Southern Tuscany where Celle sul Rigo is located is part of ancient Tuscia which, at Etruscan times, covered the present northern Lazio, western Umbria and southern Tuscany. In this area, the Etruscans ruled from their city-states, which later went to the Roman Empire. In the center of Tuscia lies the big lake Lago di Bolsena. We have gathered a description of the places that we think are worth visiting on a holiday in southern Tuscany. Many places are historical or archaeological sites, but we have also endeavored to describe places for families with children, bathing, etc.
There are not many who knows it, but in the center of Tuscany and only 30 minutes drive from Celle sul Rigo lies the volcano Monte Amiata. The volcano is today over 1700 meters high and is clearly visible from Celle sul Rigo. The area is perfect for a summer hike, a mushroom tour in the fall and a skiing trip in the winter. The volcano is so high that in winter several meters of snowfall, and there is, therefore, a whole ski resort in "Alpen style" on the top of the mountain. We have been to Monte Aminiata in April and despite the fact that there were 20 degrees in Celle sul Rigo, there were 4 meters of snow on top of Monte Amiata.
Monte Amiata mountain has been used for the mining of mercury and there are some large but now abandoned mines. Mercury recovery has influenced the health of the population, especially in the city of Abbadia San Salvatori. Here symptoms of mercury poisoning have been seen for generations.
In the landscape around Monte Amiata you can still see that it is an active volcanic area as there is steam vapor in the air from the geothermal power plants.
PARCO ARCHEOMINERARIO DE SAN SILVESTRO
Parco Archeominerario de San Silvestro is an hour's drive by car from Celle sul Rigo in the coastal area of Piombino. It's a great place to visit on a day trip with kids. The area has been used for mining for over 2000 years and there are still ongoing mines in the area.
The excitement of the place is, besides exploring the old mines, and how old-age ore was used, the opportunity to drive into the mine in an old mining train. The train takes us to the other side of a mountain, and the old abandoned town of Rocca San Silvestro appeared on a mountain top. Hiking and climbing the mountain up to the old town. The city was founded about 1000 years ago when copper and silver were found in the area and it was later abandoned due to the economic slowdown.
The abandoned city provides a good insight into how and how close the old miners lived 1000 years ago.
ROMAN TERME IN SAN CASCIANO DEI BAGNI
When in Celle sul Rigo, do not miss a trip to the public thermal baths of San Casiano dei Bagni. These are said to originate from the Romans and have been maintained ever since. They consist of three stone basins with a flow of approx. 40 degrees hot mineral water from a nearby source. The baths can be visited all year around, and it is a quite special experience to sit in the 40-degree warm water.
These thermal baths are public, but nothing is done by the municipality to inform about them. They are at the foot of the rock where the old city of San Casiano dei Bagni is located. You can drive 1/3 of the way to the baths and then follow a fairly steep gravel road. In addition to some benches, there are absolutely no comforts at these thermal baths, but the charm is absolutely present and they are free and open to visitors all year round.
BAGNOREGIO - THE CITY THAT DISSAPEARS
West of Bolsena is a very old town located on the top of a hill. The special thing about the city is that it slowly disappears because the tuf-rock it is built on crumbles. The city has no cars as they simply can not get there! The city can only be reached by crossing a long steep bridge. During the times the city has been dangerous to live in as many houses are in danger of falling over the cliff.
The modern foundation has been made so the city is no longer at risk of disappearing :-)
HIKE ON MONTE CETONA
There are many possibilities for hiking in the area. If you are to heights then we recommend climbing Monte Cetona (1145 meters). At the tourist office in Cetona, you can get a special trekking map, which indicates altitude differences and recommended trails.
A good route is to drive by car to Fonte Vetriana, located on a side road between Radicofani and Sarteano. From Fonte Vetriana you can drive a little further on a very poor gravel road, but it is not recommended to drive too far unless you have a good 4WD. Park the car and follow the trail approx. 2 km. up to the top of Monte Cetona. It's a fantastic but tough trip. Remember water, as absolutely nothing can be bought on the trip
VULCI - ETRUSCAN RUIN TOWN
Vulci was one of the oldest and largest Etruscan cities in Tuscia. Like with Pompeii near Naples, Vulci has disappeared - not of the lava but of the tidings of time. Vulci was a huge city with city walls, river port, and temples. Today only a very small part of Vulci is excavated but you get an impression of the size when you see the overview maps that are set up in the welcoming area. You can walk around the old ruins of villas and see their size and even visit intact basements below the villas.
We would recommend visiting the city itself first and see the archaeological excavations first. Then follow the river until it reveals the most beautiful lake with a beach and a beautiful waterfall.
Not far from Vulci itself there is an old castle that houses a private Etruscan museum. The castle originally protected the bridge that crosses the river. The bridge is about 2500 years old.
Link to Parco Naturalistico Archeologico di Vulci: www.vulci.it