Cinigiano is a town of compromises.
It's not technically in the mountains, despite being constantly watched over by Monte Amiata, and it's not technically near the sea, despite basking in cool sea winds almost all year round.
Instead Cinigiano has, to use a tired old clichè, the best of both worlds. It breathes the sea air and it bathes in the mountain landscape of sloping hills and dense oak forests and vineyards.
And the locals love it.
In fact, they'd be insulted if you suggested they live elsewhere - and for good reason. Cinigiano was built around a medieval castle in the 12th century and was lovingly named after its founder Bernardino di Cinigiano, whose descendants ruled the town up until Siena took it by force in the 16th century.
Today the town's a quiet little place where nothing disturbs the small and faded pastel-coloured houses or cobblestone streets. It's where the locals take the time to enjoy the lush countryside, or more precisely the Poggio all'Olmo Nature Reserve.
It's where everyone takes pride in the centuries' old churches and monuments and everything else that remains as a symbol of the area's rich past.
And they love their wine, which isn't such a surprise. After all, they are Italian and they do happen to be one of the most important stops on the Strada del Vino Montecucco - a wine trail that follows the delicious roots of the Montecucco D.O.C.
Photos: Aurello Candido, Dimit®i and michix 2002 via Flickr.
Outside of Cinigiano
Cingiano’s locals love their wine so much they’ve dedicated an entire festival to it. Of course, if I made a wine as incredible as the one found in this region, I’d want to celebrate it too!