South of Gli Oppi are several places worth a (half) day trip. We can mention the Etruscan, wine city Montepulciano with the San Biagio church (and opposite the church one of our favorite restaurants La Grotta). In Montepulciano there are numerous wine shops -our choice is Terra Toscana ( and you can find many good places to eat and enjoy (La Grotta). Montepulciano has a great music academy and often there are performances by young brilliant musicians.

Somewhat to the west of Montepulciano is Pienza, which city attracts for good reasons a great many tourists. You have to go there to understand why this place is often called “La Citta Ideale”. When visiting this lovely small town, consider having lunch or dinner at Latte di Luna or at La Buca di Enea.

Siena is the capital of the province in which Gli Oppi is situated. Its history goes back to the Etruscan times. From Gli Oppi the nicest way to reach Siena is through the Crete Senese, which is a breathtaking landscape. From a distance the towers of the city and particularly the 102 m high medieval Torre della Mangia and the tower and cupola of the Duomo can be seen. Siena is one of thé attractions of Italy and it has so many things to see and do that one can easily spend several days there. The Duomo which was started in the 12th century is a must, and so is the Piazza del Campo where twice a year the famous horserace, the Palio, is helt. The Piazza, which is truly the shell shaped centre of town, has on one of its side the Palazzo Publico which is also a must to visit (especially one of the first non-religious paintings namely the fresco of the Good and Bad Government painted by Lorenzetti in 1338). Although the city is thousands of year old, you will see many young Italians and foreigners who study here at the university founded in 1240 or at the world-famous Accademia Musicale Chigiana which is responsible for many classical concerts in the summer.

San Gimignano
Once you are in Siena you can go on to visit San Gimignano which has been given the nickname `Manhattan of Tuscany` because of its many tall towers dating back to the warring medieval days. Especially the little duomo in the centre of town is something not to be missed and when you are there admiring the frescos representing scenes from the old tand new testament, then do not forget the chapel dedicated to Santa Fina. If you have seen the movie `Tea with Mussolini, then you will recognize both the little town and particularly these frescoes very well. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on 31 January then you must try visiting the town for the celebration of San Gimignano and maybe you can then have a super meal at Osteria delle Catene in Via Mainardi 18.

For serious food shopping we go to the Coop or other supermarkets in Sinalunga, which town is split like many Italian cities between a part in the valley and a –always much older- part on the hill. The part on the hill is worth a visit twice a week when there is a big market, while in the lower part and just outside the town you find various supermarkets and one of the larger Outlets of Italy.

A few kilometers north of Sinalunga in the valley of the Chiana is the very picturesque town Lucignano. It is a truly nice small town to wander through. There are several beautiful churches and the whole atmosphere is warm and medieval (

On Saturdays we often go to the other side of the valley to visit the market in Cortona which town became known worldwide because of the book by Frances Mayes “Under the Tuscan sun”. Although the book and film attract lots of tourists particularly in summer, the place is certainly worth a visit. Take a coffee on the terrace of the lovely old teatro Signorelli on the piazza with the same name. For some of the best pasta in Italy go to the small shop on Via Dardano 29 (Bottega della pasta fresca) where you will face real difficulties in choosing between all the kinds fresh pasta and sauces.