Pari is located 38km south of Siena and is built on a hilltop surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and the heavily wooded countryside of the Maremma region of Tuscany. The village remains in a remarkable state of preservation and the surrounding landscape is home to wild boar, deer, pheasant and numerous species of plants, animals and birds.
To visit the Pari Center is to enter the life of a closely knit and welcoming community. The remaining families continue with their traditional farming methods and celebrating the festivals and seasons. Pari produces some of the best olive oil in Italy. The surrounding land is generally poor and rocky and there is a saying that, ‘The poorer the soil, the better the oil’ and this certainly holds true for the local oil. Some families produce a little more oil than they can consume and are willing to sell visitors a bottle or two at a very reasonable price. In addition to the production of oil and wine most families keep chickens and have a large kitchen garden and a few fruit and nut trees.
Herbs are cultivated (and found wild in the countryside) both for cooking and for traditional medicines. One family produces honey and saffron. A few families keep a pig for their annual supply of prosciutto. There are small flocks of sheep on the surrounding hills kept, not only for their wool and meat, but also for pecorino cheese.
Porcini mushrooms are gathered in the fall and wild asparagus in the spring. The men also hunt wild boar, deer, pheasant, hare, etc. in the local woods. So, it is still possible to live off the land—and to live well!
For those contemplating a longer stay in Pari, cycling, hiking, rafting, horseback riding, oil and wine tasting can be arranged. Visits can be made to the sulfur hot springs followed by a cooling swim in the river (both free of charge) and then to the nearby thermal spa, which offers massages, inhalation treatments, thermal face and body masks.
As well as being an ideal site for meetings and seminars, Pari is also a perfect center for tourism. Day trips can be made to Florence and Siena by bus, while those with cars may wish go a little further afield to such centers of art and architecture as San Gimignano, Arezzo, Orvieto, Cortona, Montepulciano, Volterra, Pisa, Lucca, Rome and Assisi. And the sea is a 50-minute drive away.
The land around Pari has been occupied since prehistoric times. Later, the Etruscans and later the Romans, made use of the curative properties of the sulfur hot springs, located below the village. Recent excavations close to Pari have unearthed Etruscan burial chambers and artefacts and the remains of a major Etruscan town can be visited at Roselle some 35km away.