Rocca d'Orcia, in the heart of the magnificent countryside of the Val D'Orcia region | Podere Santa Pia, perfect holiday home in Tuscany

Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo



Archipelago Toscano




Badia di Coltibuono

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa


Bolsena Lake


Brunello di Montalcino




Castel del Piano



Castellina in Chianti


Castelnuovo Bererdenga

Castiglioncello Bandini

Castiglione della Pescaia

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglion Fiorentino



Chinaciano Terme




Città di Castello

Cività di Bagnoregio

Colle Val d'Elsa


Crete Senesi

Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba



Gaiole in Chianti



Greve in Chianti


Lago Trasimeno

La Foce



Massa Marittima

Montagnola Senese


Monte Amiata

Monte Argentario




Monte Oliveto Maggiore








Parco Naturale della Maremma







Punta Ala

Radda in Chianti



San Bruzio

San Casciano dei Bagni

San Galgano

San Gimignano

San Giovanni d'Asso

San Quirico d'Orcia


Santa Fiora














Tavernelle Val di Pesa

Torrita di Siena




Val d'Elsa

Val di Merse

Val d'Orcia

Valle d'Ombrone






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Rocca d'Orcia, in the heart of the magnificent countryside of the Val D'Orcia region


Rocca d'Orcia, in the heart of the magnificent countryside of the Val D'Orcia region


Rocca d'Orcia is a frazione of Castiglione d'Orcia and is located one kilometer north of Castiglione. The village has an imposing octagonal fortress, the Rocca a Tentennano. Follow the signposts Rocca a Tentennono and park in the parking lot at the bottom of the fort. Just for the magnificent views of the Orcia valley and Monte Amiata, a visit to Rocca d'Orcia is worthwhile.

Vivo d'Orcia is a small village, just a few kilometres north of Abbadia San Salvatore. Particularly interesting here is a visit to the former hermitage or settlement that lies just below the village in a romantic setting on the bank of the river Vivo. One can only reach the settlement on foot which is signposted from the village ("Eremo - Via IV Novembre). The path leads across a stone bridge, past the ruin of a former mill and a castle, which is now privately owned, and finally through an archway to the Borgo Principale.
Surrounded by vegetation, Eremo del Vivo also known as the Contea, is characterized by the presence of the imposing Palazzo Cervini, a fortified building on a plan by Antonio da Sangallo. The construction of Palazzo Cervini was commissioned in 1538 by Cardinal Marcello Cervini from Montepulciano.
An old stone bridge covered in moss with the name Ponte degli Innamorati (lovers' bridge) marks the entrance to this romantic property. To the right is the castle, which is still lived in by the by members of the family. To the left is an arched stone doorway leading down to the hamlet which in the past housed the peasants and their families.
Not far away from here, in the vicinity of the historic springs of Vivo is the church of the Ermicciolo, a wonderful example of the Amiata Romanesque architectural style.

Palazzo Cervini near Vivo d'Orcia

Walking in Tuscany | San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagni Vignoni, Castiglione d'Orcia, Rocca d'Orcia, Montalcino, La Foce

Vivo d'Orcia - Vivo d'Orcia

From Vivo d'Orcia we start downhill toward the white-fir forest of Vivo d'Orcia, one of the last remaining in Tuscany of this kind. Follow the indication Contea del Vivo/Eremo and take the Via Amiata becomes Via dell'Eremo. At the end of the road we cross the bridge over the Vivo stream passing under a stone arch that leads to the Borgo dell'Eremo.

Castelnuovo dell'Abate - Vivo d'Orcia

This spectacular itinerary descends from the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo, surrounded by silence and Brunello vineyards, then climbs up the pristine slopes of Monte Amiata, an ancient extinct volcano. The trip ends up in Vivo d'Orcia, one of the most well-conserved and verdant localities in Tuscany, charged with energy from the volcano.

