Villa with swimming pool in Siena

Tales and legends
Many belonging to past generations, today in their fifties or sixties, they still had the luck when they were children, to be told fairy tales and stories of their places, handed down from centuries-old traditions, full of fantasies and often linked to what actually took place, even if cloaked flavor of legend. On the Amiata, during the long winter evenings by the fireplace crackling, with close a plate of boiled chestnuts, the children listened with great interest and with great curiosity what they were telling the elderly. A grandfather, one of the most full of years and experience, telling the tale of the dragon of Santa Fiora (ie the "Cifero snake," as the tradition), pausing occasionally to witness its most plausible, emphasizing historical events actually took place that were undoubtedly linked to the story and also known as true in all countries of Mount Amiata. The friars of the convent of the Selva, near Santa Fiora, they were aware for some time of the presence of a hideous and gigantic dragon, that it was now established in the woods between Santa Fiora and Selva, and did immense damage and misdeeds. Not only eat cows, sheep and other animals, but its ferocity came to kill a man a day, choosing between shepherds, woodcutters and the friars, who were so decimated. His mouth was wide open continuously as a flamethrower: fire and thick smoke coming out of the mouth with a vehemence impressive, so much so that often had large forest fires. In those days were the master of Santa Fiora family Aldobrandeschi and Bosio Sforza. From a marriage intervened between the principles of these two families, he was born the young Count Guido, much loved by the people and to rule the country for a long time and the countryside. The friars sought help from him, who tried to equip themselves with armor, spears and muskets, trying to defeat the dragon alone. He returned upset, he was miraculously saved from the fury of the dragon. He said he needed reinforcements valid because the dragon was dangerous and ferocious, and it could not be addressed by single men. Therefore this was an expedition against the dragon, or cifero-snake, as i want to say. 
The only character who could lead such an operation was the Wizard of Arcidosso, the famous magician Merlin, who had taken up residence in a cave for a long time on the road that leads to San Lorenzo from Arcidosso. This cave, although partially collapsed and drowned bushes and vegetation, there is still a proof of the existence of a real magician. Merlino joined his powers of magic, even a great reputation and esteem of men wise and powerful (it is said that he, magician and alchemist, was part of a noble Florentine family who sought to conquer the Signoria in Florence, however, emerged defeated in a bloody manner, but keeping prestige and possessions). It was not hard for him to call the knight George, the great Christian warrior, whose military exploits in favor of the faith were widely known. So called from Merlin, he came to Arcidosso the Cavalier Giorgio, which it was immediately hosted by Count Guido of Santa Fiora and the friars of the monastery of Selva. They organized a plan to trap the evil dragon, who he was holed up in his large cavern in the wood. Some young friars trembling began to dance and sing in front of the entrance to the cave, as bait because the dragon came out, where he would find the surprise that had been prepared. The dragon came out furious and fuming. But from the top of a large chestnut tree, a volley of arrows and spears he came upon him. A spear of cavalier Giorgio ended forever the bloodthirsty monster, that had caused so much harm to the gentle people of Amiata. In the sacristy of the Church of the Trinity, which is part of the convent of the Selva, the friars are yet to see, confirming the veracity of the story, a jaw that was the monstrous dragon. Perhaps it is a crocodile jaw, trophy hunting of some local character, but perhaps not the case of desecrating such a charming legend. The Cavalier Giorgio killed more hideous and fierce dragons, became a saint, and is today the patron saint of Genoa.

The carters, on the road from Castel del Piano Seggiano, conducted their goods to the Monte Amiata. at the height of Tepolini (hamlet), everyone stopped and made the sign of the cross: they were frightened by the legends of dragons and witches who recounted about that place. A place of miracles, of dragons, of flames. It is said that one night, a priest, was fast on the back of his mule, together with the woman he was to save the soul. Arrived near the village, a tongue of fire came out of the ground and appeared a huge dragon with a forked tongue. The old mule bolted and unseated the priest. And when now the priest feared for his life and that of the woman, a bright light heralded the appearance of the Virgin Mary. Was fought a battle of light between sky and earth, until the Virgin prevailed. The dragon retreated into the slot and took refuge in his kingdom of hell. Taken from 'A hundred legends of Maremma' and 'Of dragons and fairies, saints and demons, men, trees and things in the Magic Mountain', edited by Lucio Niccolai, Effigies issues


