Monticiano is a very old village which dates back to the 12th century. Originally a castle property of the Bishop of Volterra, it later came under the domination of Siena. The remains of the castle are still visible and the little streets of the village are very picturesque.
Monticiano is located in a beautiful area, in the heart of a valley between the river Merse and the river Farma. The oldest part of the village is located on a hilltop, within the remains of the ancient walls. From the top of the hill the view over the valley of the river Merse is breathtaking.
The origins of the village are celebrated every year in October, when the Palio dei Ciuchi, a donkey race in medieval costumes, brings the past back to life.
The village has two churches. The Romanesque Chiesa di Sant'Agostino of the late 13th century,
with the chapter room of the former monastery frescoed by Bartolo di Fredi, Guidoriccio Cozzarelli and Giovanni di Bartolo di Fredi, Guidoriccio Cozzarelli e Giovanni di Paolo. In Gothic style it is one of the Augustinian order's oldest hermitages.
The older parish Pieve dei Santi Giusto e Clemente, of the 12th century, has a neat stone façade.
Monticiano is only 5km away from the Abbey of San Galgano and the legendary sword in the stone. There is a hiking trail through the woods which leads from Monticiano to the Abbey of San Galgano, one of the most beautiful monuments in Tuscany.
The village of Bagni di Petriolo with the thermal spas Terme di Petriolo also belongs to the municipality of Monticiano.
Worth seeing are the locality of San Lorenzo a Merse with the ancient castle and the Romanesque church, the hamlet of Castello di Tocchi, the ruins of the Castellaccio, Monte Quoio and Renna. Other sights and attractions are the Castle of Belagaio and
the Palazzo Calliani.
Early in June, in Monticiano, takes place the Palio dei Rioni horse race.
Weekly Market in Monticiano is on Friday (Piazza S. Agostino 8:00-13:00).
I Bagni di Petriolo
The remains of the fort of Petriolo are located at the northernmost part of the territory of Civitella Paganico, at the border of the municipality of Monticano.
Petriolo was already known to the Etruscans and Romans, because of the curative properties attributed to its sulphurous hot springs.
In the 17th century the area began to decline in favour of the baths at Pignoni and San Filippo. However the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala in Siena revived the springs which came under the authority of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who passed it on to the Cospi family in 1648. In 1713 the Ospedale obtained permission to demolish the castle walls and to make use of its stonework. Today all that remains of the walls are those connected to the tower. Only one of the four original baths remains.
Petriolo is still very popular with locals who soak in the hot mineral water where it cascades down the bank via a number of artificial pools into the Farma river.
More to the south, on the road to Roccastrada, you can reach Torniella. The castle of the Ardengheschi, the vassals of the Aldobrandeschi, forms the stronghold of the town.
One of many sign-posted walking paths around Torniella arrives at the waterfalls on the Farma stream known as i Canaloni. After an extended walk you find a little waterfall with rocks and natural pool.
Castello di Tocchi is an 11th century medieval fortified village on a hilltop about a mile from Tocchi. Its medieval circular stone walls and the magnificent arched entrance have remained intact.
Thermal baths of Petriolo
Abbey of San Galgano
Castello di Belagaio
Riserva Naturale La Pietra | La Pietra Nature Reserve
Situated in Upper Val di Farma, some kilometers in the south-east of the town of Monticiano, La Pietra Nature Reserve protects a territory almost entirely covered with woodlands, between the stream Farma and the last stretch of the stream Farmulla, one of its left tributaries.
La Riserva Naturale Alto Merse | Upper Merse Nature Reserve
The Reserve includes in its southern part the stretch of the river Merse running between the two bends formed by the watercourse in the north-east of Monticiano and near Brenna; the remaining area protects most of the basin of the stream Ricausa, left tributary of the river Merse.
The Farma Nature Reserve, situated between Monticiano and Roccastrada, incorporates the middle stretch of the beautiful, wild valley of the river Farma, the main tributary of the river Merse. The whole Farma valley, especially the part within the reserve, preserves a number of natural features which are unique to the province of Siena and among the most interesting in the country.
In the valley there are numerous historical traces of the Middle Ages, such as the mills and the iron mines where iron was worked, powered by the energy provided by the water. The river Farma became an industrial centre for the working of iron. The most important ironworks, which we will visit, used to be known as the Ruota (‘wheel’) and is now called the Ferriera. The whole building can still be seen, as well as a dam for the collection of water a few hundred metres upstream.
The Farma Nature Reserve (it)
Trekking in and around Roccastrada
Belagaio Castle - Torniella | 13 km, 4 hours
Torniella - Sassoforte - Roccatederighi | 20 km, 5 hours