Val d’Orcia, Tuscany – Countries you must see

An itinerary in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany,

is just what it takes to disconnect from everyday routine and discover a land of moving beauty. 

This valley is located in the south of Siena, and it’s Unesco Heritage since 2004.

The sweetness of the landscapes, combined with enchanting towns, make this area unique, not in Italy only, but throughout the globe.

Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, which countries to see?

Pienza

I have chosen this enchanting country to spend our 4 days in Val d’Orcia.

It’s one of the most important villages, probably the largest. Its medieval pedestrian center is a succession of craft shops, traditional tavernas and suggestive views.

The belvedere, with its ancient walls sweeps over Monticchiello and beyond, is truly impressive, especially during the sunset. I suggest you to have an apetizer right here, watching the sun goes down.  Pio II Square, where is located the Cathedral too, is large and airy, a good place to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of Pienza.

Bagno Vignoni

During our itinerary in Val d’Orcia, a visit to Bagno Vignoni can not be missed! Since ancient times, thanks to its thermal springs, it has been a popular holiday resort, known by people of the caliber of Lorenzo de ‘Medici and Pope Pius II.

The particularity of this place is the presence of a huge tub containing hot thermal water, located right in the central square of the small village. Around it, some cafes and restaurants.

A short distance, just 5 minutes by foot, and near the parking lot, you can find ‘Parco dei Mulini’, to which the thermal water flows. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view on the valley.

Surrounding, there are the ancient Roman Baths and you can get there by foot or car. In particular, you will see a tank of about 25/30 m2 of limestone formation, where the turquoise water will invite you to dive. I was really tempted, but unfortunately, it was not hot.

San Quirico D’Orcia

This village is also very suggestive and beyond any shadow of a doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. Smaller than Pienza, but definitely larger than Bagno Vignoni, it offers a beautiful pedestrian street that runs through the whole town, reaching the Dom.

You have to discover every narrow side alley with its hide ivy-covered tavernas and superb views. There are also many restaurants on the main street, overlooked by colorful medieval houses.

Like Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico is also located near the ancient Francigena Road and is ‘a must see’ if you decide to visit Val d’Orcia. Don’t miss a nice walk into its refreshing Horti Leonini, manicured gardens behind the main street.

Ospedaletto

Ospedaletto is not really a village but rather an ancient complex. Once was a place of refreshment and shelter for travelers and pilgrims, instead today,  its houses have become charming and cozy apartments, immersed in the Sienese countryside.

Bagni San Filippo

It’s a really popular destination for the thermal baths lovers. Here you can find several high level hotel with SPA.

However, ‘Fosso Bianco’, is free. It can be reached directly from the village and is completely immersed in the woods. You will find very particular limestone conformations, some enormous, such as the ‘white whale’, instead others seem small whirlpools.

The pools are at different heights. The water reaches the valley and becomes lukewarm. Surely, during the warm season the bathing will be really pleasant. Just one thing: the smell of the water is not good. It’s typical of sulphurous waters, laden with sulfur.

It is possible to walk along paths by the pools, but remember that you will have to go back. In some places there are beautiful waterfalls, where it should be nice to get your shoulders wet … weather conditions permitting!

For visiting Bagni San Filippo, i recommend not to go during the weekends because the area could be too crowded.

Castiglioncello del Trinoro

This tiny village, completely immersed in the Sienese countryside, is slightly higher than the other villages and offers a spectacular view on the landscape, unobstructed for several kilometers.

For this reason people know it as ‘The balcony on Val d’Orcia‘. It’s possible to reach Castiglioncello via a dirt road. My suggestion is to visit the village during a sunny day with clear sky, to enjoy the panorama in the best way.

The village is very small, but infinitely pretty. Hidden inside, there are some luxury apartments and a boutique hotel, with an attached restaurant and a wine shop. They all are part of the ‘Monteverdi Tuscany’ complex which has restored the ancient village respecting its original appearance.

Monticchiello

This lovely village is located close to Pienza. From here the view on it is simply fantastic!

monticchiello val d'orcia toscana

If you are looking for some good taverna or restaurant, here you will find it. The country is small, but pretty to die for. Strolling around it with calm, and enjoy an aperitif at sunset on its panoramic terrace.

Don’t miss to visit Monticchiello! It’s absolutely one of the most picturesque places in Val d’Orcia 🙂

Castelmuzio

Castelmuzio will be my perfect place when i’ll come back in Val d’Orcia. It is located a few kilometers from Pienza and I discovered it by chance. As usual, here you will find stone houses, rose gardens that adorn the walls, a central square, lots of beauty and tranquility.

I would like to stay at the ‘La Locanda di Casal Mustia‘ b&b. I don’t have direct experience, but the location is really excellent and the restaurant is also attached. It is also possible to dine on the small terrace, with an incredible view on the valley !!

Radicofani

It’s a small village 800 metres high, located in the southern Val d’Orcia, along the road leading to Pitigliano.

The dark basaltic stone of the houses makes Radicofani different from the other villages.

The real protagonist of this place is the Rocca of Radicofani, almost 900 metres high, which can be reached from the town via a staircase. You will also see it distinctly from the road below, thanks to its strategic location, clinging as it is to the cliff overlooking the town.

The fortress is linked to the historical figure of Ghino di Tacco, also mentioned by Dante into the VI canto of Purgatory. It’s possible to take place to the events that the castle organizes, very interesting, also for children. Let’s check on its site to discover the next one 🙂

There is also a restaurant on site.

Val d’Orcia and photografic travel

Photografy lovers often choose Val d’Orcia to improve them passion and enjoy its stunning landscapes.

strada del pecorile asciano val d'orcia

The points of interest are hundreds, unfortunately I have seen a few, but I can suggest you some of the most important:

  • Abbey of Sant’Antimo, south of Montalcino.
  • Pecorile road, between Asciano and Pienza
  • Podere Belvedere, San Quirico d’Orcia

And now, are you ready to discover this fantastic italian region?


2 Comments

  1. Andrea Parmeggiani ha detto:

    Bellissime foto, bellissimi luoghi… Vado spesso in vacanza sul lago Trasimeno e da li’ tutta quella parte della Toscana è dietro l’angolo, e ci torno sempre volentieri

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