Siena to Viterbo through the Sienese, with stops at L’abbazia territoriale di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and Montepulciano

On Friday morning I was out of Siena, and bound for Viterbo. I had a plan to visit three places on the way. The first stop would be in a functioning monastery, the Benedictine Abbey and Monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, about 25 miles south of Siena, on some windy, narrow country roads. The monastery is famous for its cloisters, having some famous frescoes painted on the walls there. This monastery too, traces its foundation to 1313. It is in amazingly good condition, given its age.

After the visit to the monastery, I drove east to the hill town of Montepulciano. I walked around the town, and stopped for lunch at a terrace restaurant with a high view across the farmland below.

Now, I got lost. Or to be a little more forthcoming, I ignored a detour sign, and travelled about ten miles down a road that was closed for a bridge replacement. It wasn’t until I backtracked, and saw the detour sign, and noticed that the jersey barriers that I had previously swerved around, which were meant to keep me from continuing, that I stopped cussing about the guy driving the steam roller that wouldn’t let me through.
The detour took me a long way up a mountain, to an old fortress town, and then back down the mountain, to rejoin the highway. The time the detour added onto my trip made me decide to skip the last planned stop on the trip, which would have been the hilltop town of Bagnoreggio. That trip will have to happen at another time. On the upside, I also discovered that the Fortezza Radicofani might be worth a visit too. It’s a very solid-looking fortress built very high above the valley, and was quite famous for its impenetrability.
I arrived at the hotel in Viterbo, and after checking in, I walked the two blocks to reconnoiter the shop where I would be turning in the rental car. I was scheduled to turn it in Saturday morning, but since I was finished with it, I decided to turn it in early, and be rid of the responsibility of it. It was a difficult place to find, as it was a photography shop, that doubled as an Avis agent. I walked past it two or three times before I realized it was right in front of me. There was almost no room for me to park car, and I had been looking for a place with a, however small, parking lot. I was glad that I had walked to find the place before I brought the car. I would have been frustrated at the one-way streets, and the traffic circles, if I had had to also been trying to find the shop.

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