Talking about the best in Tuscany, it is impossible to miss Val d’Orcia. It is here that you can see the incredible landscapes of the famous Tuscan hills and fields, it is here that a huge number of films were filmed.
If you are wondering how long to stay, it definitely makes no sense to come to the valley for one day. You should spend more time here, stay for two or three nights. Also, make sure you come with your own car or at least you rent one. There are a lot of places that cannot be reached by public transports, and walking here is extremely difficult so you will need to drive by yourself.
In this article, we will talk about the places you should definitely visit during your trip to Val d’Orcia.
Pienza is a tiny medieval town surrounded by green hilly fields. Unesco listed the historic center as a World Heritage Site, as a first town where Renaissance town-planning concepts were carried out and thanks to its “authenticity in terms of design, material, workmanship and setting”. A promenade in this village is a pure bliss. Enjoy the flower pots in front of the doors, the narrow passages and the truly spectacular views of Val d’Orcia from the promenade above the town walls. Sip a glass of local red wine, taste the incredible pecorino (sheep cheese) and feel the authentic Italian atmosphere.
The cypress circle in San Quirico d’Orcia
Near San Quirico d’Orcia, which is another beautiful town with a mind-blowing old town, a cypress circle is planted. This is probably the most famous cypress trees spot in all of Tuscany, but keep reading the article to find out other incredible cypress places!
Here are the coordinates: 43°03’51.3″N 11°33’30.2″E
Val d’Orcia is known for places like Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino and San Quirico d’Orcia, but the real surprise of our trip was Monticchiello. In Etruscan and Roman times, this small village was a crossroads of streets that connected centres and communities in the area. There are still traces of the medieval fortresses, greatly contrasting the Renaissance framework of Pienza. It’s so tiny but totally worth visiting, even just for the scenic views that you will see when driving to the village.
Bagno Vignoni is another beautiful place that you must include in your Val d’Orcia itinerary!
This lovely village features a one-of-a-kind square. It is called “Square of Sources” – Piazza delle Sorgente and unlike most piazzas in Italy, this one is a pool – a hot spring, at the center of town. The pool is surrounded by small stone buildings, a church on the west edge, cheerful geraniums, while diners enjoy the myriad of cafes flanking the piazza.
Bagni San Filippo
After ogling over pictures of Tuscany’s amazing outdoor natural thermal pools for several months, we were simply ecstatic when we finally made it to Bagni San Filippo, a thermal area known for its hot springs since before the Romans. The water of this Tuscan hot spring is rich in calcium carbonate whose deposits form magnificent white concentrate structures, tiny waterfalls and warm water pools along the flow of the stream. The hot spring is surrounded by woods on one side and makes it the perfect spot amidst nature to relax and enjoy a beautiful spa day.
Some of the reasons to visit these beautiful hot springs are: Bagni San Filippo are absolutely free to use for public, they are not as well-known as the Saturnia hot springs (so the area does not get overcrowded) and they are located right in the heart of Val d’Orcia.
Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta
This tiny, beautiful chapel is a fun stop between Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia. You can spot it from the main road (SP 146) but you can also follow signs to take a short detour, park and then walk the rest of the way to see it up close. Do pay a visit, you won’t regret!
Here you can find the coordinates: 43°04’15.4″N 11°38’04.0″E
Finally we are ready to unveil two other cypress spots that we found while driving through Val d’Orcia.
The first one is the entrance of Agriturismo Baccoleno (here are the coordinates: 43°12’05.5″N 11°35’27.0″E), a beautiful farmhouse which is actually just outside of Val d’Orcia in a nearby area called Crete Senesi.
The second cypress spot is the entrance of Poggio Covili (here are the coordinates: 43°01’28.5″N 11°38’17.5″E), another inviting country house located between San Quirico d’Orcia and Castiglione d’Orcia.
Which of these two is your favorite?