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Villages, castles, abbeys. The Tuscan countryside is an enchantment of characteristic profiles and unique colours.

The most iconic hills of the planet

Val d'Orcia: villages, castles, abbeys

Val d'Orcia:
villages, castles, abbeys

TRADITIONAL FOOD SPECIALTIES: Cinta Senese cured meats, pici (a kind of pasta), Pecorino di Pienza (cheese), zuppa di pane (stale bread and vegetables soup), Chianina beef, snails, Christmas cakes such as panforte and ricciarelli.

WINES: Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda, Trebbiano, Malvasia

MUST DO’S: Pienza, San Quirico, a shot at Bosco dei Cipressi, Bagno Vignoni’s thermal baths, Monticchiello, a glass of wine in Montalcino, Cappella della Vitaleta, drive along Val d’Orcia’s curvy roads fringed by cypresses.


  • War in Val d’Orcia: an Italian War Diary 1943-1944, by Iris Origo
  • Iris Origo: Marchesa of Val d’Orcia, by Caroline Moorehead
cartina val d orcia borghi castelli abbazie

In between the provinces of Siena and Grosseto, Tuscany ‘s Val d’Orcia is named after the river that flows through the valley. Val d’Orcia is well known for its spectacular landscapes.

Rolling hills, medieval villages, vineyards, ploughed fields, castles and abbeys, a land where nature, history and art have shapen a landscape painted in Renaissance to embody the ideal of beauty.

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Val d'Orcia's landscape, photo Pixabay

Slow travel in Val d'Orcia

The whole area is a crucial transit point for pilgrimage itineraries that retrace St. Francis’ Way. Moreover, in recent years vintage steam trains have been reactivated rediscovering old railway lines such as Asciano-Monte Antico.

Via Francigena in val d Orcia g8a880733c_1920
Via Francigena in Val d Orcia, foto Pixabay

Val d'Orcia: did you know that...

Val d’Orcia has been repeatedly chosen as the setting for international films such as Ridley Scott‘s Gladiator and Anthony Minghella‘s The English Patient.

Val d’Orcia is also located in the midst of Eroica cycling event’s route, although the white roads can be discovered all year round by bike or motorbike.

BEST TIME TO GO: Spring and early summer ensure the most beautiful colors, longest daylight and warm weather. Autumn also is a good time to visit Val d’Orcia, while in summer most of the villages organize events based on medieval themes.

HOW TO GET THERE: The nearest airports are Florence “Amerigo Vespucci” (2h), Pisa “Galileo Galilei” (2h), “Umbria Perugia” (1h30′), Rome Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci” (2h30′). There are no direct train connections to Val d’Orcia: the closest stations are Siena, Buonconvento, Chiusi – Chianciano Terme. However, there are excellent bus connections with all the cities in Tuscany.

HOW TO MOVE AROUND: Driving is the best way to visit Val d’Orcia. Traveling by car or motorbike allows to enjoy the fascinating landscape. In Pienza, Fiat 500, Vespas or sidecars can be rented. For hikers, St Francis’ way goes through here.

WHERE TO STAY: There are many agriturismi (farmhouses) in Val d’Orcia, ancient palaces, luxury resorts with spas or thermal baths and unique boutique hotels, the choice just depends on the budget.

HOW LONG SHOULD I STAY: Distances are limited, so you may visit several locations in a day but if possible you should stay 2 or 3 nights.

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