Things to do in San Quirico d’Orcia

San Quirico d’Orcia

We discover San Quirico d’Orcia, its splendid views and the thermal hamlet of Bagno Vignoni

San Quirico d'Orcia, panorama of the Sienese countryside
San Quirico d’Orcia, panorama of the Sienese countryside

The province of Siena offers us splendid panoramas and historical locations whose origin is lost in the mists of time, such as San Quirico d’Orcia, a town of probable Etruscan origin.

Crossed by the Via Francigena , the Abbot Sigeric of Canterbury mentions it as the XII stopping place in the famous itinerary drawn up during his return to his homeland, in the year 994, this place had strategic importance especially in the Early Middle Ages . Since 2004 it has been one of the places recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The hamlets of Bagno Vignoni, a well-known spa village, and Vignoni are also part of San Quirico d’Orcia.

Located on the hill that divides the Asso valley from that of the Orcia , it can be reached by admiring the vast territories and the chromatic characteristics of the views along the cultivated hills that you meet on the way. And right here you can see one of the most photographed symbols of the area, namely the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta . It is a small church that rises on top of a hill along the road that leads to Pienza. The building surrounded by cypresses is private , nothing prevents you from photographing it from afar. And the very sight of this church creates a strong landscape impact.

San Quirico d'Orcia, Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta
San Quirico d’Orcia, Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta

San Quirico d’Orcia preserves its heritage of civil and religious monuments intact, starting with the Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

San Quirico d'Orcia, Church of Santa Maria Assunta
San Quirico d’Orcia, Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Originally close to the Porta Ferrea, it was the first place that pilgrims heading to Rome encountered in the Middle Ages upon entering the city . It was built on land donated in 1016 to the Abbey of San Salvatore. It is a Romanesque church with a single nave, a simple building, where the beautiful portal stands out.

Church of the Madonna di Vitaleta

Another of the city’s sacred buildings is the church of the Madonna di Vitaleta, built in the 19th century on the ruins of the convent of San Francesco di Assisi . The interior has a single nave and the Madonna Annunciata attributed to Andrea Della Robbia is preserved on the altar.

Collegiate Church of Saints Quirico and Giulitta

San Quirico d'Orcia, the Collegiate Church
San Quirico d’Orcia, the Collegiate Church

It rises in the northern area of the historic center and is the reconstruction of the ancient parish church preceded by an 8th century baptistery. The current building dates back to the end of the 12th century. The church has a Latin cross plan and a single nave and three portals, of which the largest is in Lombard style. Note the Lions that seem to almost defend the entrance .

Oratory of Mercy

Lying down to the collegiate church, here is the Oratorio della Misericordia , a building preceded by a covered and internal portico with a single nave which has as its most valuable work the large table by Bartolomeo Neroni known as il Riccio, depicting the Madonna with child and saints, work from 1500. Part of the structure is used as a sacristy of the Collegiate Church of Santi Quirico and Giulitta .

Horti Leonini

San Quirico d'Orcia, Horti Leonini
San Quirico d’Orcia, Horti Leonini

Finally, you should not miss a visit to the Horti Leonini , or the splendid Italian gardens with the statue of Cosimo III de’Medici in the center , from 1688. Made at the end of 1500 by Diomede Leoni, this masterpiece is arranged over two portions: one low and the other high. It was created in this way, taking advantage of the characteristic of the terrain. But not only. The shape of these gardens is that of an eight-pointed Maltese cross, which according to St. Matthew, represent the eight beatitudes.

Vignoni bathroom

The hamlet of San Quirico d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni, a spa place, whose waters were already exploited in Etruscan and Roman times, are worth a visit . In the monumental Piazza delle Sorgenti. The thermal baths of this locality were frequented by illustrious personalities, such as Pope Pius II, Catherine of Siena and Lorenzo de ‘Medici.

San Quirico d'Orcia, city view
San Quirico d’Orcia, city view

How do I get to San Quirico d’Orcia

San Quirico d’Orcia can be reached by car from the A1 motorway, Chianciano Terme exit, here continue on the SP40. By train, the closest station is Buonconvento, then continue by bus. The nearest airport is that of Florence.

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