Experience Tuscany



As a guest of the Borgo Finocchieto, you are at once surrounded by its secluded beauty and also by Tuscany’s rich cultural heritage that awaits you just beyond the Borgo’s front gate. From the host of available destinations, activities and adventures, your choices are limited only by your interest and imagination. The Borgo’s enviable location means that there are many activities to explore during your stay at the Borgo such as walks and bike rides in the surrounding hills, day-trips to nearby Montalcino, Pienza, Siena and Florence, tasting the finest of wines, visiting museums and churches to contemplate the cornerstones of Renaissance art and architecture, tasting just-pressed olive oil on the farm or shopping at designer outlets in Tuscany.


Visitors come back to this area year after year thanks to Tuscan charm, breathtaking vistas, jewel-like hilltop towns and, of course, world famous Tuscan artistry in wine and food. While we find that guests spend more time enjoying the Borgo than they anticipated (some have a hard time pulling themselves away), the Crete Senesi, Val d’Orcia and other nearby areas offer endless opportunities for fascinating day trips.


Whatever your choice of activity or destination, our experienced staff looks forward to helping you make your outings memorable, easy and fun. No matter what you need – whether advice; individual itinerary planning with printed directions and maps; access to our top-of-the-line bikes; tickets for events; lunch reservations at your destination; or pre-arranged tours with expert guides and transportation – you can count on us to help you make the most of your time in Tuscany.

Our time at the fantastic and beautiful Borgo Finocchieto was a “once in a lifetime” adventure! You and your staff made our Italian excursions remarkable, fantastic, and near perfect! Our memories here are ones of passion and knowledge.

Paul and Sharon, AIPC

Below are links to a selection of destinations and activities – including detailed itineraries for many of them – that are among our guests’ favorites.








Situated mere minutes from the Borgo, the town of Buonconvento is a convenient stop on the way to or from other towns, but also a genuinely worthwhile destination all its own. Teeming with local life, Buonconvento can be a pleasure to stroll in the evening or Saturdays when the market is in town. Additionally it offers convenient access to a supermarket as well as smaller shops including the famous Dolcezze di Nanni bakery, a butcher, fruit and vegetable shop, pharmacy, gelateria and more. A handful of gift shops, including La Dolce Vita’s handmade leather bags, also make a visit well worthwhile.


Buonconvento is located on the Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrimage route that connected Rome to the rest of Europe. Buonconvento started out as a trading post in the late 12th century and grew to be a major town in the province of Siena in part thanks to traffic drawn by the nearby monastic stopovers of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Sant’Antimo throughout the Grand Tour era and persists today.


Now Buonconvento is a working town with its own small industry, but it is also a treasure. Its medieval walls, picturesque center and quality museums are well worth exploration.


The Museo d’Arte Sacra della Val d’Arbia houses masterpieces by artists of the Sienese school, including a Madonna and Child by Duccio di Buoninsegna and another by Pietro Lorenzetti, that for the most part come from the properties of the noble Sienese families who once housed these works in their nearby country homes.


The Museo Etnografico della Mezzadria is an institution created to educate the public about the system of sharecropping (mezzadria) that dominated rural life here possibly from as long ago as Roman times until well into the 1950’s. Displays include the recreation of what local living quarters for farmers were like (probably very close to the situation at Borgo Finocchieto during the last two centuries).


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.







Monte Oliveto Monastery & San Giovanni d’Asso

Crete Senesi (“Siennese clays”) got its name from the distinctive, grey soil which over millennia has been laid bare by erosion to form the distinctive craggy badlands known as calanchi and the clay knolls called binacane or mammelloni. A day visiting the Crete – an amazing landscape dotted with Tuscan farm houses, castles and ancient villages – is a photographer’s paradise and the highlight of many a visitor to Borgo Finocchieto.


The variety and richness of this region’s lesser-known towns and sites withinkilometers of Buonconvento will surprise and delight its visitors.


among the many possibilities:


A morning visit to Monte Oliveto Monastery where one can partake in a service or simply tour the grounds and the monks’ apothecary. Be sure not to miss the spectacular frescoes by Signorelli and Sodoma in the cloisters.


Lunch at the monastery, in the miniature hamlet of Chiusure, or in San Giovanni d’Asso.


A stop at the white truffle museum in San Giovanni d’Asso. A self-guided visit to one of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets, the Bosco della Ragnaia sculpture garden by American artist, Sheppard Craige.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.







A mecca for Italian wine lovers, Montalcino’s territory astounds with the quality, beauty, and character of its two hundred vineyards, all arranged in sixteen square kilometers around a hill, its pinnacle the town of the same name. The town of Montalcino’s pristine streets and astounding views make it a worthy stop on any tour of Tuscany, and no such trip would be complete without a stop at the Sant’Antimo Monastery. Just ten kilometers downhill from Montalcino, approachable by foot, bicycle or car, the austere Romanesque abbey was a commission by Charlemagne on the pilgrimage route to Rome.


highlights of your montalcino adventure include:


A morning touring well-respected Montalcino vineyards including Altesino, Caparzo, and Il Paradiso di Frassina, and tasting world famous Brunello.


