<div align="right" class="noot">Bagno Vignoni</div> | Podere Santa Pia, holiday home in Tuscany

Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo


Albarese

Acquapendente


Archipelago Toscano


Arcidosso


Arezzo


Asciano


Badia di Coltibuono


Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Beaches

Bolsena Lake


Bomarzo

Brunello di Montalcino

Buenconvento

Campagnatico


Capalbio


Castel del Piano


Castelfiorentino

Castell'Azarra

Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


Castelnuovo Bererdenga


Castiglioncello Bandini


Castiglione della Pescaia


Castiglione d'Orcia


Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


Certaldo


Chinaciano Terme


Chianti


Chiusi


Cinigiano


Città di Castello

Cività di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


Cortona


Crete Senesi


Diaccia Botrona


Isola d'Elba


Firenze


Follonica


Gaiole in Chianti


Gavorrano

Gerfalco


Greve in Chianti


Grosseto


Lago Trasimeno


La Foce


Manciano


Maremma


Massa Marittima


Montagnola Senese


Montalcino


Monte Amiata


Monte Argentario


Montefalco


Montemassi


Montemerano


Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Montepulciano


Monteriggioni


Monticchiello


Monticiano


Orbetello


Orvieto


Paganico


Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


Pienza


Pisa


Pitigliano

Prato

Punta Ala

Radda in Chianti


Roccalbegna


Roccastrada


San Bruzio


San Casciano dei Bagni


San Galgano


San Gimignano


San Giovanni d'Asso


San Quirico d'Orcia


Sansepolcro


Santa Fiora


Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


Scansano


Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


Sinalunga


Sorano


Sovana


Sovicille

Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


Torrita di Siena


Trequanda


Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra



 

   
Surroundings
 

 E N G

Val d'Orcia, between San Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza

 

       
   

The Val d’Orcia


   
   

The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated in the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. The landscape’s distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. The inscription covers: an agrarian and pastoral landscape reflecting innovative land-management systems, towns and villages, farmhouses, and the Roman Via Francigena and its associated abbeys, inns, shrines, bridges, etc.Gently undulating hillside and lush green valleys traversed by the Orcia river and the ancient via Cassia. This is the Val d'Orcia, a place where to admire both the enchanting landscapes and the picturesque towns of the Tuscan countryside.

San Quirico d' Orcia - On the northern edge of Val d'Orcia, San Quirico d'Orcia has grown up on the site of the medieval village of Osenna. In 1256 it became part of Siena's territory, and today it still appears to us with its original medieval street plan. Located in a strategic position along the Via Cassia (and the old Via Francigena), San Quirico d'Orcia was often the residence of imperial bailiffs. In its town centre, encircled by fortified walls, a stop should be made at the Collegiata dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta with its magnificent Romanesque-Gothic doorways as well as at the Misericordia and Santa Maria di Vitaleta churches, at the Palazzo Pretorio (town hall) and at Palazzo Chigi.

The Horti Leonini gardens are a splendid example of giardini all'italiana: they were designed in about 1540 by Diomede Leoni and periodically host temporary exhibits of contemporary sculpture.

A final stop should be made to admire the Santa Maria Assunta church, the Giardino delle Rose (rose garden) and the centuries-old Scala hospital.

Whilst San Quirico d'Orcia is known for its gardens, Bagno Vignoni is famous for the 16th century baths lying at its center and filled with thermal water which arrives at a temperature of 50° directly from the tiny little town's volcanic springs. Known since Roman times, the health inducing properties of Bagno Vignoni's water were apparently much appreciated by none other than Santa Caterina of Siena, to whom the small sanctuary situated directly opposite the baths is dedicated.

The symbol of Castiglione d'Orcia is, without doubt, its impressive Rocca degli Aldobrandeschi, stronghold situated in the highest point of the town, and from where a spectacular view of the entire valley can be admired. Castiglione d'Orcia was the birthplace of Lorenzo di Pietro, painter better known by the name of Vecchietta and after whom the town's main square, with unusual cobbled paving and geometric designs, has been named.