Castiglione d'Orcia - Castiglione d'Orcia

The itinerary starts on a downslope and ends uphill. From the hamlet of Castiglione d'Orcia we get to the bottom of the Orcia valley which is characterized by a wild environment where no means of transport are possible. It predominantly unfolds on dirt tracks. For the mountain bike enthusiasts it doesn't show any technical difficulties even though the downslope, specially in the first part, is very steep and the climbing back up is quite challenging.


Radicofani (783m) is situated to the east of Monte Amiata strikingly placed on a basaltic hill overlooking the river valley Paglia. It preserves some remains of a castle built by the English pope Hadrian IV, in which Ghino di Tacco imprisoned the Abbot of Cluny, as related in the 'Decameron'. From the castle's tower, approx.
940 m, is a magnificent view across the Val d'Orcia.

The dark stone housing surrounding the small and sleepy desolate castle exude medieval flair. The church of San Pietro has terracotta works by Andrea Della Robbia and just outside the town, the former Medici Villa, Palazzo della Posta, was used as a hotel by Montaigne, Chateaubriand and Dickens. The fountain opposite is decorated with armorial bearings and the Medici coat of arms.

Monticchiello is a pretty medieval walled town in the heart of the Val d'Orcia. The town walls, a great part preserved, are reinforced by towers of various dimensions and shapes. The village inside the fortifications has maintained its medieval characteristics and walking through its streets and alleyways is like 'breathing' Tuscan medieval life. The 13th century church, Chiesa dei Santi Leonardo e Cristoforo, was restored in 1933 revealing remarkable frescoes and a 5 metre high Christophorus depiction, "Grande Arcosolio" from the 15th century, which illustrates the life and times of the Holy Nicholas. From the square at the main gate is a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and beautiful countryside scenery. The village is renowned not only for its beauty but also for the "teatro povero" di Monticchiello (poor theatre). Performances are conceived and interpreted by local people staging plays during the last week of July and the first two weeks of August and spotlighting the area's peasant, sharecropping history; inhabitants also compose the music and construct the scenery. From a "popular experiment" the theatrical experience of Monticchiello has become a significant example of Italian theatre.

Comune di Castiglione d'Orcia |

Tuscan treasures | Castiglione d'Orcia | Rocca d'Orcia

Castiglione d'Orcia and the Val d'Orcia


Enlarge map Val d'Orcia




Travel guide for Tuscany



Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia
Cala Violina

San Quirico d'Orcia

Siena is reknowned, both nationally and internationally, for the Palio horse race contested by the 17 contrada which divide this small city. But Siena is also unique thanks to its maze of narrow streets, its numerous towers and elegant town houses, the immense Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral which dominate the heart of the Medieval city encircled by impressive walls. As far as culture is concerned, Siena has been a city of great artistic significance since ancient times with internationally acclaimed institutions such as the Chigiana Musical Academy, the Accademia dei Fisiocritici and Accademia degli Intronati, as well as the University for Foreigners. Sites not to be missed are the Church of St Domenico, the Church of St Francesco, the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art and Palazzo Salimbeni which houses important frescoes.

Abbadia San Salvatore
Siena, Piazza del Campo
Siena, duomo

Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Known for its enchanting landscapes, its fantastic and genuine food and beautiful towns as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena. Podere Santa Pia is located in the heart of the green hills of the Valle d'Ombrone, and one can easily reach some of the most beautiful attractions of Tuscany, such as Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano and San Quirico d'Orcia, famous for their artistic heritage, wine, olive oil production and gastronomic traditions.
Hidden away from mass-tourism, discover a piece of Italy which remains largely unchanged both nature and lifestyle-wise. The peacefulness of the countryside, the various unique villages and the friendly atmosphere will no doubt pleasantly surprise you.
Nestled on a rural hillside in the province of Siena in central Tuscany, Podere Siena is old farming cloister, located along the historic Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome. The Via Francigena was first mentioned in the 3rd century and is Europe's oldest route of pilgrimage. After leaving England, it winds for roughly 600 miles through Arras, Rheims and Lausanne before reaching Tuscany and some of Italy's most beautiful landscapes.
Hospitals, abbeys and churches were built for pilgrims to stop along the way, as well as bridges to ease trade between Italy and northern Europe.
Those interested in exploring the Tuscan part of this ancient road should start south of Siena, along the Via Cassia and into the Val d’Arbia towards Isola d’Arbia. Just outside town is the church of Sant’Ilario, which was a popular stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Rome. After about 10 kilometres there is Buonconvento, a small hamlet that was once a strategic outpost of the lands governed by the Republic of Siena.

