The Val d’Orcia is a strong symbol of the Land of Siena.
Cypresses, the so called “blue trees”, are the arrows of a virtual compass. They are the sentinels of the landscape that accompanies the traveler. The road that ties the Land of Siena from west to east, uniting the Val d’Orcia with the Val di Chiana is a natural lookout point and, justly, famous.
The itinerary leaves from San Quirico d’Orcia. The borgo merits absolutely a visit; the Collegiata dei Santi Quirico and Giiulitta, the church of the Misericordia, the Palazzo Pretorio,Palazzo Chigi and the churches of Santa Maria di Vitaleta and Santa Maria Assunta. Also must-sees are the Horti Leonini, the gardens of the 15th century designed by Diomede Leoniwhich host expositions of contemporary sculpture.
From here we will go in the direction of Pienza on the beautiful ridge road that has grand vistas of the hills that run into the distance. Soon you will come to Pienza, an obligatory stop on this route. Pienza is noted as an ideal town, creation and expression of a humanist renaissance, founded on a new world inspired by a cosmopolitan philosophy, tolerant and open. In order to translate architecturally the values of this culture, Enea Silvio Piccolominientrusted the project to Bernardo Gambaretti who was called “Il Rossellino”. He was an architect of the school of Leon Battista Alberti, capable of inventing a city that would materialize the humanistic and renaissance ideals. Work began in 1459 and after only three years PopePius the Second deliberated the birth of the city.
The view of the street that wedges itself between the Cathedral and Palazzo Piccolomini is superb; the big sky panorama of the Val d’Orcia is unmistakable, in the distance you can see the castle of Radicofani and the large shoulders of Monte Amiata.
The trip continues onward towards Montepulciano. The road seems to have been designed by a landscape architect. The perfume of pecorino cheese will tempt you to stop in one of the many farms that produce this wonderful food, but then you’ll remember that you’ve already stocked up on pecorino in the shops in Pienza.
Montepulciano is the other intermediate stage of our voyage. It’s time to shut off the engines and trust your own legs, Montepulciano is a city of great interest. We highly recommend a walk into the underground cantinas where it’s possible to taste one of Tuscany’s prestigious wines, the Nobile of Montepulciano. You will continue on towards Chianciano and Chianciano Terme where the waters are virtually as special as the wine. Here you can let yourself go, taking care of your health and wellbeing.
In the final part of the trip you will leave the poetic Val d’Orcia for the mysterious and fascinating culture of the Etruscans which, in the city of Chiusi, you will find an important reference point for. Here history has ancient roots which can be found in the signs left by the Etruscans. There’s a world to discover in the underground catacombs and tunnels such as the labyrinth of Porsenna. Fans of the Etruscan culture will be sure to visit the National Archeological Museum in Chiusi as well as those in Chianciano Terme and Sarteano.
Courtesy of APT Siena Tourist Office