Mount Amiata with its 1738 meters of height overlooks the Val d’Orcia and the Maremma and is covered with vegetation up to its summit. For tourists and its inhabitants, it offers very suggestive views and landscapes. In winter it is a ski resort with its 12 slopes and 8 ski lifts. In summer it is the destination of many tourists who are passionate about fresh air, who take refuge in the woods to escape the heat of the town, collect mushrooms, go trekking, go horse riding and much more.
To see on Mount Amiata
The summit can be easily reached by car, by motorbike, by bus from almost all Amiata towns. In the large car park 500 meters from the top you can leave your vehicle and reach the summit on foot or by chairlift. On the summit stands a 22 meter high metal cross, commissioned by Pope Leo XIII, a historical and Christian symbol of the people of Amiata. Built in the early 1900s, destroyed in the Second World War, rebuilt in 1946, the Cross attracts thousands of tourists every year. The Cross is not the only attraction on the summit. Immediately at his feet you will find one of the most visited observation points on Mount Amiata. From there you can see a panorama that will leave you speechless. At a distance of about 200 meters and always at the same altitude, there is the Madonna degli Scout, a marble statue erected over the lava rocks which are still very visible today. Of course the summit does not lack excellent restaurants and hotels ready to provide you with the best typical dishes of the area.
Like all mountains that are respected, Alpine, Apennine or as in the case of Monte Amiata “anti-Apennines”, we find mountain huts, places that in less recent times were designed to offer refreshment to travelers who came from the valley. The Amiata has three main mountain huts, the “Terzo Rifugio” at the foot of the summit, the “Secondo Rifugio” also called the Cantore refuge, the “Primo Rifugio”, about 7km from the village of Abbadia San Salvatore. The third practically coincides with the summit, it is only a few hundred meters from it and it is very close to the car park. At the third shelter you will find some hotels and bars where you can stop off. Even at the second hut you can find refreshment but also find the departure of two of the ski lifts, one of which is also open in the summer. The first shelter, once a disused ski slope, offers a beautiful picnic area. All the shelters are characterized by the presence of vast grassy lawns.
The meadows of Amiata
Amiata is not only rich in forest vegetation. Along the road that goes from Castel del Piano to the summit (but you can also get there from Arcidosso, Piancastagnaio and Abbadia San Salvatore), you come across two of the most well-known meadows on the mountain.
The first meadow you meet is the Prato delle Macinaie located in the municipality of Castel del Piano, about 1500 meters above sea level. At the edge of the lawn you will find the Adventure Park, a path suspended between trees, suitable for adults and children, excellent hotels and bars. Suitable in summer for a picnic day, in winter as a departure station for the ski lifts.
Proceeding towards the summit we meet the Prato della Contessa, slightly smaller in size, at a slightly higher altitude. This one too, like the other one, has a grassy mantle on which to rest in the shade of centuries-old beech trees.
The Prato della Marsigliana should also be mentioned, very close to the cantore refuge, ending in winter with one of the many ski slopes on Amiata.
Observing the panorama is certainly one of the activities we all do when we get on the Amiata. Surely the most visited is at the foot of the Cross. From there the eye can clearly see Lake Bolsena and the whole Val di Paglia. The Val’Orcia is instead visible from the top of the mountain at the beginning of the ski slope of the summit. We can find an observation point along the road that leads from the La Contessa alla Vetta meadow. It is referred to as the Observation Point of the Inferno Valley, when the days are clear you can clearly see the sea, Mount Argentario, the island of Giglio and Elba.
But in the end there are so many observation points along the paths of the Amiata, it is enough to walk on the paths and on the ski slopes to come across breathtaking views. An editorial board. Go up on the chair lift that from the summit leads to the Cantore refuge, going down you will have 10 minutes to enjoy the Val d’Orcia until you see Siena, on the clearest days.
Snow in winter, trekking and mushrooms in the summer
Not that spring and autumn are seasons not to be mentioned, indeed in these periods the colors of the woods are extremely fascinating.
The Amiata is known and was even more so in the past, as a winter resort and in the summer as a destination for enjoying a little fresh air, for trekking and long walks.
Do not underestimate the tourism related to mushroom picking, which in certain months of the year, attract thousands of people in search of the famous Amiata mushrooms. Be careful though! Mushroom picking is regulated, so check with the towns where you collect the forest products.
Don’t miss Dante’s stone
A few kilometers from Abbadia San Salvatore, after leaving the ruins of the mine, you will see a completely natural reproduction of the profile of the famous poet. A giant stone overlooking the road, which looks out from the trees. An extraordinary resemblance that for many years has named this rock, the stone of Dante.
In the gallery you can find the enlarged photo and on the map the road to reach it.
Fire only in equipped areas
Every year thousands of people come to the woods of the Amiata to make themselves a beautiful brazier. There are many areas equipped to make fires with wooden tables and benches to sit on. Do not light fires in the woods by improvising hearths that can escape your control. The Amiata is too good to go up in smoke.
How to get to Monte Amiata
There are many roads that go from the villages down to the top. From Abbadia San Salvatore, from Piancastagnaio, from Santa Fiora, from Arcidosso, from Castel del Piano and from Seggiano you will find directions to reach the top of the mountain. To travel by car but also suitable for those with a passion for two wheels.