This itinerary draws to a close in Pienza, the Ideal Renaissance City. When the town's most illustrious citizen, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, became Pope Pius II, he ensured that his birthplace got a serious face-lift, which would respect, to the letter, the canons of renaissance aesthetics. The experiment was a resounding success, and resulted in a stunning trapezoidal piazza, a cathedral by Bernardo Rossellino, and the elegant Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini. Renaissance perfection aside, a trip to Pienza offers visitors the opportunity to stock up on the town's world famous Pecorino cheese, to taste and purchase in the various delicatessens lining the streets of the historic center.

Tuscany | The Val d'Orcia



San Quirico Pieve

The Chapel of Our Lady of Vitaleta is a small sacred building is located
on a hilltop on the road that connects San Quirico d'Orcia to Pienza.

 

   
   

There are, many smaller beautiful churches or pieve tucked in the Tuscan countryside. The word “pieve” derives from the latin “plebs” (“plebe”= people). From this word also comes “pievano” or “piovano” to indicate the priest in charge of the parish. The surname “Piovano” or “Pievano” is still widespread.
The largest number of parish churches date back to the period between the 9 C and the 13 C. Some however date back even earlier (like the parish church of Pacina, which was probably built in the 7 C, if not earlier). The parish church was the only church that was allowed to contain a baptismal font and possess a cemetery and thus it became the centre of the life for its parishioners. These churches were originally founded to encourage the spread of the Christian doctrine in the country districts and provide for the spiritual and material needs of worshippers living a long way away from the parishes in the city. They were subject to the authority of the Bishop. The parish church's importance as an institution fell into disuse at the beginning of the late Middle Ages, when many rural town councils were created and this later led to changes in the division of the territory. The churches grew up along the main roads, close to already existing villages, and gradually took on the task of offering refuge and refreshment for pilgrims and travellers. The bell tower was a fundamental element; not only could the parishioners use it to give warning of imminent danger, it also attracted the attention of the faithful on feast days or for religious celebrations. These parish churches were always very austere and simple in aspect; they were illuminated by small windows and sometimes decorated with grotesque figures. These elements were an invitation to prayer and tended to give the faithful a fear of God and his punishment.

Art in Tuscany | Small churches in Tuscany

La Val d`Orcia | Galleria fotografica


Cypress trees between San Quirico d'Orcia and Montalcino   RoccaDOrciaTintinnano3   Abbazia di Sant'Antimo - 01
Cipressi tra San Quirico d'Orcia e Montalcino  

The Castle Rocca Tintinnano (also called Tentennano or Tintennano) in Rocca d’Orcia, Castiglione d’Orcia

 

 

Sant'Antimo

 


       
         


Podere Santa Pia,
an enchanting Tuscan farmhouse, is set at the edge of a tiny hamlet just sourth of Montalcino, Castiglioncrello Bandini. This privileged location offers a spectacular vista over the entire Ombrone Valley. Podere Santa Pia could not be better designed and located for a holiday that combines lazy days of dolce far niente with sightseeing in some of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany.
The property consists of 4 large bedrooms furnished in a classic Tuscan style and 2 bathroom with shower, a big full-equipment kitchen with a fireplace and a big living room and dining room. With its original kitchen and the wood burning pizza oven, Podere Santa Pia offers an upbeat atmosphere. The farmhouse has been renovated and provided with all modern comforts (satellite TV, Wi-Fi Internet access, washing machine, dishwasher, and so on), with an eye to preserve the typical and charming elements of these rural lodgings. There you have, then, cosy and warm rooms with traditional terracotta-tiled floors, stone walls and wood-beamed ceilings. And the kitchen, furnished for pleasant meals with traditional Tuscan dishes (bread soup or "ribollita", tomato soup, "fettunta", Florentine-style steak, stewed wild boar, cinta senese cured meat, and other Tuscan specialities).