Of the many lodgings that existed for pilgrims, some still survive today as agriturismi, or farmhouse residences. Towards Montalcino, the Abbey of Sant’Antimo is definitely worth a stop, before arriving at the Medieval town of San Quirico d’Orcia. The renowned thermal baths at Bagno Vignoni are not far from here.

After Bagno Vignoni the road continues towards the fortresses of Castiglion d’Orcia (Rocca Aldobrandesca) and Rocca d’Orcia, with its magnificent Rocca a Tentennano. Still further south stands Monte Amiata, with its chestnut forests. The most important town on Monte Amiata is Abbadia San Salvatore, where there is also the Abbey of San Salvatore. The Via Francigena leaves the region of Tuscany here and continues towards Rome, often including sections of the Via Cassia.

Radicofani is characterized by the presence of the Rocca, which dominates the Orcia valley from south. The Rocca was built during the first years of the Middle Ages and then amplified during the years: it was of military relevance since the 18th century when eventually was destroyed by an arson. The tower that can be seen from everywhere in the valley, has been rebuilt in the XIX century. The Rocca is rich of historical and literary memories concentrated on the figure of the legendary master Ghino di Tacco whose life was described by Dante and Boccaccio. The village of Radicofani maintains the original structure and keeps nearly intact its architectural characteristics of the thirteenth century. In the Romanic Deanship of San Pietro you can find a precious collection of glazed earth ware and some beautiful wooden statues. Always in the old village it is possible to admire the Magisterial Palace and the church of Sant’Agata. Outside the built up area rises the Palazzo della Posta (The Post), ancient shooting lodge of Ferdinando I, built in the sixteenth century.

Abbadia San Salvatore was built around the homonymous Benedictine Abbey and during the years has become one of the most important political and economic centres of the Amiata. The foundation of the Abbey was motivated by the creation of the Francigena road, or Romea, born as a safe way among the biggest Longobard cities. The Abbey of San Salvatore remained powerful and economically flourishing for all the thirteenth century: in 1299 it lost its temporal power, but it survived until 1782 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany suppressed it. In 1939 the Abbey returned to the monks’ property and they promote the works of restoration. Not very far from the Abbey there is the most ancient part of the town called the “Castellina”; in the south part there is the borgo “Castello” (Castle), of more recent origins, where there are the Palazzo del Popolo and Podestà (Palace of the People and Podestà), the church of Sant’Angelo (Saint Angel) and the church of Santa Croce (Saint Cross). The church of San Leonardo (Saint Leonard) is situated beyond the old walls and not far from the ancient centre you can admire the churches of Madonna dei Remedi and Madonna del Castagno (Our Lady of Restore and Our Lady of the Chestnut). Going on along the mountain near the summit you can find the small church of Ermeta, surrounded by a beautiful wood.

San Casciano dei Bagni is a very charming medieval village located in southern Tuscany, 20 minutes drive from the A1 motorway (Rome-Florence) and the rail station of Chiusi (Intercity trains for Rome or Florence- Milan). The village has fine restaurants, shops, banks, pharmacy, etc.
This is an unspoilt part of Italy, recently being discovered by those who enjoy and appreciate either its quiet beauty, its central location between Rome and Florence, its flourishing artistic and social life.
The local ancient Roman Spa ( Fonteverde Natural Spa Resort), after undergoing an 8 year - $40 million renovation and development program, is one of the most appealing health farms in Europe. It now provides various hot spring water pools (indoors and outdoors) and any kind of health and beauty treatments.

Bagno Vignoni - La Foce

Bagno Vignoni - Bagno Vignoni

Castiglione d'Orcia - Castiglione d'Orcia

Walk around Pienza | Montepulciano - Pienza | 11 km, 3 hours