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March Countryside near San Quirico d'Orcia, Val d'Orcia, Siena. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Val d’Orcia: natural landscape modeled by man

In 2004, the Val d’Orcia was registered by UNESCO as a world heritage landscape area, with the following reasons: “… it is an exceptional example of how the natural landscape was redesigned in the Renaissance period to reflect the ideals of good governance and create an aesthetically pleasing image.” The landscape of this area of Tuscany is very beautiful. Renaissance painters often reproduced in their works the beauty of this natural landscape shaped by man.

Val d’Orcia is included in the following municipalities all in the province of Siena: Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia. Its territory mainly consists of a hilly landscape with gentle shapes and slightly accentuated valley incisions. The course of the Orcia river cuts across the valley, the dominant element of the landscape is erosion, which often lays bare the light-colored clay substrate.

Val d'Orcia

Val d’Orcia

A GREAT WEALTH OF ART

In all the municipalities of the Val d’Orcia, there are historical and artistic eminences of great importance. In this area there are churches and fortresses, monasteries and convents, gardens and palaces. The architectural works in the area date back mainly to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Among the places to visit in San Quirico d’Orcia, a walled village, there are a splendid collegiate church and the nearby Palazzo Chigi. Also worth seeing are the Horti Leonini.

In the village of Pienza, an ideal Renaissance town built at the behest of Pope Pius II, there are a splendid cathedral, several palaces (Ammannati, Piccolomini and Vescovile) and some churches such as those of the Church of S. Francesco and the Pieve di Corsignano. In the village of Montalcino famous for the production of Brunello wine, the imposing fortress, the Palazzo Comunale and the Church of S. Agostino are worth visiting. In Castiglione d’Orcia there is the Rocca degli Aldobrandeschi. Finally in Radicofani among the things to see there is the famous fortress of Ghino di Tacco and the Medici walls.

VILLAGES AND ABBEYS

Among the small villages scattered in the area, the villages of Monticchiello, Corsignano, Castelluccio and Spedaletto, in the municipality of Pienza, are worth mentioning. Those of Rocca d’Orcia, Campiglia d’Orcia, Ripa d’Orcia and Vivo d’Orcia in the municipality of Castiglione d’Orcia. The splendid village of Bagno Vignoni and that of Ripa d’Orcia in the municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia. Finally that of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, near the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, in the municipality of Montalcino.

Of great interest are the testimonies of religious architecture scattered throughout the valley such as the Camaldolese monastery of San Piero in Campo. But also the Olivetan monastery of Sant’Anna in Camprena. Then, above all, to finish the most beautiful religious work in the entire Val d’Orcia: the wonderful Abbey of Sant’Antimo located in a splendid position in the municipality of Montalcino.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007
  • Arezzini Tiziana; Pierguidi Valentina; Smaghi Raffaella “Val d’Orcia patrimonio dell’umanità” C&P Adver Effigi, 2012
  • Stopani, Renato “La val d’Orcia, un’«area di strada» del Medioevo-La val d’Orcia. A medieval road area” Firenzelibri, 2012
  • Turchi, Athos “La bicicletta e l’arte di pensare. Cicloturismo filosofico in val d’Orcia” C&P Adver Effigi, 2013

SPRING IN VAL D’ORCIA

The landscape of the valley changes every season, here a selection of photos taken in Spring.

SUMMER IN VAL D’ORCIA

The landscape of the valley changes every season, here a selection of photos taken in Summer.

AUTUMN IN VAL D’ORCIA

The landscape of the valley changes every season, here a selection of photos taken in Autumn.

WINTER IN VAL D’ORCIA

The landscape of the valley changes every season, here a selection of photos taken in Winter.

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