What to see in Val d’Orcia. Our itinerary.

The Val d’Orcia is one of the most beautiful places in Italy and not only in Tuscany. Many have written and been fascinated by these hills that convey peace of mind and, it has to be said, magic. A protected area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between the provinces of Siena and Grosseto.

Val d’orcia what to see – In spring and summer it offers the best view of itself, but the clear winter days and autumn mists also give it an irresistible charm. We have experienced them all and it is really difficult to indicate the best season to visit the Val D’orcia.

Val d’Orcia where it is

Val dorcia mappa
Val d’Orcia Map

The Val d’Orcia is located in the southern part of Tuscany along the Via Cassia and Via Francigena that leads from Siena to Lake Bolsena.
Made of rolling hills and beautiful vineyards that tell the story of the production of ‘Brunello’.
Places where it is good to get lost to enjoy enchanting landscapes that are a spectacle for the eyes and the spirit.

What to see in Val d’Orcia

The advice is to start from the heart of this valley and in this article we will try to create a perfect itinerary so that you don’t miss anything of these magical places.

Val d’Orcia places to see

Val d’Orcia where to sleep

On our tour of the Val d’Orcia, we were based in San Quirico d’Orcia, our first Tuscan village. It is barycentrically located with respect to all the places to visit, so it seemed a suitable place to make our base for the itinerary.

Collegiate Church of San Quirico d'Orcia
Val d’orcia Tuscany – Collegiate Church San Quirico d’orcia

We have opted for a hotel, but if you want to fully savour the bucolic atmosphere of this part of Tuscany, the suggestion we can make is to take advantage of the thousands of holiday homes or agriturismi available.

After savouring it in all senses, our itinerary continued to Montepulciano.

Val d’orcia in Tuscany – Visit Montepulciano

It is located on the boundary between the Val d’Orcia and the Val di Chiana and enjoys a wonderful panorama of both diverse and rich Tuscan valleys.
Although its appearance is medieval, Montepulciano has Etruscan origins. From about 600 metres, the city dominates the superb panorama.

val d'orcia what to see Piazza Grande Montepulciano
Val d’orcia what to see – Piazza Grande Montepulciano © Roberta Capanni

La Piazza Grande ospita il Duomo e il palazzo Comunale con la facciata disegnata da Michelozzo. A small ‘old palace’ in the Florentine style, protagonist, together with the beautiful square, of many films and historical dramas.

The ‘Palazzo Vecchio effect’ immediately jumps to the eye, although here the is light-coloured stone, with ashlar below and travertine from the second order.
However, to get a special view of the square in summer, if you don’t suffer from vertigo like me, you can climb the tower during opening hours.

Pienza what to see

From Montepulciano we turned back and headed for Pienza the Renaissance pearl in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. Pienza val d’orcia is a small jewel where the harmony of forms is combined with that of the landscape, giving a sense of beauty and peace.

Pienza
Pienza

Pienza, the ‘ideal city‘ desired by Enea Piccolomini, future Pope Pius II, a project dreamt and conceived. Deciding what to see in Pienza is easy: around the harmonious central square, we find the Cathedral, the papal residence or Palazzo Piccolomini, and the town hall.

Looking at the pure lines and perfect perspective also allows one’s gaze to sweep over the superb panorama embracing the Val D’Orcia. When the question arises, what to see in the Val d’Orcia, Pienza is the answer.

Val d’Orcia Toscana by car

Leaving Pienza and its Renaissance buildings behind, we reached the Pieve di Corsignano of very ancient origin, although its current appearance, in Romanesque style, dates back to the 12th century. The Pieve di Corsignano is a place of pure magic, with its peculiar crypt, supported by that one column. Mystery and magic hover all around.

Pieve di Corsignano bell tower
Pieve di Corsignano bell tower

The Vitaleta Chapel

Don’t ask what to see in Val d’Orcia but what not to see because if you have unlimited time or you will have to make choices.

