Siennese Clay Hills

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Siennese Clay Hills

We are located in the midst of the ``Crete Senesi``, one of the most easily recognized areas of the Siennese territory.
Typical of this area is its landscape of gently rolling hills made of gray clay, which point to its ancient origins as a sea basin, where sand and mud sediments collected. Up to one million years ago, in fact, this land was submerged under the sea. The irregular deposits of sand and clay appeared after the waters receded. Years of erosion formed the characteristic biancane (dome-shaped mounds of pure clay, light colored because of the long exposure of sodium sulfate to the sun) and calanchi (sheer cliffs carved by the whipping rain and wind) that characterize the Siennese Clay Hills.
For centuries, starting in the Middle Ages, this area was known as the Desert or Badlands of Accona.
Paradoxically, however, it is also a land which yields to the human touch, as evidenced still today by rows of grapevines and the paths followed by flocks of sheep and truffle hunters. This area is also crossed by the Roman Via Cassia, later rebaptized as the famed Via Francigena of the emperors.