A leisurely lunch on site at one of the vineyards or travel uphill to the Montalcino town center for lunch at one of our recommended restaurants.


Tasting and shopping the incredible selection at Montalcino’s Enoteca la Fortezza inside the walls of the city’s storied Fortress. Climb the tower for an incredible view of the Val d’Orcia from the ramparts.


A stroll among the town’s boutiques and artisan workshops.


A sidetrack to the Romanesque Sant’Antimo Abbey, whether a short car trip or beautiful, hours-long journey on foot.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.







Rich in history, art, architecture, music, and cuisine, Florence is a veritable “best of” in the development of western culture. Thanks to a compact center, this capital city of 400,000 inhabitants and birthplace of the Renaissance with hundreds of notable sights and museums, is quite manageable for a pleasant visit.


highlights include:


The opportunity to see some of the Renaissance’s most famous artistic works including Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Accademia and the Ufizzi.


Finding proof of Brunelleschi’s mathematical greatness as you climb the famous cupola at Florence’s Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore.


The great churches of San Lorenzo and Santa Croce, where you can see the tombs of Michelangelo and Rossini among others.


The discovery of lesser-known art by Renaissance greats at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Medici Chapel, and Bargello sculpture gallery.


A walk down the hidden Vasari Corridor from the Uffizi that passes above the shops on Ponte Vecchio all the way to the Pitti Palace.


A visit to the homes, now museums, of Dante and Michelangelo.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.







Only 35 minutes from the Borgo, the medieval city of Siena is a must-see destination with a memorable history, a world-class repository of medieval art and architecture, and the site of the famous Palio horse race held twice a year in the city’s expansive public square, the Piazza del Campo.


(Click here to view a short film about the Palio in our Video Gallery.)


Siena rose to greatness strategically located on the Via Francigena, the pilgrimage route from Northern Europe to Rome. The city flourished as one of Europe’s largest cities from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, larger than Paris or London and rivaling Florence. Artistic projects proliferated, filling Siena with Gothic masterpieces.


The Palazzo Publico with its Mangia Tower offers an outstanding view of the city and its surrounding countryside. The palace houses a museum of Sienese painting, including Martini’s Maesta, the Middle Ages’ largest painting, and perhaps its most famous, Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government. In the surrounding city, a wealth of palaces and churches demonstrate civic and non-secular architecture. Siena’s Santa Maria Assunta, a twelfth century cathedral, rivals Florence as a dictionary of Italian greats. Its collection includes sculptures by Michelangelo, Pinturicchio’s frescoed Piccolomini library, and frescoes by Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, and Jacopo della Quercia.


highlights of your visit might include:


A tour of Siena with a licensed, Borgo-recommended tour guide, or a self-guided visit using our recommendations. Visit the Palazzo Pubblico’s renowned Allegory of Good and Bad Government and marvel at what would have been Europe’s largest cathedral, the Duomo, which still houses incredible works by Duccio, Michelangelo, Pisano, and Bernini.


Stroll the winding medieval streets, witnessing the everyday life of this truly Italian city.


Enjoy lunch in a recommended restaurant or shop for your own picnic in one of the city’s markets.


Watch the daily parade of locals and visitors that flock to the Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s most distinct public squares and site of the world-famous Palio bareback horse race.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.






San Quirico, Pienza and Montepulciano

San Quirico


San Quirico emerged as an important spot on the Via Francigena pilgrimage route to Rome, the gateway south through the Orcia Valley. Its walls and intact gates remain from the 12th century. This is a pleasant stopover on a tour of the greater Val d’Orcia, whether heading to south Bagno Vignoni or la Foce or east to Pienza and Montepulciano. Be sure to wander the Horti Leonini. An al fresco meal at Vecchio Forno is always a good bet for an authentic Tuscan experience.




Pienza is exceptional among a bevy of Sienese medieval towns thanks to a three-year makeover by favorite child Pope Pius II, which turned it into a model of Renaissance perfection in the mid-fifteenth century. It is also home to the renowned Pecorino di Pienza, a cheese that owes its special aroma to the fragrant fields where sheep graze all around the town. This truly charming town should definitely appear in a tour of the area’s best.




Montepulciano’s name is now famous for what Francesco Redi called “the king of all wines.” A beautiful city perched high (665m) above the Val di Chiana and the Val d’Orcia on a narrow strip of tufa rock, Montepulciano boasts an array of beautiful buildings and palazzi and an equally enticing wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The tower of the Palazzo Communale affords an uncommon view that stretches all the way to Cortona and Umbria’s Lake Trasimeno.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.






