Why Val d Orcia

  • Buonconvento & Crete Senesi
  • Montalcino & the Brunello
  • San Quirico d'Orcia
  • Pienza
  • Montepulciano & the vino
Discovering southern Tuscany's magnificent environment, with its undulating hills covered in wheat fields and vineyards: Val D’Orcia :)
Reading Time: 7 minutes

When you think of Tuscany, you probably picture green and sinuous hills with a lone cypress in the middle or boundless yellow stretches with a few weary bales of hay strewn about, and you’re thinking of the Val d’Orcia, a region of remarkable and distinctive beauty. Medieval castles, historical towns, attractive rural cottages, endless rows of vineyards or cypresses, and golden fields whose wheat seem to wave softly to the beat of nature: these are only a few of the qualities of this magnificent place in Tuscany!

The Val d’Orcia is a valley in southern Tuscany traversed by the river Orcia, from which it gets its name; this spectacular territory stretches from the province of Siena to the north to the province of Grosseto to the west. Today, the valley is a protected natural and cultural park that has been on the Unesco World Heritage List since 2004; without a doubt, the Val d’Orcia’s nature of remarkable beauty, which displays a riot of diverse hues according to the seasons, is the definitive protagonist.

Val d’Orcia Tour

The stunning landscapes of this area of Tuscany, which have inspired many painters, particularly during the Renaissance, are littered with little villages, castles, abbeys, and historic cathedrals, each with its own intriguing narrative to tell. Time appears to move at a slower and calmer pace here, and you may experience eternity in every single moment. As if that weren’t enough, Val d’Orcia is also rich in high-quality products, including Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Rosso d’Orcia, to name a few of the world’s best-known and most famous wines, as well as pecorino di Pienza, extra virgin olive oil, saffron, mushrooms, chestnuts, truffles, wild boar, and a variety of other specialties.

Follow this food and wine tour 😊

Buonconvento & Crete Senesi

Along the Via Cassia (SR 2), you’ll be right on the historical Via Francigena, which traversed through the Crete Senesi area and was used by pilgrims on their way to Rome. This area is known for its clayey hills, which produce a surreal-looking environment that is sometimes referred to as “lunar,” and which we strongly suggest you include in your schedule. You’ll begin by admiring the verdant hills of Monteroni d’Arbia, and then you’ll come across various strategic places where you may stop and snap beautiful photographs.

Val d’Orcia Tour

The first destination is Buonconvento, a tiny walled medieval town called one of Italy’s “most beautiful towns“; it was originally one of the stops on the Via Francigena for pilgrims and a major economic hub in the area. Buonconvento is a town where time appears to have stood still: old buildings with distinctive red bricks still stand tall and proud inside its limits.

Montalcino & the Brunello

After Buonconvento, you reach the Val d’Orcia region, which is one of the few sites in the world that manages to amaze visitors as much as this one. It’s an area with an almost surreal allure, suspended in another realm, and home to some of Italy’s most famous and well-known wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso d’Orcia, and a plethora of other excellent wines bearing the DOCG designation – a symbol of great quality. Our next visit is Montalcino, the birthplace of Brunello di Montalcino.

Click on the button to load the content from booking.

Load content

You enter the city through the old 14th-century fortress, or Rocca: we recommend that you stop, tour the interior, and climb the ramparts to admire the incredible panorama; then, proceed to the historic center, where the clock tower stands out… if you can, avoid being distracted by the numerous wine bars and places offering tastings and tastings of typical products.

Deviation on the itinerary: Abbazia di Sant’Antimo

The gorgeous and evocative Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo, one of the outstanding specimens of medieval monastic architecture, where you can still breathe a mystical atmosphere and listen to the lovely Gregorian chants during mass, is a destination I recommend you add to your list of places to see. When the sun shines on the majestic travertine façade, it gleams with golden reflections, a sight I recommend you see if you get the chance.

Val d’Orcia Tour

San Quirico d’Orcia

The next stop is San Quirico, but be prepared to take a brief break along the route because, just before San Quirico, on the Via Cassia, you’ll see a peek of the Val d’Orcia’s classic and fairytale landscape, which deserves to be immortalized! The most photographed collection of cypress trees may be seen directly beside the road.

