Crete Senesi


Drive just south of Siena, and you will come across a geographical region called The Crete Senesi. This term means Clay of Siena. After the harvest of the cereal grains, wheat, and hay, the soil is tilled over to expose the clay. Here is found is a particular type of clay soil known as Mattaione. Perhaps what is so unique with this type of soil is that it can produce so much vegetation.

Everything grows in this clay, as seen from the photos below. This rich fertile agriculture area was covered by the Pliocene sea, approx. 3 to 4 million years ago.

Also within the Crete Senesi, we have an actual desert, called the Accona Desert. These hills have a unique look due to the white-colored dome-shaped slopes.

I often wonder what this area did look like millions of years ago. I am sure it underwent many changes.

Even today, this unique place changes with the seasons, and we love to capture these changes with our photographs.

In the winter months, it can be as green and lush as any postcard scene from Ireland, as the rolling hills are covered with the lush green plants of winter wheat and barley.

In spring the green is dotted with different wildflowers including the red Poppies, or the bright florescent color of wild mustard. In June, the area makes a significant shift in tone to the color of straw.

Harvest begins, and we begin to see the landscape become texturized with the process of crop harvesting, Zigzag lines of hay soon become sizeable round hay bales. At this time of year, we also relish the sight of the Sunflowers.

After the harvest, the tractors till up this particular clay soil and we have a landscape with a very lunar appearance. The land will remain this way until around November when the first shoots of green wheat appear, as the cycle starts over again.

We are so fond of this area, we decided to make it our home.


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