Castles and abbeys

Municipality Castelnuovo Berardenga


Just under 10 km made up of trails 364 and 365, which develop in the places where Berardenghi family was born during the second half of the 9th century.

In 867, Conte Franco-Salico Guinigi, progenitor of the Berardenghi, founded the abbey of Saint Salvatore and Alessandro at Fontebuona, today known as Badia a Monastero, as a women's monastery. The subject of numerous restorations and modifications, it is characterised by its bell tower dating back to the 12th century, while the circular tower is a recent addition.

A few hundred metres to the north-east, stood a castle, documented since the 11th century. This is Ombrone Monastery, which at the time belonged to the Berardenghi family, and over the years has been transformed into private property and accommodation, retaining the charm of a medieval fortress.

Finally, at the northern end of the route, the castle of Montalto, mentioned as early as the 11th century, the scene of a bloody war between Siena and Florence, in 1207 it was almost entirely destroyed and later rebuilt, only to be attacked and set on fire again by the Florentines in 1503. Restored by adding Renaissance-style elements, the castle would become a country residence, the current destination of the complex.

We find ourselves in an area of the territory within which the spectacular historical and architectural emergencies are united by a short route, which therefore does not require any particular variants, also in order to offer a view of all the aforementioned emergencies.

Points of interest

  • Ombrone Monastery: documented as a castle since the beginning of the 11th century; following the defeat of Siena in 1555, it passed to the city of Florence.
  • The Montalto complex: consists of a castle with a rectangular plan and six annexes. Destroyed in 1208, it was rebuilt in 1266.
  • Badia a Monastero: founded as an ecclesiastical institution reserved for women; the bell tower and crypt can be admired from the original layout, while the circular tower is from modern times.
Technical details:
  • Starting locations: Ombrone Monastery, Badia a Monastero, Montalto
  • How to get there: By car
  • Location of arrival: circular route
  • Access: All three localities are located along the SP540 road that connects the Siena Bettolle motorway to the Valdarno. Both Badia a Monastero and the Ombrone Monastery are a few hundred metres from their respective exits, located on the west side of the roadway, in the order mentioned, a few kilometres after Colonna del Grillo. Montalto can be reached by the municipal road from the Ombrone Monastery, the recommended starting point, which has a public car park near the local small cemetery.
  • Difficulty level: E - Excursionist
  • Difficulty level: Most of the route runs through beautiful woodland, partly on paths and partly on dirt tracks. The ford downstream from Badia a Monastero does not present any particular difficulties.
  • Experience requirements: Minimal
  • Walking time: 3 hours
  • Length: 9.6 km
  • Total ascent: 360m
  • Total descent: 360m
  • Maximum height: 395m above sea level
  • Minimum height: 245m above sea level
  • Signposts: CAI signs
  • Best time to tackle the route: All year round
  • Necessary equipment: walking shoes
  • Operators offering accessory tourist services along the route
    - Berardenga Riding Centre
    - Borgo Monastero Resort
    - Montalto
    - Oasi del Grillo
    - Podere Campovecchio



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