Val d’Orcia, a Heritage to discover. Inscribed on the world heritage list of UNESCO in 2004, Val d’Orcia is a valley located between Siena and Grosseto. The charm of this hill comes from the presence of a dense vegetation of vineyards, olive groves, cypress, beech and chestnut trees interspersed with ancient medieval villages, castles and isolated monasteries. Its breathtaking sight inspired the artistic genius of Ambrogio Lorenzetti in his cycle of frescoes and paintings of the School of Siena. Perfect destination for the lovers of outdoor walks and bike tours or for those who simply want to relax and enjoy the scenery.
The beautiful villages that are part of the big park of Val d’Orcia are Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia and Radicofani.
Castiglione D’Orcia is a medieval village located in the center of Val d’Orcia, in a hilly area that stretches from the river Orcia to the slopes of Monte Amiata. Especially known for the tower of the fortress of Tentennano, monument that stands on a hill not far from Castiglione, there are noteworthy monuments in the city such as the Romanesque churches of Santa Maria Maddalena and that of Saints Stephen and Degna, with its sixteenth-century facade , which are home to remarkable works by Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti. It is renowned in the area the presence of hot springs of San Filippo, Bagno Vignoni and Vivo d’Orcia. Among the events we signal the Maggiolata of Castiglione d’Orcia, from 14 to 24 May 2015. Maggiolate are traditional Tuscan feasts linked to the rural world during which groups of singers, called Maggiaioli , celebrate the arrival of summer playing madrigals through the streets of the village that are decorated for the occasion with floral trimmings. As a propitiatory ritual, maggiaioli play verses celebrating the arrival of spring with the hope of prosperity for the farmers: Dawn is breaking and dresses the sun, put on it gold shoes, on the mouth there is a beautiful flower, dawn is breaking and dresses the sun.
Montalcino is a picturesque village surrounded by walls, famous for the production of Brunello wine and honey. The attractions of Montalcino are the characteristic long, narrow tower of the Priori Palace, home of the town hall, the Episcopal Palace and the churches of Saint Agostino, Saint Egidio, Saint Francesco and the Fortress where takes place in July the famous event Jazz&Wine that combines jazz clubs with tastings of wine outdoors.
Pienza is the largest town in Val d’Orcia, heritage site of UNESCO since 1996. In the city, tourists can take in the sights Pio II Square, whose urban structure refers to the views of the Renaissance, the papal residence at Piccolomini Palace and the Civic Palace. Spring Festival of Pienza is a fascinating event that takes place every year in May. It is a hymn celebrating the arrival of summer with the decoration of the cloisters of palaces and squares with swags and floral arrangements as laurel, ribbons and fruit with many markets of flowers and plants. Typical product of the area is Pecorino of Pienza.
San Quirico d’Orcia is a medieval village surrounded by walls whose most famous monuments are the Collegiate Church of Saints Quirico and Giuditta with the Romanesque-Gothic portals, the Praetorian Palace, Chigi Palace, and Santa Maria of Vitaleta. One of the most important events is certainly the Orcia Wine Festival that takes place the last week of April with wine and local products tasting.
Radicofani is a small village located on Mount Amiata and for centuries one of the most important strongholds of Italy. The most important monument is the Romanesque church of San Pietro, characterized by Gothic arches that has a large collection of pottery of Della Robbia and wooden statues. Other points of interest are the Church of St. Agatha and the Praetorian Palace with magnificent stone coats of arms. One of the oldest traditions of Tuscany taking place in Radicofani is the Holy Week with brotherhoods of the city celebrating holy processions along the town’s streets, with hooded people carrying the cross.
If you want to immerse yourself into the medieval world and get in touch with the authentic Tuscan tradition, do not miss the chance to visit the Val d’Orcia which impresses with stunning scenery and cultural events !