Sweeping valleys that change colour according to the season and the colours in bloom – from deep greens to bright reds in poppy season, to sheets of sunflowers that disappear into the distance. The Val d’Orcia is THE destination everyone dreams of, to drive along the windy roads in a vintage convertible as the wind brushes through your hair, passing cypress trees beautifully lined up as if they were in a painting. There are a few areas in the Val d’Orcia territory that conserve fascinating sites, wonderful wine cellars and hidden gems to sleep in and wake up to complete bliss.
SAN CASCIANO DEI BAGNI
An antique and renowned medieval village located in the province of Siena, the heart of the Val d’Orcia, that is part of the UNESCO Heritage. San Casciano dei Bagni is known for its 42 natural thermal springs which, thanks to their healing properties, were much loved by the Etruscans and Romans. The beauty of San Casciano dei Bagni is that original buildings, churches and small alleyways still retain and preserve their original medieval structure.
Where to eat
The restaurant is located in the peaceful and calm hillside within La Fontanella Hotel. The menu is very traditional, paying particular attention to the quality and seasonality of the ingredients produced in the region. Homemade pasta accompanied by a glass of local wine is the recipe to pure happiness. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Located in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, near Siena, Fonteverde is a historic palace placed over a mineral spring. This hotel boasts extraordinary panoramic views as well as professional treatments and massages aimed at regenerating and recharging your energies. Sleep in the timeless, period decorated rooms and open your window out to the purest source of energy: nature. Spend the day in the holistic spa and swim in the thermal pools overlooking the wonderful backdrop. Heal your soul with one of the Oriental therapies that combine ancient Indian medicine with the therapeutic properties of hot springs such as an ayurvedic massage or reflexology or perhaps explore the benefits of natural rituals from thermal mud mousse packs and essential oils. There are also diet programmes and programmes aimed at helping you rebalance your physical and mental wellbeing. WEBSITE
The history of San Casciano dei Bagni revolves around the important thermal springs, probably used before by the Etruscans and then mostly by the Romans. Take a trip to Bagno Grande, an area with 42 thermal springs with a natural temperature of 42 degrees, making this location the 3rd in Europe for thermal water flow.
Located in the southern part of Siena, Montalcino is surrounded by 13th century walls that were used to protect the village. Surrounded by secular olive trees and ancient oaks the landscapes are typical of the region. Within Montalcino you’ll also witness the 14th century Fortress that stands proud over the village, worth a visit. The town also become renowned around the world for the Brunello, a noble red wine that’s paired beautifully with a steak.
What to see
Museo Tempio del Brunello
The museum is an innovative and immersive destination that evokes the history of its surroundings as well as the evolution of its vineyards that have made their way into the international markets. You can take a seat in the cloister and watch a short clip that transports you across castles, villages, vineyards and hills of Brunello di Montalcino. The visit ends at the Digital Enoteca Bistrot Tempio del Brunello where you’ll learn about the different types of Brunello di Montalcino (Vintage, Vineyard and Reserve) and Rosso di Montalcino. You’ll also. be guided by a digital sommelier who will help you chose which Brunello to taste according to your preferences. Each tasting will be accompanied by a tasty Tuscan menu by Imma Cordella.
Where to eat
Alle Logge di Piazza
A typical Tuscan osteria located in the central Piazza of Montalcino. Here, you’ll taste traditional cuisine within the rustic ambiance of the restaurant.
Albergo Ristorante Il Giglio
Ristorante Il Giglio is located in a refined and historic hotel in the city center. There’s a tasting menu with five courses that change according to the season – but always expect local flavours such as Chianina beef, truffle, pigeon, and Val d’Orcia cheese. WEBSITE
Osteria di Porta al Cassero
Osteria di Porta al Cassero is a traditional restaurant with a warm, cosy atmosphere. An array of typical antipasti to get the hunger going (a selection of bruschette are always the ones) and among the first courses chose between two home pastas: Pici o Maccheroni – and then select your favourite sauce. WEBSITE
An intimate farmhouse where you can book a cooking class or simply savouring farm-to-table cuisine in the family dining room. The menu features homegrown produce (or locally sourced) coupled with a glass of their own produced, natural wine. Surrounded by a garden, during the warmer days you can chose to eat under the pergola or request a picnic and find a secluded spot to enjoy your lunch in intimacy. WEBSITE
Gabriele Gorelli, from Montalcino, was the first Master of Wine of Italy. In this destination you can live in his legacy and taste some of the best wines in the region. Every year a chemical-physical and organoleptic examination of a wine sample is carried out in January, in order to understand the quality of the harvest. Starting from 1992, every year the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino creates a tile to position on the wall of the town hall of Montalcino to celebrate the harvest.
