extension – and be updated on local events: www.torritadisienaliving.it / www.active.torritadisienaliving.it / info@torritadisienaliving.it / Tel. 0578 717484 / 338 6525977