Sarteano is a small town in the southern part of the province of Siena. Its biggest attractions are the Etruscan tombs and the traditional festival Giostra del Saracino held every August.
Sarteano travel guide
Tourist information: Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 9, 53047 Sarteano. Phone: +39 327 5977508. Hours: From 10:00 till 12:00 and from 16:00 till 18:00. Closed: Mondays and Wednesdays.
Town hall: Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 7 – Sarteano. Phone: +39 0578 269200.
Railway station: The nearest railway station is in Chiusi. The T5 and T9 bus lines take you to the central square of Sarteano, Piazza Bargagli.
What to see
Sarteano has been inhabited since ancient times. The town has an Archaeological Museum, where many of the objects found in tombs in the area are on display.
From medieval times, the castle still stands and towers over the town. Several stretches of the defensive wall are also still visible.
The main church is the Chiesa di San Martino in Foro. There are also a number of hot springs in the area.
The Cathedral, dedicated to the Santi Lorenzo e Apollinare, and the San Francesco Church are also worth visiting.
Events and festivals
Every year on 15 August, the originally medieval equestrian tournament Giostra del Saracino is held. Five knights, each representing a contrada (district), have to try to grab as many rings as possible with a lance. The very first time this happened was in 1583. Since 1982, the festival has been held every year (except during the Covid-crisis).
A brief history of Sarteano
The territory of Sarteano was inhabited very early. In the Grotta d’Orso (“Bear Cave”) in the suburb of Belverde, tombs, ceramics and other objects dating back to the Neolithic period have been found.
The Sferravallo and the Solia necropolises are Etruscan.
The earliest document naming the city dates back to the year 776. The document mentions a place called Vicus Sarturianus, as an important stop on the road between Vulci and Chiusi.
In 1178, Frederick Barbarossa gave the city to count Manente di Pepone, who thus became feudal lord of the territory.
From the beginning of the 13th century to the end of the next one, Sarteano was subjected to first Orvieto, then Perugia and, finally, Siena.
Day trips from Sarteano
The town sits on a hilltop between the Val d’Orcia and the Valdichiana. It is about 165 kilometres north of Rome, 100 kilometres south of Florence and just over 50 kilometres from both Siena and Arezzo. Less than 20 kilometres away are famous picturesque towns like Pienza, Chianciano Terme and Montepulciano.
Driving directions to Sarteano
By car from Rome: take the A1/E35 to Chiusi and then the SS478.
By car from Siena: Take the SR2 to San Quirico d’Orcia, then the SP71 to Chianciano Terme and then the SP19.