What to see in Val d’Orcia in a weekend
Tuscany is a region full of wonderful places, and the Val d’Orcia is one of them. With rolling hills, centuries-old cypress trees and small villages that seem to have come out of the Middle Ages now, the Val d’Orcia really does look like a painting.
If you are thinking of planning a weekend or vacation in Tuscany, here are some tips on what to see in Val d’Orcia, where to go and what stops to make.
Where the Val d’Orcia is located
The Val d’Orcia is located in the province of Siena, on the border with Umbria and immediately north of Mount Amiata. The valley is crossed by the Orcia River, from which it takes its name, and borders the Crete Senesi, almost reaching the province of Grosseto.
The entire Val d’Orcia has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, a beautiful natural park dotted with cypresses, vineyards and hot springs.
What to see in Val d’Orcia
The entire Val d’orcia is a must-see! If you want to plan an itinerary that allows you to discover the most beautiful places in a single weekend, we recommend some must-see places.
Pienza is one of the most characteristic villages of the Val d’Orcia, to be seen and discovered. A real jewel designed by Bernardo il Rossellino, under the guidance of architect Leon Battista Alberti. The Cathedral, the Piazza Pio II and the Palazzo Piccolomini are some of the must-see stops.
Strolling around Pienza you will find beautiful historic buildings, narrow streets and postcard views. And of course, don’t miss the chance to taste the famous Pecorino di Pienza cheese.
San Quirico d’Orcia
What to see in the Val d’Orcia still? Undoubtedly the small village of San Quirico d’Orcia: as you arrive, you’ll see it standing out from the top of a hill, just as it did centuries ago. This ancient village is located along the Via Francigena and has Etruscan origins.
Unmissable stops include the 16th-century gardens, the main square, the fortresses and the Pieve. Also worth a visit is the Cassero Tower, the remains of which are still visible.
Abbey of Sant’Antimo
The Abbey of Sant’Antimo is one of the most fascinating things to see in the Val d’Orcia. It is a monastic complex dating back centuries: legend has it that Charlemagne, in 781, was returning from Rome along the Via Francigena. His army and retinue were struck by the plague during the journey, and Charlemagne had the Abbey built as a vow.
Today all that remains of the ancient Abbey is the Carolingian Chapel and the remains of the chapter house and cloister. It still remains one of the most distinctive Romanesque buildings in Tuscany.
A small village nestled among cypress trees, with a series of architectural and artistic wonders to discover.
The Piazza Vecchietta, dedicated to the painter, sculptor and architect Lorenzo di Pietro (nicknamed precisely the Vecchietto and originally from here) is the town center. From here you can leave to visit the Tentennano Fortress, the San Giovanni Art Hall and the church of Santa Maria Maddalena.
Chapel of Vitaleta
The Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta is located in the hills that lead from San Quirico d’Orcia to Pienza. If you’re wondering what to see in Val d’Orcia, this is definitely a must-see.
It is a charming little chapel framed by rows of cypress trees, built on the exact spot where Mary appeared to a local shepherdess.
Bagno Vignoni is known as the Spa of the Val d’Orcia. A small town of ancient origin that has a feature that makes it truly unique: a pool, right located in the Central Square, filled with hot thermal water. The pool is a full 49 meters long and 29 meters wide so it offers a particularly impressive sight.
Val d’Orcia: where to sleep?
So what to see in Val d’Orcia we have discovered (and these are just some of the wonders to see), but where to sleep?
Castello di Gargonza is located a stone’s throw from Val d’Orcia, immersed in nature, the ideal starting point to set out to discover small villages, natural landscapes and churches surrounded by cypress trees.
The castle is an ancient medieval village that we have preserved intact and perfectly preserved. Each building houses a room or apartment that we have decided to keep just as they once were.
If you would like to know about availability and our accommodations, please, write to us.