A Famous Spa Town En Route to Chiusi
Take the SS146 about 7km (4 1/3 miles) southeast out of Montepulciano to Chianciano Terme (tel. 0578-68-111; www.termechianciano.it), one of Italy's most famous spas. You can drink the thermal mineral waters of Acqua Santa, Piazza Martiri Perugini (tel. 0578-68-411), supposedly to clean out your liver (daily 8am-2pm; Mar-Nov also 4-6pm; 7.50€-9.50€). Those of Acqua Sillene, Piazza Marconi (tel. 0578-68-551), are used for thermal and mud baths and other treatments (daily 8am-6pm Apr-Oct; from 13€). The cold springs of Acqua Fucoli, Piazza Martiri Perugini (tel. 0578-68-411; daily 8am-6pm Apr-Oct; 5.50€), are usually drunk in the afternoon (allegedly to clean out the digestive system). Apparently, it takes 12 days to see any real benefits from taking the waters. For details about spa packages, call the helpful tourist office, Piazza Italia 67, Chianciano Terme (tel. 0578-671-122; www.vivichiancianoterme.it; daily 8am-2pm and 3:30-7:30pm).
The modern spa town and the Old Town are of the same comune but really separate communities, about 2km (just over 1 mile) apart, connected only by an umbilical cord of serviceable hotels called Viale della Libertà. Old Chianciano is compact, with a "lived-in" feel, if a little unremarkable, although it possesses genuine links to Nobel Literature Laureate Luigi Pirandello, who set a couple of his tales here. There are fine views over the Valdichiana from Via Casini, in the shadow of a Medici-built clock tower. The Museo della Collegiata, Piazzolina dei Soldati (tel. 0578-30-378; Tues-Sat 10am-noon), has some good Sienese panel paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Admission is 2€; ring the bell for the custodian.