The UNESCO World Heritage valley
In the south of Tuscany the Val d’Orcia is a large protected natural park which since 2004 has been part of the Unesco World Heritage Site. The landscapes of the Val d’Orcia seem to have come out of an artist’s painting. Rolling hills covered with vineyards, olive groves and cypresses interrupted by chapels surrounded by greenery. Castles and villages where time seems to stand still.
In addition to the beautiful natural landscape and the characteristic villages, the Val d’Orcia offers a vast food and wine production. Pecorino di Pienza, Val d’Orcia honey, Castiglione d’Orcia extra-virgin olive oil, Cinta Senese salami and obviously one of the most famous wines in the world: Brunello di Montalcino. The offer of attractions to visit, itineraries to follow and what to eat for those who want to spend 24 hours in Val d’Orcia is truly vast. We have created a list of places not to be missed in this paradise of Tuscany.
Pienza is the ideal Renaissance city created by the humanist Pope Pius II. In 1458 he wanted to rethink the village by referring to Bernardo di Matteo Gambardelli, known as Rossellino, pupil of the famous Leon Battista Alberti, architect and scientist of his retinue. Do not miss the geometric perspectives and the impressive volumes of the Cathedral and the Piccolomini palace and Piazza Pio II.
Monticchiello is a small medieval village off the beaten track that has managed to preserve its authentic beauty. Seen from a distance Monticchiello is only a tower that rises squat and robust, at the top of a hill. The remains of its formidable walls and its medieval gate will in fact clearly show themselves to the visitor only when he has come almost close to the castle.
A stop for a single shot is to be done at the small Vitaleta Chapel immersed in the Sienese hills and framed between two rows of cypresses. A few kilometers from San Quirico d’Orcia, the chapel can also be visited through a long bike tour in the surrounding countryside.
San Quirico d’Orcia
Certainly one of the jewels of the Val d’Orcia that has maintained the atmosphere of the ancient medieval village. Immersed in the suggestive scenery of the Sienese hills, it stands along the ancient Via Francigena. Getting lost by foot among its cobbled streets and the picturesque views of parish churches will make you fully live an authentic Tuscan experience.
Narrow by medieval walls Montalcino overlooks the hills and its thousands of vineyards. In addition to taking a break to taste the famous Brunello, the entire village with its fortress, churches and civic museum is worth a visit.
Val d’Orcia is also a land of natural baths and relaxation. The wonderful free thermal baths of Bagni San Filippo with its white limestone deposits are famous. The village of Bagno Vignoni is worth a stop: the thermal water flows from an ancient tub located in the city center.