Crete Senesi

Visit Asciano near Siena
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Things to do in Asciano near Siena

Set on a hill in the upper valley of the river Ombrone, a short distance from the left bank of the river, the hamlet of Asciano is one of the main centers of the Crete Senesi.
The historic center of the village, developed along a main street, corso Matteotti, is still partially delimited by the fourteenth-century walls on which stand some defensive towers of various heights.

What to see in Asciano

Asciano preserves numerous quality buildings and a conspicuous artistic heritage, let’s see what the main things to see:

Asciano near Siena porta dei bianchi
Porta dei Bianchi (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Museo di Palazzo Corboli

Going through Porta dei Bianchi, you enter the main street overlooked by many of the main points of interest in Asciano. On the left, one of the first buildings we meet is Palazzo Corboli, home of the Palazzo Corboli Museum, extended to the Museo civico archeologico e d’arte sacra palazzo Corboli; in fact inside the building there are not one but two museums.

The museum of sacred art winds its way between the first and second floors of the building, where we can admire several high-level works attributed to masters as Giovanni Pisano, Segna di Bonaventura and Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Among the many works on display you can admire one of the absolute masterpieces of the fifteenth century in Siena: the Nativity of the Virgin by the Maestro dell’Osservanza.

Arrived in the middle of the second floor you’ll find the beginning of the Archaeological section. Here there are exhibits from the excavations of the Ombrone Valley, such as those of the necropolis of Poggio Pinci and the mound of Molinello, from the necropolis of Poggione (in the municipality of Castelnuovo Berardenga) and from the Roman baths of Campo Muri (in the area of Rapolano Terme). It is a truly vast collection of Etruscan and Roman finds. The museum as a whole is a real surprise, to visit absolutely!

Opening hours:
November-March: saturday and sunday 10.30-13.30 and 15.00-18.00
April-June and September-October: sunday and tuesday 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00
July-August: sunday and tuesday 10.00-13.00 and 17.00-20.00

Tickets: regular 5 euro; reduced 4 euro

Torre della Mencia

Continuing along corso Matteotti, you will encounter the Church of Sant’Agostino, on the left, and then, on the right, the Tower della Mencia (Torre della Mencia or civic tower): an elegant medieval tower, extensively remodeled during the 16th century when a Bell was placed on its top.

Asciano near Siena Torre della Mencia
Torre della Mencia (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Turning in via Amos Cassioli, you will arrive in Piazza del Grano where there is a monumental fountain, made by Antonio Ghini in 1472.

Basilica di Sant’Agata

Now, get back on the main street where you can find the Basilica di Sant’Agata. Placed at the top of a steps, this beautiful romanesque church, founded in the eleventh century, has numerous architectural elements of Lombard origin. Inside are preserved some works like a fresco, on the right side, depicting the Madonna and Child, a wooden crucifix made in the 15th century and a Pietà frescoed on the left wall.

Things to do in Asciano: visit the Basilica di Sant'Agata
Basilica di Sant’Agata (Photo by Vignaccia76 / CC BY)

Chiesa di San Francesco

At the end of the main road, you can continue on the right in the direction of the convent of Saint Francis costrutio during the 13th century. The chiesa di San Francesco, remodeled during the 17th century, preserves some frescos from the 14th century.

Church of Saint Francis in Asciano
Chiesa di San Francesco (Photo by Vignaccia76 / CC BY)

Museo Cassioli

Coming back, if you follow via Mameli you can get to the Museum Cassioli, dedicated to the local artist Amos Cassioli (1832-1891) and his son Giuseppe (1865-1942).

Opening hours:
November-March: saturday and sunday 10.30-13.30 and 15.00-18.00
April-June and September-October: sunday and tuesday 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00
July-August: sunday and tuesday 10.00-13.00 and 17.00-20.00

Tickets: regular 5 euro; reduced 4 euro

Cumulative ticket (Corboli+Cassioli): regular 7 euro; reduced 5 euro
Free for kids under 6 years, handicapped persons and their accompanying persons. Free also for residents if they accompany guests.

Things to do near Asciano

Immediately outside Asciano, it will be a 10 minute walk from the Porta dei Bianchi, you can visit the cappella dei Santi Fabiano e Sebastiano, which houses a beautiful fresco Assumption of the Virgin by Girolamo di Benvenuto.

In the vicinity of Asciano we point out the spa town of Rapolano Terme and the presence of some interesting archaeological sites such as the Etruscan necropolis of Poggio Pinci (datable from the second half of the 5th century BC) and the tumulus of Molinello (VII-I century BC).

In the Asciano countryside, between Leonina and Mucigliani, one can encounter a singular installation that stands out in an isolated position. This is the “Site Transitoire“, a stone work created in 1993 by the French artist Jean Paul Philippe. The monument is composed of several elements: on the ground there are some slabs, a chair to accommodate visitors, a bench and a window oriented to receive the last ray of sun at sunset on the summer solstice.

The most classic itinerary for a visit to the Crete Senesi is the one that leads from Asciano to Buonconvento, a walled village considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Along the road to Buonconvento, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is also worth a visit.

Events and traditions in Asciano

It will not be as famous as the one in Siena, but even Asciano has its own Palio. This is the “Palio dei Ciuchi“, an event that sees the districts of Asciano challenge each other in a race in which the jockeys ride donkeys in place of horses. From time to time, the streets of the historic center of Asciano are animated by the Mercatino delle Crete Senesi, a traditional market where you can find many local products and artisan works.

Where to eat in Asciano

On the main street of the town, you can find a very nice restaurant called La Botteghina. Ideal for a quick lunch, in this small traditional place you can taste many local products of excellent quality.

How to get to Asciano

By train: Asciano has its own train station (actually there are two!) which is regularly served by regional trains.

By car: coming from the A1 highway, take the Valdichiana exit, follow the signs for Bettole and Trequanda and then continue on SP60 up to Asciano.
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