Italy is a European country that has probably the greatest number of volcanoes. The Apennine peninsula has even 12 of them, two of which – Etna and Stromboli – are active. The latter is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Tuscany also boasts a volcano – it is mount Amiata. So why don’t you include it into the program of your holiday in Tuscany?
Moount Amiata – is a dormant volcano in southern Tuscany, near the Lazio and Umbria regions, standing at 1738 m above sea level, attracting nature lovers in summer and ski lovers in winter. It is highest mountain in southern Tuscany, densely covered with old chestnuts, beeches and pines. When the weather is fine, an extraordinary view opens from the top of mount Amiata – the Maremma land extending for tens of kilometres, the hills of Siena, Bolsena and Trasimeno lakes. Amiata, from the most ancient times, was a kind of a socio-cultural island: neither the Etruscans, the Romans the Longobards, nor Siena or Florence was ever able to change the spirit of this place and its magical atmosphere.
During winter time, 8 ski lifts and 12 downhill trails are open at mount Amiata, together with a snow park. Mount Amiata is most beautiful before Christmas, when various processions take place there with bonfires and medieval-looking villages are illuminated by lights.
During summer time, you can find here many footpaths leading to rippling streams and lakes. At all times of the year, you can enjoy here the view of deer, fallow-deer, wolves and mountain goats living in the wild. There are also trails for mountain biking lovers set up at mount Amiata slopes.
Small villages located around Amiata volcano and on its slopes seem to be lost in the past. Perhaps the most interesting is the village of Borgo di Rocchette di Fazio, which has been known for almost thousand years and is associated with the Order of the Knights Templar. The most exciting buildings in Rocchette di Fazio are l’Ospedale di San Tomè (English: the Hospital of St. Thomas) and Pieve di Santa Cristina (English: the Church of St. Christina) that belonged to the Order of the Knights Templar. The signs of the Order can still be seen on the hospital walls, i.e. the cross of Templars, Agnus Dei and etc. The signs of the Order are also visible on the church and a legend tells that there is a Knight Templar buried here with his armour, weapons and horse. The spirit of the Knights Templar is still protecting the treasures buried in the village.
It is worth visiting the old Arcidosso, Piancastagnaio and Montelaterone castles. Abbazia di Sant’Antimo – is one of the greatest examples of Tuscan Romanesque architecture. You should stop by Villa Sforzesca di Castell’Azzara, Chiesa di Castel del Piano and Chiesa Peschiera di Santa Fiora. And for those, who are interested in history and want to see something unusual – Museo di Minerario Abbadia San Salvatore. It is a mercury mining area and a museum dedicated not only to telling the history of mining, but also to honour everyone who worked in Monte Amiata mines.