The heart of the Crete Senesi
Asciano is a village nestled in the famous Crete Senesi area which has been inhabited since ancient times as the discovery of an Etruscan necropolis revealed.
In medieval times, we have the first mention of the location in relation to the dispute between the bishops of Siena and Arezzo for the possession of some churches including the Parish of Asciano.
After being subjected to the rule of the Tolomei during the 13th century, the town in the mid-14th century returned under direct Sienese control in the mid 14th century until 1554 when it fell under the Medici family, along with Siena.
Located along the Via Lauretana Asciano has always been a place of exchange and meeting and has hosted many important artists. Collections of sacred art and archaeology are now preserved inside the Museum of Palazzo Corboli, a beautiful example of medieval architecture and chosen as one of the 15 Most Beautiful Small Museums in Italy by the Daily Telegraph.
Strolling through the streets of Asciano, among hidden viewpoints that open onto beautiful squares set among ancient buildings. don’t miss the famous Piazza del Grano with its 15th-century fountain, and the Cassioli Museum entirely devoted to 19th-century Sienese painting.
Nestled in the Crete Senesi, just a few kilometres from Asciano, is the wonderful Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Founded in the early 14th century by Blessed Bernardo Tolomei, it was an important religious, cultural and economic centre becoming particularly well-known and vital during the Renaissance.
In addition to the fine cloister with frescoes by Sodoma and Signorelli, Monte Oliveto Maggiore also has a rich library with 40,000 volumes and parchments, most of them carefully restored by the monks. These lands hide and protect an exclusive product: the precious White Truffle of the Crete Senesi.
Every year in early December, Asciano celebrates this delicacy with a large market exhibition during which the precious tubers are entrusted to top chefs.