In the cold remains of the mountain, on winter evenings, warm stables, grandparents held back to watch family members, to tell them a story of great beauty human, in which the feeling of love is clothed meanings of great sweetness and tenderness. The Prato della Contessa, a large plateau at 1,400 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount Amiata, surrounded by majestic beech and fir-scented resin, it owes its name to an episode of love whose protagonists Countess Gherarda Aldobrandeschi of Santa Fiora and the young Adelard, feudal lord of Chiusi, that very often devoted to knightly tournaments of arms and competitions chivalrous. In one of these, held in Buonconvento, Gherarda knew him and he was struck. Since she was a young Gherarda whole pepper, which could not accept easily, he did everything to organize the monks of the Cistercian Abbey of San Salvatore, with whom he spent several months of the year to study but also to strengthen the favorable reports that at that time were under way between his powerful family and equally powerful Abbey, an equestrian tournament with the second revise Adelard, squire of Chiusi. 
Was chosen by the monks a flat area, the only one possible, that of Prato then was told the Countess, then where (it was in the Middle Ages) it was torn down old trees to make way for the carousel. So Gherarda and Adelard met again in that place, which was the ideal setting for a great, little love of young teenagers. Then the story got the result that each one might expect. Gherarda was married to a scion of the Orsini of Pitigliano because it had been decided, for political expediency, the two illustrious families. An arranged marriage, which resulted in the opening of the doors of a convent for young Adelard, and he was never heard from again. It remained what Prato, born out of love, which were later attributed facts sweet and charming, forsanche for 'amenity of the place and the mystical aspect of nature that surrounded him. He said that back in the fifteenth century, the most beautiful girls of the community of Arcidosso and Castel del Piano felt irresistibly drawn to a sublime and mysterious force that made her go up to the mountain. They stopped at the Prato della Contessa, where they met with the Angels, who came down from heaven for them in the balmy evenings of summer. From those loves they were born beautiful children, who were named Cherubino, Serafino, Michael, Gabriel, and so on, then the names that have become common in that distant era among the people of Amiata. Hence also the age-old tradition, this until a few decades ago, to dress the children as angels, complete with wings, colorful, and of them parade on horseback in the religious processions, to evoke those miraculous events that were consumed at Prato della Contessa, the lawn of Love.


It was one of those dark winter evenings that make the atmosphere from the first afternoon of the night and make the longest part of the day enormously. Zelindo, having swallowed a frugal meal, wearing a good suit (as little ragged), kept in mothballs in the closet and he goes to the theater of the Unanimous, transformed for that last day of carnival in the ballroom to accommodate couples and masks in a rare moment of festive gatherings that could be present in those distant times, to quantify a century and a half ago. Zelindo, twenty years or more, take the road on foot. It's cold and the sky is threatening, but it does not snow nor rain. While going to start the climb that introduces the first houses of the country, sees a girl, dressed in white, around a corner of the wall, perhaps in the act of waiting for someone. She is beautiful, smiles slightly intimidated by men. Zelindo takes courage and, without thinking about anything else, invites to a Carnival feast, thinking that perhaps she is headed there. The girl shyly accepts the invitation and they walk together to the place of the ball. It was a festive evening for Zelindo was memorable. In the room the young people were happy and joyful, the company did not fail, but the girl dressed in white danced all night with him. Angelica was called, was sweet, serene, even if in his eyes appeared flashes of sadness. He asked her where she lived, with the secret hope of being able to find a few days later. She told him he was living with old parents in via Volpi of the gate number 3. In the room, heated only by the many appearances of the young and the swirling of certain dances, he had been set up a refreshment: some cake, Vin Santo, and some small glass of orange liqueur. Zelindo offered to Angelica orangeade, as he took a glass of wine. Angelica, while sipping orange drink, received a boost from an involuntary coppietta dancing, and a sip of orange juice went from red to stain his white bib. He took his time for this, but Zelindo tried to comfort her disappointment, minimizing the incident. It arrived at midnight and Angelica told Zelindo she should return, because parents do not have the permission to do later. He asked where he could have been reviewing the next day, but Angelica said that this was not possible. A few weeks passed but Zelindo, although practiced frequently the area near the house that she had told him, he had to revise that beautiful girl, who apparently had left a mark in her heart. Eventually he took courage could not finish it well. The memory of that evening so enjoyable, the fear of never see that girl that had so fascinated, he moved him up one morning to go and knock at the door of Via delle Volpi number 3. He knocked several times and after waiting a few felt the unsteady footsteps coming down a stairway. The door opened and an elderly woman dressed in black glasses which barely allowed her to see. In top of the steps he had been an old, too unsteady and hunched by labors away. The young man asked Angelica, telling how he had met a few weeks earlier, a carnival. At this request, the woman gasped: "It 's my daughter, but she died two years ago." Zelindo was incredulous, perhaps had the wrong door, but it was not so, because all the details of the appearance of this girl coincided with the descriptions made by both: the color of the hair, the eyes, the slender figure, his voice faint. The old mother, after the first moments of understandable dismay, regained a sense of reality. It still had vigor and determination, so after a few minutes he was attacked by a terrible doubt: that Angelica was still alive? The next day the old woman went to the mayor of the town, telling what had happened and tried his best to get the body exhumed. The coffin was reopened, but Angelica was there in her pallor of death, and in his appearance of heavenly resignation. He was still dressed in the white dress with which she had been lying in the coffin. But a particularly shocked those present at this sad ritual, including Zelindo. A red spot, fresh and clear, was present in his chest.     

So Massimo Decimo Meridio describes its "places of the heart" to Emperor Marco Aurelio:

“Stones and roses that warm in the sun, a vegetable garden that smells of grass the day and bush in the night; over the gate there is a giant poplar, fig trees, apple trees ... The soil is black as the hair of my wife; vineyards on slopes south and olive trees on those north; horses playing with my son who wants to be one of them …”

From the movie "Gladiator"