Tuscan farmhouses | Podere Santa Pia
 
   
Rocca di Tentennano
Podere Santa Pia
 
Podere Santa Pia
 
Rocca di Tentennano




Pienza
Montalcino
Horti Leoni garden in San Quirico d'Orcia



 


Poggio all' Olmo
 
Villa La Foce
In the background Monte Amiata

 
Cinigiano



Pienza is situated on the Via Cassia, just a few kilometers from Cianciano Terme, one finds Pienza. Like Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino, Radicofoni and San Quirico d'Orcia the city is part of the Val d'Orcia.
Pienza is known for its historical ties with Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became Pope Pio II in 1458 and transformed Pienza from a small Medieval village into an elegant Papal residence with architecture typical of the Renaissance period.
Even the shortest of visits to Pienza should include a walk along the town walls and an exploration of the historic center, with its perfectly preserved Renaissance buildings, such as Palazzo del Tesoriere, Palazzo Lolli, the Cathedral of the Assunta, Palazzo Piccolomini, Palazzo Borgia and Joffroy, Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Ammanati, the Parish Church of Corsignano. Local delicacies include the Cacio pecorino cheese which can be tasted and bought in almost all of the shops in the town.

San Quirico d'Orcia is situated atop a hill within the Valdorcia Nature Park, in an area of Tuscany which comprises the towns of Bagno Vignoni, Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano. The origins of this ancient town date back to the Etruscan period. Around about the year 1000, San Quirico established itself as important town on the via Franchigena, the road linking Canterbury with Rome. It was in San Quirico d'Orcia that Fredrick I the 1st met with the pontifical authorities after his arrival in Italy to receive the imperial crown in 1154. In 1552 the troops faithful to Charles V chose San Quirico d'Orcia as military outpost from where to control the entire valley.
An imposing perimeter wall protects the town, accessed by a gateway, the only of the four original gateways to have survived the passage of time. The historic center of San Quirico perfectly conserves its medieval plan and a great number of impressive works of architecture such as the Romanesque Church of the Collegiata, with its three portals one of which attributed to Giovanni Pisano; the 17th century Palazzo Chigi; the Church of San Francesco which houses a Madonna by Andrea della Robbia; the Horti Leonini, splendid example of late 16th century landscape gardening; the intimate Romanesque Church of Santa Maria dell'Assunta and the Ospedale della Scala, once the refuge of pilgrims travelling along the via Franchigena.

Cinigiano is definitely one of the most fascinating and enchanting location of Alta Maremma, seen as a small but wonderful ancient village, with panoramas capable of taking away the breath and capturing the attention of the observer.
Immersed amongst the fascinating scenery of Monte Amiata, between splendid forests of beeches, oaks and chestnuts, with an immensely beautiful and stupendous panorama; is the town Cinigiano.
A wonderful centre in the province of Grosseto, the town offers a view of the rolling hills, plains and valleys that are absolutely splendid and rich in olive trees and vines; which give the area a magical and enchanting feeling.
The town is truly a wonderful gem of art and ancient culture, with an extraordinary richness of monuments, churches and historical palazzi, which will definitely fascinate and inspire visitors with their beauty and the wonderful works of art, paintings and frescoes which adorn them.
Of the history of Cinigiano, we know that the town was born sometime in the 1100’s, when the original inside settlement and medieval fortress were established. In subsequent centuries, the town became part of the possessions of the Aldobrandeschi family of Santa Fiora, before passing under the control of the powerful Republic of Siena in the second half of the 13th century.
During the next centuries, the town was controlled by some of the local noble houses, including the Battifolle family and Pioppi family.
Cinigiano then became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany with the important Grand Duke Pietro Leopolo. Finally in the 1860’s the Maremman town was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy.

The town of Campagnatico boasts great importance and secular relevance and was even mentioned in Dante’s fable The Divine Comedy, in the 11th canto of Purgatorio (Purgatory), which refers to the character of Umberto Aldobrandeschi. The origins of the city of Campagnatico began under the dominion of the Abbey of San Salvatore, before falling under the control of the Aldobrandeschi family, who managed to maintain power from the end of the 10th century to the end of 1259. This was the year, as mentioned by Dante in The Divine Comedy, that Umberto Aldobrandeschi was assassinated and the dominion of Campagnatico passed into the hands of the Republic of Siena. The town then spent some time under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany before finally being annexed by the Kingdom of Italy.

