Unesco World Heritages Sites in Tuscany: what to visit close to Siena
25 February 2021
Everyone has wondered, before or during a trip to Tuscany: how many Unesco sites are there in Tuscany?
In this article we focus on those in the Siena area, closest to Borgo Tre Rose, because they are easy to reach and are a must-see for those who is looking for a unique travel experience, discovering the many masterpieces (works of art but even the nature treasures) that distinguish this land.
How many Unesco sites are there in Tuscany
In Tuscany the Unesco World Heritage Sites are 7 and include Florence, Pisa, the Medici villas and gardens, Siena, San Gimignano, Pienza and the Val d’Orcia. As is well known, Italy is the country that boasts the largest number of Unesco sites in the world (55) and the province of Siena is a treasure trove of wonders, an itinerary that you cannot miss.
Every traveler that is passionate of art and history should visit these destinations that have kept their charm intact throughout the centuries.
Unesco sites close to Siena
Siena, San Gimignano, Pienza and the Val d’Orcia are the 4 top destinations. We recommend starting the route from Montepulciano after having dedicated your time to discover our romantic town, and of course, it takes a few days to visit all the cities we recommend and at least some of the most famous attractions that characterize them.
You have probably already heard the definition of “Medieval Manhattan” referring to San Gimignano, due to its towers which once were many more than the 13 currently visible.
The distance from Montepulciano is about 105 km and it is worth planning a route to admire the incredible views that can be seen from the tops of its towers. Furthermore, it’s here that Vernaccia was born, one of the wine excellences of Tuscany.
San Gimignano represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and bears a unique testimony of a cultural tradition of the past, and finally, it is an exceptional example of medieval architectural style.
Siena is worldwide renowned not only for the Palio but even for its extraordinary artistic heritage, enclosed in a historic center rich in monuments and museums.
It was included by Unesco among the World Heritage Sites in 1995 because it’s a masterpiece of inventiveness in which the buildings have been designed to be adapted to the entire design of the urban structure and, moreover, to form a whole with the surrounding cultural landscape.
Siena is also famous for its 17 Contrada and is only 52 km from Montepulciano; visiting it is also a must for those who have already been there!
When we talk about works of art in the shape of a town, Pienza immediately comes to mind, in fact, it’s the “ideal city” designed according to the wishes of the humanist Pope Pius II.
It’s possible to visit Palazzo Piccolomini, the residence of Pope Pius II himself, and its garden overlooking the Val d’Orcia, the first hanging garden of the Renaissance period. Pienza represents the masterpiece of the architect Bernardo Rossellino, in particular the main square and in the surrounding palaces, which make it the most important continuer of Leon Battista Alberti.
It is not a town but an extended territory that includes the Sienese towns Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia. The reason for inclusion in the Unesco list lies in the exceptional example of how the natural landscape was redesigned in the Renaissance period to reflect the ideals of good governance and to inspire artists throughout the centuries to imagine and depict panoramas, views and horizons.
Furthermore, the landscape of the Val d’Orcia was celebrated by the painters of the Sienese school, which flourished during the Renaissance; the reproductions of its landscapes, depicting people living in harmony with nature, have become icons of the Renaissance and have profoundly influenced the way of thinking about the landscape.
This union perfectly represents the uniqueness of Tuscany and the astonishment that these places arouse in those who visit them for the first time. This is why we are sure that each itinerary can be unique and unrepeatable, without ever tiring the traveler who undertakes it.