Val d’Orcia Tour

When you arrive at your destination, park along the perimeter of this historic settlement, which is situated on the Via Francigena. A lovely stroll will lead you to the gorgeous Santi Quirico and Giulietta Collegiate Church and the Horti Leonini gardens, while a stroll through the center’s old alleyways will make you feel as if you’ve been thrown into another time dimension, trapped in San Quirico’s rich history, which, together with Pienza, another renowned neighborhood in the area, provides enticing and delectable lunch options, with various eateries specialized on local specialties.

Deviation on the itinerary: Bagno Vignoni & the terme

The nearest spa town in the region is Bagno Vignoni, however, there are a few sprinkled around Tuscany. The fulcrum of this delightful hamlet is rather magical: it is a little settlement unlike any other, with a succession of antique houses around a Renaissance-era bathing pool with gorgeous arches. Unfortunately, the pool is no longer open to the public, but Bagno Vignoni offers some very interesting alternatives for those looking for some pure relaxation away from the crowds: if the weather permits, you can sit and bathe your feet in the warm thermal waters that flow behind the square and along the entire hill.

A magnificent and towering castle known as Rocca di Castiglione stands directly in front of Bagni Vignoni. While the castle is private and not available to the public, you may go to Castiglione d’Orcia, the town behind it, and take a tour around the hamlet, exploring the many nooks before continuing.

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES IN Val d Orcia

Pienza

Pienza is an authentic Renaissance jewel, built according to the philosophy of the “Ideal City“: it can be described as a single, large monument designed by the great humanist and Pope Pius II, to whom we owe the narrow streets full of that typical charm of a glorious past and the enchanting Palazzo Piccolomini – owned by his family. The palace, the cathedral, and the town hall on the main plaza are all worth seeing since they were all built to illustrate how a man can concretely build his “perfect city” around himself. The famed pecorino di Pienza is one of this little town’s strong points, therefore I highly recommend stopping at one of the stores that sell it to get some and sample it in all of its glory.

Val d’Orcia Tour

Finally, walking around the cathedral’s walls, you’ll come upon another of the Val d’Orcia’s breathtaking landscape vistas – which stretches all the way up to Monte Amiata – that demands to be shot!

Deviation on the itinerary: Montichiello

Finally, walking around the cathedral’s walls, you’ll come upon another of the Val d’Orcia’s breathtaking landscape vistas – which stretches all the way up to Monte Amiata – that demands to be shot!

Montepulciano & the vino

True, Montepulciano is no longer part of the Val d’Orcia’s formal limits, but it is so nearby that a visit to its charming medieval town is a must! It is a must-do while visiting this area: ascending the hill from the city walls and winding lanes to the Piazza Grande is a magnificent experience: once you’ve arrived at the plaza, your attention will be directed to the Palazzo Comunale (which you may climb to get a spectacular vista), but you’ll soon discover the Cathedral and the surrounding structures, all of which are worth seeing.

Val d’Orcia Tour

Take a journey to San Biagio if you still have time: this towering pilgrim church in travertine, another great example of Renaissance architecture, stands tall and proud in the middle of the countryside, totally secluded from anything.

If you chance to be visiting the Val d’Orcia hills in April, don’t miss the Orcia Wine Festival, which takes place in San Quirico every year. If, on the other hand, you enjoy pecorino cheese and enjoy pairing it with a decent glass of wine and a little of local folklore, then the first week of September is definitely one to remember on your calendar: in addition to savoring all these flavors and aromas autumn, you can participate in the Cacio di Pienza Fair.

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...


Post Author: wildcouple95 |

We are Alessia & Luca. From Tuscany with love ♥ Passionate about travel, photography, nature, sports and trekking. Fall in love with our Italy, with its beautiful crystal clear waters and high mountains, but we don't miss opportunities to travel abroad. Let's travel together!

Leave a Reply

We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy. Register here to publish your comments instantly.