The Accona Desert or deserto di Accona is a semi-arid area in the center of Crete senesi, near the comune of Asciano


The Accona Desert

The Accona Desert or Deserto di Accona is a semi-arid area in Tuscany, Italy, in the center of the so-called Crete senesi, near the comune of Asciano. It is characterized by calanques and dome-shaped formations locally known as biancane (deriving from Italian bianco, white, due to their light shade).
According to the Peveril Meigs classification this is a semi arid landscape due to the low rainfall which is less than 600mm yearly.
Consequently vegetation is scarce , instead there is a lunar like landscape. The area has carried this name since the middle ages and was depicted in the frescos of Buon Governo di Siena.
The imposing Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggoire was built on the southern border of Deserto di Accona in medieval times and was destined to be a hermitage.
Due to yearly rain amounting to no more than 600 mm, cultivations take advantage of a large irrigation system.

Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Known for its enchanting landscapes, its fantastic and genuine food and beautiful towns as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena.
Podere Santa Pia is an enchanting Tuscan farmhouse, nestled in the vineyards and olive groves of the rolling Maremma hills. This privileged location offers a spectacular vista over the charming medieval town of Cinigiano and the entire Ombrone Valley. It is the perfect place for your relaxing holiday with your friends and family. The property consists of 4 large bedrooms furnished in a classic Tuscan style and 2 bathroom with shower, a big full-equipment kitchen with a fireplace and a big living room and dining room. With its original kitchen and the wood burning pizza oven, Podere Santa Pia offers an upbeat atmosphere. The farmhouse has been renovated and provided with all modern comforts (satellite TV, Wi-Fi Internet access, washing machine, dishwasher, and so on), with an eye to preserve the typical and charming elements of these rural lodgings. There you have, then, cosy and warm rooms with traditional terracotta-tiled floors, stone walls and wood-beamed ceilings. And the kitchen, furnished for pleasant meals with traditional Tuscan dishes (bread soup or "ribollita", tomato soup, "fettunta", Florentine-style steak, stewed wild boar, cinta senese cured meat, and other Tuscan specialities).
The impressive garden (9000 square mt.) allows you to enjoy a relaxing holiday and is perfect for taking time out and lounging about while sipping on a glass of local wines, Montecucco DOC and Brunello DOC.
Sitting in the garden, one can enjoy our dawns and dusks, with their jubilee of colours ranging from dark yellow to pink, orange and red. In this scenario, it is often possible to observe the flight of pheasants, falcons and buzzards, great tits, chaffinches and sparrows.
This is an enchanting place far from noise, ideal to regenerate body and mind, where one has the opportunity enjoy pleasant walks or rides on mountain bike. The summer breeze that caresses Podere Santa Pia guarantees "cool" holidays even in the hottest weather.

Tuscan farmhouses | Podere Santa Pia

Monte Oliveto Maggiore abbey   Abbey of Sant 'Antimo  

Banfi, Castello di Poggio alle Mura,
view from Podere Santa Pia

Sovicille, Pieve di Ponte allo Spino
The Crete senesi makes up a huge part of the south east of Siena nad includes the districts of Asciano, Buonconvento, Monteroni d’Arbia, Rapolano Terme and San Giovanni d’Asso. It’s hilly with little vegetation where gulleys and crevasses make it seem like a lunar landscape.
Up until the middle ages this area was known as the Desert of Accona. It seems an unhospitable place but it has maintained it original environment, although this makes it difficult to grow grapevines and olive trees.
Thanks to the irrigation scheme that uses the stream waters that abound in this area, it is now possible to grow wheat, sunflowers and forage.

The Chianti Senese area in the province of Siena extends north of the city until the border with the province of Florence.
On the east side the northern part is divided between the province of Arezzo across Monti del Chianti, while in the south the area goes towards Crete senesi.
The southern limits of this geographical zone is marked by the city of Siena, while the in the west there is Val d’Elsa. The districts in this area are Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardegna, Gaiole in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Siena.

The Metalliferous Hills make up the main and most extensive hill and mountainous system in the Apennine range of Tuscany.
They extend to the central eastern part of Tuscany covering a good part of four provinces, the south east part of the province of Livorno, the southern section of the province of Pisa, the area southwest of the province of Siena and the north western area of the province of Grosseto. The territory, apart from the peaks of Poggio di Montieri and Cornate di Gerfalco which both are over 1000 metres high, is predominately hilly.
The subsoil is supremely rich in various types of minerals and in the area between Pisa and Grosseto, here is even a source of geothermic energy which takes the form of gases from the volcano (soffione boracifero).

Mount Amiata is part of the Apennine range in Tuscany with a portion in the province of Grosseto and another in the province of Siena.
It covers the districts of Abbadia San Salvatore, San Fiora, Arcidosso, Castel del Piano, Seggiano, Piancastagnaio and Castellazzara.

Val di Chiana senese (or Valdichiana) was origionally a flood valley in Tuscany nestled between the province of Arezzo and the province of Siena.
The pointed Val di Chiana is a furrowed valley about 100kms long and about 1832 sq.kms wide.
The valley streches out north south between the Arezzo basin and the Orvieto plain and takes in the whole hydrographic basin of Canale Maestro della Chiana, the main water course which starts at the Lake of Montepulchiano.
The east side borders on the pre Apennines with some of the highest peaks in the area: l’Alta Sant’Egidio (1057m), Mount Lignano (837m) and Mount Corneta (744m). The west joins Val d’Orcia.
It is mainly hilly with a long flat strip near Canale Meastro.

The Val di Merse runs south west of the province of Siena, wedged in between the lower north east slopes of the Metalliferous hills, along the course of the Val di Merse river.
The districts are Chiusdino, Monticiano, Murlo and Sovicille.

The Val d’Orcia is a wide valley in the province of Siena, north east of Mount Amiata, near the Lazio border.
The river Orcia crosses it in the centre and it has splendid panoramic scenery with some old medieval centres like Pienza and Montalcino. It is also an important nature, artistic and historical park. Since the 2nd June 2004 it has been given the status of a World Heritage site by UNESCO because of its wonderful scenery and state of preservation.
For the same reasons it had an incredible influence on the Renaissance painters.
Val d’Orcia is an exceptional example of how a natural landscape was reshaped during the Renaissance to mirror government ideals and to deliberately create a pleasing picture.
The scenery was made famous by the Senese school of painters which grew up during the time of the Renaissance. The image of Val d’Orcia is one of people living in complete harmony with nature and landscape which became the symbol of the Renaissance and which heavily influenced the trend of thought about landscape in future years.
The districts which form part of Val d’Orcia are Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani, and San Quirico d’Orcia. Other important centres are Monticchiello, Bagno Vignoni, montenero d’Orcia, and Montegiovi. Many farms, rural houses, rocks topped with towers loose themselves in this isolated and peaceful countryside.
The cypress tree is typical of this area, and the typical food is Pecorino cheese and Brunello di Montalcino wine.