Crete Senesi life park: All the off road routes of the Crete Senesi

Crete Senesi life park: All the off road routes of the Crete Senesi

Discovering the lesser known and more hidden landscapes of the Crete Senesi, starting from Podere Salicotto

Are you a lover of off-road itineraries? Is exploring landscapes outside the conventional tourist routes your dream?

For lovers of trekking and cycling in nature, about half an hour’s drive from our Podere Salicotto farmhouse, you will find a large park waiting for you, a true natural paradise, the Crete Senesi life park. Discover this large park where you can go hiking, biking or horseback riding in the most beautiful nature of the Crete Senesi. Here you will find exclusive itineraries, off the beaten track, and you can set off on an adventure along the white roads where you can admire biancane and calanchi at a slow pace, to admire everything that surrounds you. In some sections, the itineraries cross the historical path of the Via Lauretana, the ancient Etruscan-Roman road that connects Cortona to Montepulciano and Siena, or the Eroica cycling route, the setting for an historic cycling competition with vintage bicycles.

The lunar landscape of the Crete Senesi

For the uninitiated, the biancane are dome-shaped reliefs with a characteristic light color, while the gullies deep furrows in the ground, are another of the classic lunar landscapes that characterize the territory of the Crete Senesi. Starting from Podere Salicotto, here you will find a super-equipped garage for the maintenance of your bicycles. If you wish to rent them from us, we will be happy to provide you with all the information you need for your excursions. Click HERE for more information.

To discover this beautiful landscape we suggest 4 easily accessible routes, where you will find many exclusive and off-road monuments to visit in the Crete Senesi.

The ancient tower of Montalceto 

Montalceto path

Around the hills of Asciano, one of the most iconic and rich in sacred art villages in the area, this circular route awaits you where you can reach the promontory of Montalceto. The hill was an ancient place of prayer, while the ancient medieval tower of Montalceto was built in 1463. The tower built within an oak wood is the only visible remnant of a village: around, in fact, there are the remains of ancient foundations. A place rich in history, where you can find traces of the ancient Etruscans and Romans. For example, along the way you can observe the necropolis of Poggio Pinci: a refuge of 9 tombs dating back to between the 5th and 1st centuries BC.

The route starts from the station of Asciano – Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the path will lead you to the tower of Montalceto and the church of Sant’Alberto. The Romanesque church was a refuge for two pious men: the blessed hermit Alberto Camaldolense who lived in penance within its walls, and Sant’Alberto di Montalceto, who decided to spend his last years here, after a life of adventure.


Technical Data

Start Point:  Asciano Train Station – Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Difficulty: T (Tourist)

Length: 8,7 km (Out/One Way) 8,7 km (Return)

Travel Time: 2h 20’ (Out/One Way) 2h 5’ (Return)

Total Ascent: 327 m

Total Descent: 68 m

Asciano route

Close your eyes and imagine that you were millers of a few centuries ago who carried sacks of wheat to the mills along these white roads. The Asciano route will start from the historic center of the ancient village and will retrace the ancient Via Lauretana, leading you to Serre di Rapolano, a village renowned for the extraction of travertine. As pilgrims of the Middle Ages, take the opportunity to visit Asciano, one of the most iconic villages of the Crete Senesi to discover that it was once considered the granary of Siena. Today we will not talk about classical monuments but we will let you discover a “different” village: for example, did you know that 12 mills surrounded the town? The Mulino dei Preti was already operational in 1178 and is easily visible from the panoramic terrace. In the vicinity you will also find the Chapel of S. Sebastiano where travelers entrusted themselves and prayed to avert the risk of plague and other ailments.

The oldest church in Asciano, on the other hand, is the Pieve di S. Ippolito, inside which there is a baptismal font and frescoes of great beauty. The authors? The young S. Ippolito and the frescoed saints seem to be self-portraits of a young Raphael and his teacher Pinturicchio! A different Asciano awaits you, and if you want to find out more about what this village can offer you, click HERE.

Technical Data

Start Point:  Asciano Train Station – Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Difficulty: T (Tourist)

Length: 6,6 km

Travel Time: 1h 35’

Total Ascent: 120 m

NB: Circular route

Path the biancane

A circular route for lovers of suggestive landscapes, certainly the best known tourist itinerary of those mentioned. The destination is one of the most beautiful corners of the Crete Senesi, within the Accona desert. Between the biancane that change color every hour and season, and the show of the Site Transitoire ( click HERE and HERE), famous open air work by Jean-Paul Philippe, you will be greeted by unforgettable views.

The Accona desert boasts one of the most photographed corners of the Crete, with its eroded soil rich in bleached reliefs and furrows. This clay landscape is a distinctive sign of the area, among hills rich in hues, cypresses and isolated residences. Don’t forget to bring your camera, here you will find fantastic views to capture!

Technical Data

Start Point:  Parking area after the turn for Leonina (from SP 438)

Difficulty: T (Tourist)

Length: 5,5 km

Travel Time: 1h 40’

Total Ascent: 95 m

NB: Circular route


Camposodo Route (Arbia)

This easy route brings to life an atmosphere of yesteryear: Arbia, a small town born spontaneously in the industrial era, represents the genuine rural landscape of the past! The route starts from Arbia station. Leave the town and proceed along the provincial Lauretana, take a dirt road on the right, following it up to a crossroads where there is an ancient tabernacle. From here, turning right, you will pass through beautiful landscapes on the Crete di Camposodo, where you will find barren and lunar landscapes, and then return to Arbia following the dirt road.

Technical Data

Start Point:  Arbia Train Station

Difficulty: T (Tourist)

Length: 6,8 km

Travel Time: 1h 50’

Total Ascent: 90 m

NB: Circular route

The most beautiful Tuscany, among cypresses and rolling hills, awaits you at the gates of Podere Salicotto. Our farmhouse is ready to give you glimpses of the truest and most authentic Tuscany, rewarding you with moments of pure relaxation immersed in nature. You will find a variety of different landscapes to enchant you in every season: green colors in spring, dazzling under the summer sun, mysterious when the winter mist covers the fields. You can relax at our farmhouse while you fall in love and slowly walk through these magnificent lands: we will take care of the rest!

Click HERE and HERE find out more about our offers!

We are waiting for you at Podere Salicotto!