Val d’Orcia, the enchanted valley of Tuscany 

Val d’Orcia, in Tuscany, is one of the most beautiful places in Italy. It is a protected area included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, its enchanting hilly landscape makes its villages magical and surrounded by beautiful and unspoilt nature.

In this area there are many medieval villages to discover through art, culture and traditions handed down over time. The typical products of the Val D’Orcia are among the most famous in Italy: from meat to cheese through extra virgin olive oil and fine wines.

Val d’Orcia: where is it? 

The Val d’Orcia is that part of the territory of southern Tuscany that borders Umbria and the slopes of Mount Amiata. It is a protected park in which the main protagonist is the wonderful nature. Its name derives from the presence of the river of Orcia that crosses it. The Sienese countryside, such as the area where the famous cypress trees of the Val d’Orcia near San Quirico d’Orcia are among the most photographed places in Italy.

Here time has eroded the clay hills forming the characteristic badlands and the bare and rugged biancane. Since 2004 the wonderful panorama of this part of Tuscany is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as this is considered as a perfect combination of art and landscape and geographical space and ecosystem.

The park of Val d’Orcia has wonderful natural features and historical evidence. The landscape is embellished by the presence of panoramic roads and medieval villages. This is a treasure to be valued and protected because the interventions put in place by man in the past have preserved it in an excellent state of conservation.

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Montalcino, Castiglion d’Orcia and Pienza: the villages of the Val d’Orcia 

The journey to discover the Val d’Orcia can only start from Montalcino one of the most famous villages in Italy. This area is known for the excellent wine production that is among the most famous and most appreciated in the world. When you walk along the road that leads to the village you will meet the wonderful fortress built in 1361.

From here you can admire the beautiful panorama that stretches from Mount Amiata to then cross the Crete Senesi and get to Siena. Continuing the exploration of the territories of the Val d’Orcia you will find another wonderful historical village. It is Castiglion d’Orcia. Its ancient towers and districts are rich in history and natural beauty. Not far from the village is the spa of Bagni di San Filippo.

The city is a natural terrace that allows you to enjoy the wonderful panorama that goes up to the springs of Mount Amiata. Another historical village to visit in Val d’Orcia is Pienza. The village was the birthplace of Pope Pius II who transformed it into a wonderful city of the fifteenth century. Pienza is an exceptional testimony of the urban canons of the Risorgimento period that was based on the rational organization of spaces.

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Val d’Orcia: what to see in Montichiello San Quirico d’Orcia and Montepulciano 

In the town of Pienza there is another historic Tuscan village to visit.  This is Montichiello which is characterized by the presence of a strong wall and the tower of the keep that stands on the hill. Another place to see in this village of the Val d’Orcia is the church of Saints Leonardo and Cristoforo.

This is a testament to the heyday of Montichiello as a medieval fortress. In Val d’Orcia there is also the village of San Quirico d’Orcia which is located halfway between Montalcino and Pienza. In the Middle Ages this village was an important stage of the Via Francigena, the path that led pilgrims to the Eternal City. Even today it is possible to admire the medieval structure of San Quirico.

The journey to discover the Val d’Orcia ends in the village of Montepulciano. This as well as Montalcino is famous all over the world for the excellent quality of the wines produced here. It is perched on top of a hill from which you can admire a splendid view of the Val d’Orcia and the Val di Chiana.

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Typical products of the Val d’Orcia 

Val d’Orcia is known all over the world for the incredible quality of its typical products that are obtained following the ancient traditions handed down with care and attention. Among the most appreciated products is the meat of Cinta senese. This is a breed of pigs that has been bred for centuries in Val d’Orcia.

With this meat are produced different types of salami such as ham, lard, salami and sausage seasoned. Another typical product of these territories in southern Tuscany is the pecorino of Pienza. This cheese is famous all over the world for its unique flavor. One of the products of excellence of the Val d’Orcia is undoubtedly the wine. In the two villages of Montalcino and Montepulciano are produced some of the most appreciated wines in the world.

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