Tenuta Carpineto is a winery that houses five estates and over 500 hectares of land. Here, around 95% of their production is red wines, among which, in the Montalcino estate, is Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino, both made with Sangiovese grapes. Here you can book a wine tour & tasting to experience the territory and their methods of production alongside tasting some high quality reds. WEBSITE
Tenute di Biondi Santi
The Tenuta di Biondi Santi is the first producer of Brunello in Montalcino. It all started with Clemente Santi and his nephew Ferruccio Biondi Santi who in the eighteen hundreds began to produce barrel-aged single-varietal wines in Montalcino and, in 1888, produced the first vintage Brunello di Montalcino. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco spans across 2000 hectares, housing 42 rooms & suites, 11 villas, two restaurants, a SPA, Golf Club and Wine Cellar. The design, curated by Teresa Burgisser and Chiara Ferragamo, is charming: an elegant spin on antique furnishings with a careful colour coordination in each room. technologies. Behind the beautiful interior design of the hotel, there are Teresa Burgisser and Chiara Ferragamo. The hotel also offers a Spa where you can relax enjoying the treatments and private garden. The Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco also has some independent villas with beautiful pools and amazing gardens located on a private hill. There is also a private wine cellar with a collection of their wines including those purchased by Justin Timberlake and his wife, and a golf court, the only private one in Italy with a clubhouse. WEBSITE
Among Sienese vineyards and olive trees, Castello Banfi is renowned for the undisputed quality of its wines as well as its exclusive Il Borgo hotel and two restaurants: La Sala dei Grappoli and the Taverna Banfi. The little 18th century hamlet in which the fourteen rooms and suites are situated preserves entirely the original structure and charm of what used to be the the dwelling of farmers who toiled for the noble landowners. After renovations, each room acquired a unique personality with an interior design signed by Federico Forquet who was able to enhance the simplicity of the place, preserve its soul, and at the same time provide a luxury feel. The swimming pool is on a terrace, overlooking the magnificent Val d’Orcia. Do not miss a visit to the cellars of the company and to the Glass Museum in the stables of the Castle. WEBSITE
Borgo Finocchietto is an exceptionally charming hamlet immsersed in the Tuscan countryside and placed on the Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome. Borgo Finocchietto is made up of the main manor house Villa Finocchietto with nine suites and an ancient cobble-stoned courtyard as well as four independent villas which in total can accommodate upto 44 guests – perfect for weddings or events! Surrounding the buildings are perfectly trimmed gardens and mesmerising views. Here, savour seasonal cuisine by Tuscan Born Chef Roberto Rossi with the option of buffet or sit-down dinners as well as many more excuses to enjoy local delicacies and wine. WEBSITE
Visit the old medieval town of Montalcino, passing by the Fortezza, the Dome, the Church della Madonna del Soccorso and simply immerse yourselves in the beauty of the small cobblestone streets that will take you back to the medieval times.
Immersed in the green hillsides of the Val d’Orcia, Montepulciano is a paradise for wine connoisseurs and not only. It’s the heart and soul for anyone who loves a good glass of full bodied red. The historic center leads up to the Piazza Grande that withholds unique historic pearls such as the Palazzo Comunale, Pozzo dei Grifi e dei Leoni and an array of renaissance structures.
Get lost in the beauty of the old medieval alleys of Montepulciano and stop by the historical structures. From the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, passing by the Piazza Grande and finally admire the Fortress that overlooks the town of Montepulciano. Also take time to visit Poliziano, one of the most iconic and historic wineries of Montepulciano. WEBSITE
Castiglione d’Orcia is immersed among rolling hills, cypress trees and gullies. Here art is at the centre of the small town whose main square “Piazza Vecchietta” is dedicated to Lorenzo di Pietro, a renowned artist from Castiglione d’Orcia.
What to see
La rocca di Tentennano
La Rocca di Tentennano is the only fortress tower in Val d’Orcia. Before the 11th century, it was one of the main outposts on the Via Francigena, offering a 360° view from Monte Amiata across the entire Val d’Orcia. You can book a tour through ValdOrciaTour, climbing to the top of the tower and enjoy the sensational panorama. Below the tower is Rocca d’Orcia, a small medieval village of Etruscan origins, with a few houses arranged in a fan shape around the central square where you can stop for a bite to eat or sleep at the Cisterna del Borgo.
Where to eat
Contemporary and tradition come together at Osteria Perillà, with refined and simple proposals that seek to bring a little newness to the table in which traditional flavours are enhanced with locally sourced ingredients. WEBSITE
Pasticceria Artigianale Scheggi
In Borgo Vittorio Emanuele, in the heart of Castiglione d’Orcia, a sweet stop at Pasticceria Artigianale Scheggi is a must. Each delicious thing is carefully prepared by the highly talented Dario Scheggi. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Relais Osteria dell’Orcia
An idyllic place situated among antique Tuscan villages, secular olive and cypress trees surrounding Relais Osteria dell’Orcia and it’s well known restaurant La Vecchia Posta. Sixteen simple, essentially furnished rooms that lead out onto the picturesque garden and swimming pool framed by uncontaminated nature. Conveniently close to Bagno Vignoni springs. WEBSITE
Castiglione d’Orcia is a charming village that extends in between the hills of the countryside. Visit the center of the scenographic town, from the Piazza Vecchietta dedicated to Lorenzo di Pietro, an artist from the village, to the Rocca Aldobrandesca built on top of the townhouses by the feudal family.