Villa La Foce
is a re-created renaissance style garden designed by Cecil Pinsent between 1927 and 1939 for Iris Origo, a writer and horticulturalist.
Villa La Foce was originally built at the end of the XVth century as a wayside tavern, but soon became the centre of an estate belonging to the great Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. In 1924 it was bought by Antonio and Iris Origo and turned into their comfortable home, from where they farmed and developed the land.
The Villa is built on three levels, following the lie of the hill, and is surrounded by the now famous garden created by Iris Origo and the English architect Cecil Pinsent – a ‘labour of love’ lasting many years.
When Antonio and Iris Origo bought the estate of La Foce, they engaged the English architect Cecil Pinsent, who had previously done extensive work on Bernard Berenson's Villa I Tatti in Florence, to restructure the main buildings and create a large garden. The latter was conceived to enhance the Renaissance house and expand the spectacular view over the valley of the Orcia and the Amiata mountain. The harmony between buildings, garden and nature makes La Foce an ideal example of Tuscany's architectural and cultural evolution in the XXth century.
The garden grew gradually, between 1925 and 1939. The house is surrounded by a formal Italian garden, which is divided into geometrical ‘rooms’ by box hedges with lemon trees in terracotta pots. Travertine stairs lead to the rose garden and a winding wisteria-covered pergola bordered by lavender hedge. Gentle informal terraces climb up the hill, where cherry trees, pines and cypresses grow among wild broom, thyme and rosemary, and a long cypress avenue leads to a 17th-century stone statue. Through the wood, a path joins the garden and the family cemetery, considered one of Pinsent's best creations.
Opening hours: the garden is open to the public every Wednesday afternoon (all year around) and every first weekend of the month (from April to November).

Gardens in Tuscany | Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce Estate | La Foce - 61, Strada della Vittoria -53042 Chianciano Terme - Siena | www.lafoce.com


Walking in Tuscany | Walking in the Val d'Orcia

The territory of the Val d'Orcia is made up, mainly of a hilly landscape with gently rolling hills and valleys typical of the Sienese Crete and a rich variety of vegetation. The river Orcia springs from a gorge and winds its way across the valley.
North west of Bagno Vignoni a magnificent rocky gorge covered with woodlands and Mediterranean maquis opens out onto the vineyards of Montalcino and then continues to the sea. On the slopes of Monte Amiata are forests of beech and chestnut trees and of particular interest and rare beauty is the holm oak woods of Scarceta. The Abetina del Vivo with ancient silver fir trees is situated near the old village of Vivo d'Orcia famous for its springs which provide water for much of the area.
the ancient roads of Val d’Orcia offer a great variety of itineraries. Wine lovers can go up to Montalcino through the Brunello vineyards. Those who prefer panoramic views can follow the ridge between Radicofani and Contignano, opposite Amiata. The pathway of the Orcia gorges offers Mediterranean atmospheres and flora.
The one that passes through the Orcia gorges from Bagno Vignoni leads to Ripa d’Orcia, a 20th century reconstruction of a fort that belonged to the Salimbeni and Piccolomini families. Ripa and its view of Amiata can also be reached from San Quirico by a dirt road that passes by the village and the tower of Vignoni. Going up from Castiglione d’Orcia to the Vivo you are immersed in the volcano forests. Between Monticchiello and Pienza, or around Sant’Anna in Camprena, you can enjoy the undulating outlines of hills that seem to pile up into infinity.

Walk around Pienza

Montepulciano - Pienza | 11 km, 3 hours

From San Quirico d'Orcia to Bagno Vignoni


Bagno Vignoni - La Foce

Bagno Vignoni - Bagno Vignoni

Castiglione d'Orcia - Castiglione d'Orcia