The Crete Senesi is an area of Tuscany known for its stunning landscape. There is everything from hills with woods to barren clay fields. Crete Senesi means, senese clays. The clay has sediments of the ancient Pilocene Sea which covered the areas 5-4 million years ago. The Crete Senesi starts just south of Siena. Around Asciano, where we will be staying in 2017, is the area called the Deserto di Accona, the Accona Desert. This is an arid area, south of Asciano which has dry clay land formations called calanques.
Where the northern part of Tuscany has vineyards that stretch for every, in this area it is fields broken up with rows of cypress trees that line the winding roads that lead up to farm houses. The SS438 that leaves Suiena towards Leonia is a good start for a drive.
Asciano, located in the center of the Crete Senesi between the river Ombrone and the torrent Copa, about 30 km southeast of Siena. The town has roots back to the Roman times. But, Siena purchased the city in 1285, surrounded the city with walls in 1351, and there are some 14th-century churches with paintings of the same period remaining.
Asciano is the main town in the center of the Crete area. It has scenic historic center. We had been to Asciano before, and for some reason I thought it was a bit more of location than it seemed on this trip. One day, I was basically running out of gas and I was surprised to find no gas station in this town, in fact, it was a search for gas that took me to many locations, all with no stations, or a station with no gas. Had to go all the way into the outskirts of Siena.
One afternoon I decided to drive to the Benedictine monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. It was founded in 1320. The cloisters are famous for the series of frescoes that illustrate scenes of the legend of St. Benedict and these date back to 1505.
© Glenn Marcus
my travels in Italy