Vitaleta's Chapel val d'Orcia
Vitaleta’s Chapel val d’Orcia

What is definitely not to be missed is the Vitaleta Chapel, the most photographed in the Val d’Orcia. The countryside in which the small chapel stands is the classic landscape of Tuscany’s most beloved, with rolling hills and dark cypresses standing out next to the white of the small country church. Here, too, legends and miracles chase each other.

Spedaletto Castle

Spedaletto Castle, on the other hand, is located along the road from Renaissance Pienza to Bagno Vignoni. The name indicates its function as a ‘spedale’ one of the many that arose along the Via Francigena through the Val d’Orcia.

Spedaletto Castle
Spedaletto Castle

It was Ugolino di Rocchione, a religious man, who undertook the construction of this fortified building in the 12th century to accommodate pilgrims in a strategically important location. The Castle of Spedaletto with its towers at each corner supporting the square plan is truly beautiful to behold. Today you can sleep in the farmhouse to treat yourself to an authentic Val D’orcia experience.

The Legend of the Oak of Checche

If you love legends, you should also not miss the sight of the quercia delle checche. The tree was planted near Pienza over three centuries ago. At the time, Tuscany was led by Grand Duke Ferdinand II de’ Medici, who loved science as much as nature. A large and ancient tree, beloved by the people who fought to protect it. Thus in 2017, the Quercia delle Checche was recognised as Italy’s first green monument by MiBACT. The Quercia delle Checche, which in Tuscany were called checche or cecche, is 22 metres high and has a diameter of 5, a true spectacle of nature.

Oak of the Checche val d'Orcia
Checche oak

Towards Bagno Vignoni and the Roman baths

We then head for Bagno Vignoni, taking roads that are always scenic, climbing up and down these hills that open up different and at the same time unified views at every glimpse.

Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni


Bagno Vignoni is worth a long stop, swimming costume in hand. Here, since Etruscan times, people have enjoyed the warm waters flowing at 38° C that heal body and soul. The large, atmospheric central pool of the small village deserves to be photographed and seen at least once in a lifetime, and the body enjoy the warm waters of the natural pools a short distance from the village.

Castiglione d’Orcia on the borders of Amiata

We leave the warm waters behind and head for the ancient volcano, Amiata, the treasure chest of Tuscany. We stop on its slopes and perched on a hill we find Castiglione d’Orcia, climbing up the Cassia to arrive in this stone village intimately linked to the landscape of the Val d’Orcia.

castiglione d'orcia
Castiglione d’Orcia

We don’t have time to dive into the warm water yet, but there are other wonders to see nearby such as the ‘white whale’ also known as the glacier. All the thermal power of the ancient volcano can be found in the hot waters, which in a succession of small natural pools give rise to truly impressive limestone formations.

The charm of Sant’Antimo Abbey

We head towards Castiglion dell’Abate and in particular to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, one of Tuscany’s wonders, founded by Charlemagne as legend has it, a powerful nucleus of symbolism uniting the centuries. White, majestic, the abbey had lost its possessions and power over the centuries, but today it has been reborn to new life and its vibrations continue to spread across this part of the territory.

Abbazia di Sant'Antantimo
Abbazia di Sant’Antantimo


Drinking wine in Montalcino at the end of our itinerary

Our final destination on this tour of the Val d’Orcia is Montalcino and its wine. The world-famous Brunello is a good description of the Tuscan character. Strong, elegant, taking time to become unique. And Montalcino, with the view it offers, its Fortress and the delicacies washed down with its prestigious Sangiovese, is another of the Val D’Orcia’s unmissable destinations.

Photographic experience

If you are looking for a photographic experience in the Val d’Orcia, we recommend booking a photo trip with WeShoot guys.

Frequent questions on Val D’Orcia

Val dorcia
(Visitato 594 volte. Solo oggi ci sono state 3 visite a questo articolo)

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