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History and spas of this etruscan town

History and spas of this etruscan town

The town’s origins go back to the Etruscan Age , and today its medieval past is still evident.It lies in the province of Siena along the Via Francigena – the old Pilgrim road from Canterbury to Rome and beyond to Jerusalem. It is close to what is now the Cassia road.
It lies on the higher ground that separates Val d’Orcia from the Val d’Asso in a place with breathtaking scenery.The village developed along one main street which was an attractive location for many shops, artisan workshops and inns.A weekly market helped the local economy thanks also to a Bill passed in 1385 allowing exemption from paying duties and taxes. Along the Via Francigena was the Grange of the Santa Maria della Scale Hospital of Siena which served as an agricultural warehouse , and also as a hospital for the pilgrims.In the 1400’s the town’s defence structure was restored and strengthened more than once.
Many of the original 14th century town walls can be seen today , apart from a small part of the north west wall and a southern part. The 14th century watch towers can still be seen and some of these have been incorporated into other structures.
The North Gate is still intact , although modified many times over the centuries , along with the Cappuccini Gate with its original six sided central part coronated by small stone ledges which support the arched doorway. Lastly,in the Horti Leonini visitors can view what remains of the Cassero Tower which was destroyed during the German retreat of 1944.
On the slopes of Mount Amiata lies Bagni San Filippo - a spa at over 500 metres above sea level .Its sulphorous water rich in carbonate flows down to the valley forming limestone waterfalls in the middle of the woods . This magical place offers visitors a relaxing break as well as being free of charge. Nearby , the village of Castiglion d’Orcia , birthplace of Lorenzo di Pietro , otherwise known as il Vecchietto – The Old One.
This area is rich in thermal springs thanks to its vulcanic origins. Saturnia, San Casciano dei Bagni and Rapolano are just some of the spas that can easily be visited for a relaxing day surrounded by the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In Castiglione d’Orcia you can visit the town hall, the Churches of Santa Maria Maddalena , Santi Stefano and Degna, along with the ruins of the Aldobrandesca Fortress and the magnificent Fortress of Tentennano.

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