Other Hill Towns



Tiny, perfectly kept Murlo is a quick drive from the Borgo and a nice outing for a dinner of pizza in a charmingly pristine, walled town that is really only one circle of buildings. It is also the home of a major Etruscan excavation site that has become a source of intense pride to Murlo’s residents. Here, the people claim DNA proof that they are in fact of Etruscan heritage.


San Galgano


Locally referred to as “La Chiesa Scoperchiata” or “Beheaded Church,” San Galgano is at the same time one of the best Gothic works in Italy and Tuscany’s answer to Arthurian legend. This site makes for a nice several-hour excursion from the Borgo, or can be combined with a tour of southern Montalcino and Sant’Antimo for a longer day. Plot a route from San Galgano through Roccastrada and Paganico to arrive at Sant’Antimo and finish by driving through Montalcino and back to Buonconvento and the Borgo.




Certainly the most distinct silhouette in Italy, Monteriggioni’s thirteenth-century walls with fourteen towers were first immortalized by Dante, who described them as “giants in an abyss” in the Divine Comedy. The town inside is little more than a handful of shops and cafes. Stop here to break up the trip north to San Gimignano, Volterra, or even Florence, or combine it with a day in Chianti. Set aside a few minutes to take in the views over the wall as you circle this truly charming town.


San Gimignano


Coined “the medieval Manhattan,” San Gimignano’s distinct skyline comprises fifteen towers built by noble families in the 12th and 13th centuries as signs of power. The town is known for Tuscany’s only white wine to earn DOCG appellation, Vernaccia. It is also a center for the production of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, and an early source of wealth for the town that once boasted a population of 15,000, twice its present size.




Volterra’s austere look, on a windswept perch atop gray volcanic hills, lends itself naturally to its ancient roots. Here are the best Etruscan ruins in the area. An ideal half-day in Volterra would involve exploring some of the town’s many ruins before strolling town in search of alabaster souvenirs and a picnic lunch to take to the surprisingly lush garden that sits overlooking rooftops, next to the Medici citadel.




It is not difficult to surmise why Frances Mayes captured the imaginations of so many in her bestselling accounts of life in Cortona. The town, a series of terraced roads and sharp uphill alleyways surrounded by medieval walls, abounds in Tuscan charm. Cortona is a good spot for restaurants, antique and linen shops, and people watching from its busy piazzas. A day trip could be combined with Arezzo or an Umbrian excursion.




With origins in the second millennium BC, present day Arezzo is experiencing a new revival as an important Etruscan center and tourist destination. Famous for its gold works, Abrezzo is considered the world capital. The city positively bursts with antique shops year round, but once a month venders from near and far travel to Arezzo for its famous Fiera Antiquaria, or antique fair. The art lover should be sure to visit Piero della Francesca’s famous frescoes.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.






Chianti Wine Region

World famous Chianti wine originally got its name from the area between Florence and Siena, which had long gone by that moniker. However, the marketability of that very name in selling wine led many a region to petition for the ability to produce the same product in its turf. Chianti is now made in most of Tuscany. In order to distinguish itself, however, the original Chianti community (and some of the surrounding area) took on the designation Chianti Classico. To further the association with that important name, many of the new communities quickly added in Chianti to their official names in the late part of the twentieth century, as Greve did in 1972.


On your way to tour the wineries, you will travel picturesque southern Chianti along the Chiantigiana highway to Castellina. Continue on to the famous Chianti towns of Radda and Gaiole. In northern Chianti, visit Panzano, Greve, and San Casciano. Please see our expert staff for assistance in arranging your trip. Our list of vineyards gives you information if you would like to schedule your own visits or allow us to make reservations for you.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.






La Foce

Anglo-American author Iris Origo saw Italy through a stage of incredible change, from Savoy monarchy through Mussolini and the Second World War, and from the centuries-old peasant farming system to Italy’s much belated industrialization. She left a collection of literature, a personal account of German occupation and thrilling escape during wartime, a legacy of conscientious farming in a land hard to conquer, and a beautiful, manicured estate in the picturesque Val d’Orcia. The spectacular Italianate gardens are the design of Cecil Pinsent, one of Tuscany’s great twentieth century landscape architects and are currently maintained by Peter Curzon, also a landscape architect who oversaw the gardens and landscape design of the Borgo.


The estate is open for tours on Wednesday without appointment. Otherwise, you will want to work with our hosting staff to find a time to visit. The route to La Foce takes you through a lovely swath of the Val d’Orcia. From Monticchiello, you will take the southeastern road and follow the signs for La Foce where, shortly before arriving at La Foce, you will ride down the winding, picturesque road immortalized in the movie The English Patient.


For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.



“Our Italian holiday was for us the culmination of a lifetime, celebrating our anniversary amid the people, their food, their beliefs and their beautiful countryside. We say ‘molte grazie’ for making our stay a daily surprise with our day trips and for showing us hospitality in every way possible. The Borgo Finocchieto will remain forever in our hearts.”

michael and stefany dreher, niles, michigan