Clay Hills

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Siena Clay hills

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Just south of Siena is a particular area called the Crete Senesi, or Sienese Clay Hills. This range of hills is composed of grey clay which gives the landscape an odd, moon-like appearance, broken only by a few lonely cypress and oak trees, and a few isolated farms.

The sediments of clay date back to the Pliocene, when the area was covered by sea between 2.5 and 4.5 million years ago. Now, the area is a gorgeous touristic attraction that is also famous for its production of the rare white truffle.

Things to see

The closest towns in the area are Asciano, a well preserved medieval village, and San Giovanni d’Asso, a small medieval hamlet guarded by a large castle. Asciano is known for its Etruscan Museum, housed in the Gothic Church of San Bernardino, as well as the Romanesque Basilica of Sant’Agata, which houses the Museum of Sacred Art and the Archeological Museum. The impressive castle that overlooks the hills around San Giovanni d’Asso houses the Truffle Museum, and is also the home of a festival that celebrates the history and harvest of the local truffles.