Orcia is the name of the river that crosses this valley, characterized by a hilly landscape scattered with small medieval villages, so unique for its beauty and importance that in 2004 it was declared UNESCO world heritage site.
Pienza is simply beautiful and has an important history which is worth knowing. It is the town of birth of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, pope Pius II, who in the course of this pontificate decided to replan the town to transform it in the “ideal city according to humanistic standards”. To achieve this objective a great architectural contribution was given by artist of the likes of Bernardo Rossellino or of his master Leon Battista Alberti.
From Pienza, along the road that leads to San Quirico d’Orcia, it is almost a must to stop and visit the Cappella di Vitaleta, a small church nestled on the top of a hill. The chapel is one of the most photographed of the valley and is so typically Tuscan as to have almost become its symbol.
San Quirico d'Orcia is a charming village with a historical centre dating back to Medieval times still preserving its walls, almost as to protect the peacefulness of the village. The village life takes place along the main street, with small shops offering the best of the local production of food and wine. Here you will be able to admire and visit the Church of the Collegiata, Palazzo Pretorio, the old Spedale (hospital) di Santa Maria della Scala (XII sec).
A few kilometres away, the historical town of Bagno Vignoni, famous for its XXV century rectangular pool of natural hot water gushing from the underground volcanic layer.
Our journey through the Val d'Orcia does not finish here. Other small gems wait for you: Montalcino, Radicofani, Castiglione d'Orcia and going back towards Pienza, the charming village of Monticchiello.