Pienza is a hilltop town with a distinct character that encloses some cultural and architectural gems. The central Piazza Pio II is framed by 15th-century buildings like the Pienza Cathedral and Piccolomini Palace which also become Pope Pius II’s summer residence. From its pecorino cheese to sweeping views across the valley through charming cobblestone streets, Pienza is a “must” destination to visit during a stop in the Val d’Orcia.
What to see
Castello di Spedaletto
During the early and late Middle Ages, the importance of the Val d’Orcia was linked to Via Francigena, an ancient road that crossed the entire country and used as means of communication and commerce. Along here, many “Spedali” or shelters were built such as Castello di Spedaletto, which later became a farm of monastic property. Today, the castle stands majestic with towers at every corner and a fortified access door beautifully preserved. You can access the external courtyards and the church for free, as well as booking lunch at the Locanda del Mulino, a small restaurant in which local recipes are made with ancient stone-ground grains from the Val d’Orcia mill, a farm that produces pasta, stone-ground flours, cereals, legumes, wine and oil which is also open for visits. WEBSITE
Where to eat
Podere il Casale
A menu based on local and biological ingredients coming from the territory. Meat coming from their farms, freshly made pasta, cheese, olive oil and honey all come from their productions. With the philosophy of preserving and respecting their territory to produce food for their guests Podere il Casale is a km0 restaurant with a beautiful panoramic terrace. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Relais Il Chiostro di Pienza
An ex-Franciscan convent of the 13th century designed by Rossellino under the will of Papa Pio II Enea Silvio Piccolomini, located in Pienza, a beautiful village at the center of the Val d’Orcia. Relais Il Chiostro di Pienza is an elegant and refined hotel with an antique and typical spirit in its suites. WEBSITE
A traditional countryside home, built with stones, completely immersed in the green lands of the Val d’Orcia. A perfect place for a slow vacation with all its comforts; a panoramic swimming pool, elegant rooms and a breathtaking view that extends from Pienza to Montalcino. With its natural materials, old oak floors and soft colors that respect its surroundings, making your stay even more relaxing. WEBSITE
Visit the small historic center of Pienza and try their traditional pecorino, a specialty of the territory seasoned in barriques – you can find this delicacy at Marusco e Maria. On your journey make sure to visit il Duomo di Pienza, where ‘The Assumption”, by Lorenzo di Pietro, a local artist, is displayed. WEBSITE
SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA
This small yet fascinating village sits in a land full of history and culinary traditions all to be discovered. San Quirico is an old town with Etruscan origins immersed within harmonic landscapes and endless historical references. It has a small and cohesive historic centre that houses the Collegiate Church of San Quirico, worth a visit – as is the Horti Leonini which in summer welcomes numerous art installations.
Where to eat
Ristorante Fonte alla Vena
This restaurant is an intimate and romantic endroit with rustic interiors and a pleasant courtyard. The menu features an array of traditional dishes or “cucina povera” that can be enjoyed with an excellent selection of wines. WEBSITE
Trattoria Osenna is known as the oldest restaurant located in San Quirico d’Orcia. In the beautiful garden of the trattoria enriched by secular wisteria, you will be able to taste traditional dishes using high-quality ingredients coming from the territory. WEBSITE
With its Romanesque style, built on the remains of an ancient church, La Collegiata dei Santi Quirico e Giulietta is a beautiful historic construction to not miss out on while visiting San Quirico D’Orcia. Inside you will see, behind the altar, one of the most important artworks of the town, the back of the choir that was embellished by Antonio Barili.
A small village with a magic atmosphere that you can perceive in all its tiny medieval alleys. A perfect destination for those who love a slowly pieced vacation enjoying the scenographic valleys that outline Monticchiello. Get lost in the medieval village and see the Pieve dei Santi Leonardo and Cristoforo and the Romanesque Church.
Where to eat
Ristorante Daria is located in the main alley of the medieval town of Monticchiello. Here you can taste authentic Tuscan cuisine with a touch of innovation given by the creative thought of the chef. From March to November you can also take part in a 2hr cooking class and learn to make traditional recipes which you’ll be able to taste following the session. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
A beautiful countryside home that is in complete harmony with its green and absolutely relaxing surroundings, that remained intact since the Middle Ages. L’Olmo is a small farmhouse located in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, more specifically in the small town of Monticchiello. The hotel is directed by Tonino Cacace, former owner of Capri Tiberio Palace and Sara Iannuzzi. Built in the ‘600, the estate has been renovated whilst still maintaining original elements such as the wooden beam ceilings. WEBSITE
The Teatro Povero di Monticchiello was originally born in the ‘60 as a social and cultural project for the population. At the time the village was going through a period of crisis, which saw a great deal of people leaving and moving to bigger cities. A big shift to modernity was taking place and with this, culture and traditions were being lost. For this reason, the town of Monticchiello decided to create the theater in the main piazza, to stand together against the crisis.