Val d’Orcia is in the Province of Siena, which is in the Tuscany area of central Italy. It is a rural agricultural landscape that still has a lot of the layout, style, and character of the Renaissance. Val d’Orcia’s landscape is full of signs that people have been living there for thousands of years. During the time of the Etruscans, the area was important, and it grew during the time of the Roman Empire.
Val d Orcia Tuscany
During the Middle Ages, farming and herding fell, and a lot of the land seems to have been left empty. In the 10th and 11th centuries, when the economy was doing well and the government was stable, monasteries were built and the Roman road Via Francigena was used more.
Francigena was a very important trade and religious route that connected Rome and northern Italy. It led to the growth of villages with a feudal system. The major hill towns of the area include Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, Castiglione d’Orcia, Rocca d’Orcia, Monticchello, Radicofani, and Pienza. Pienza is on its own list of World Heritage sites.
Val d’Orcia is a very beautiful place where people and nature work together to make a landscape that was designed in the Renaissance to show what beauty should look like. Val d’Orcia was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 because of these things. In this part of Tuscany, nature, history, and art come together to make a landscape that is unlike any other in the world. There are gentle hills, old medieval towns, vineyards, fields that are farmed, castles, and abbeys.
Val d Orcia Tour
Val d’Orcia is a great place to visit if you like to take your time and get to know a place, its people, its culture, and its history. Here are the 10 best places to visit in Val d’Orcia. They are all easy to get to.
Pienza is the “capital” of the Val d’Orcia and was built by Pope Pius II to be the perfect city. Pienza is a small gem in the hills of Tuscany. It is unique because of its beautiful square, Renaissance palaces with lots of history and art, narrow streets, and romantic views of the Val d’Orcia. Then you can try the famous Pecorino di Pienza cheese and find many other surprises…
Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta
Cappella di Vitaleta: You’ve probably seen a postcard of the Vitaleta Chapel, but in Val d’Orcia, you can walk right into a postcard. This small church, surrounded by cypress trees, is a symbol of the Val d’Orcia. A magical place where peace and quiet can be breathed in. It is on the Provincial Road 146 of Chianciano, between Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia, but you have to walk a bit to get there.
In fact, the Chapel of Vitatela seems to bring together many things that are typical of this area: rolling hills that are green in the spring and golden in the summer, dark green cypress trees, lone olive trees, pretty architecture, and that mix of beauty and sadness that Tuscany does so well.
San Quirico d’Orcia
San Quirico d’Orcia is an old village that probably dates back to the time of the Etruscans. Here, you can see what’s left of the tower of the Cassero and the Horti Leonini, a beautiful garden from the 1600s that leads to the village’s main square. But there is also the church of the college and the Pieve.
Bagno Vignoni is one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in the Val d’Orcia as a whole. It has been known for its thermal waters since Roman times, and popes, kings, and knights have stopped here to enjoy them. When you go to Bagno Vignoni, it’s like taking a dip in the past. The square’s entire center is taken up by a large thermal pool, which is a great place for a romantic dinner.
Bosco di Cipressi Val d’orcia
Here is another Val d’Orcia symbol. If you’re on the Via Cassia between San Quirico d’Orcia and Torrenieri, you can’t help but want to stop and take a picture of the distinctive group of cypress trees on a hill that looks down on the road. The landscape is green in the spring, yellow in the summer, brown in the fall, and white in the winter. You can find the exact spot on the map at the end of the article.
Montalcino E Sant’antimo
When we talk about Montalcino, the first thing that comes to mind is Brunello, the wine that has made this town famous around the world. But the city of Montalcino is also full of art and history. A beautiful village from the Middle Ages from which you can see a stunning view. Here, you can see the fortress, Piazza del Popolo, churches, and museums, but the most important thing to see is the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, which is a few kilometers away from the village.
Quercia delle Checche
The first green building in Italy is La Quercia delle Checche. A giant in Val d’Orcia, a leader of the natural world. It is 22 meters tall, and its leaves cover an area 19 meters wide. The oak is so beautiful that you can’t say a word about it. Sit under its branches and take in its beauty.
Curve con i Cipressi
Curvy, cypress-lined streets are another sign that has become well-known because of photos and car ads. Monticchiello and La Foce have the most beautiful and most photographed streets with cypress trees. It is perfect if you are riding a motorcycle. On the map, you can see where it is.
Castiglione d’Orcia e Rocca d’Orcia
A small, “proud,” medieval village was all gathered around a beautiful fortress from the 1400s. In front of Castiglione d’Orcia is Rocca d’Orcia, where the old Rocca di Tentennano can be seen. When you go up the tower and look out at the view, you’ll feel something different. A unique point of view.
Here’s an example of a typical medieval town on a hill. Strong walls, a single entrance with a view of the Val d’Orcia, and pretty alleys. Just off the main tourist routes is a place with a unique beauty. At Monticchiello, time stopped.