Val d’Orcia: 15 Amazing Places to Visit!
Val d’Orcia is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy and for many people it is the highlight of every Tuscany tour. Endless fields, fantastic viewpoints, picturesque cypress avenues, beautiful panoramic roads and enchanting villages with Renaissance buildings – here you will find classic Tuscany, known from all the famous pictures and magazines, which make its visitors speechless. In addition to the countless impressive places and attractions in Val d’Orcia, you will also be spoiled by various delicious culinary delights. And the many fantastic Agriturismo accommodations make a vacation perfect in the end.
In this travel guide we give you all important information on Val d’Orcia in Tuscany. In addition, we show you the most amazing things to do, beautiful pictures, the best viewpoints and photo spots and where you can find the best places to stay.
General information about Val d’Orcia
Val d’Orcia is located in the south of the province of Siena and in the north-east of the volcanic mountain Monte Amiata. The name Val d’Orcia derives from the river Orcia, which runs through the valley and flows for about 70 kilometers through Tuscany. Covering an area of about 60,000 hectares and with 5 municipalities, this region offers a unique combination of art, history, cuisine and nature. Since 2004, this area has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its special features. The Val d’Orcia is famous above all for its fascinating landscapes. Here you can find the typical Tuscany photo spots that you actually know from the postcards.
On a road trip along the panoramic road, you will experience the most beautiful attractions of Val’Orcia! You’ll also visit charming medieval towns, such as Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino, and on top of that you’ll have the opportunity to taste the best red wines in the world at a wine tasting! But not only that, the Val d’Orcia also holds many insider tips! Dense forests, hot springs, cypress avenues and some of the best agriturismo accommodation make a vacation a unique experience.
The best time to visit Val d’Orcia is not easy to define. In spring, the area is particularly green and the red poppy is in bloom. In summer, however, the wheat fields are golden yellow and there are also sunflower fields to admire. In autumn, Val d’Orcia appears partly dry, but this gives the landscape an extraordinary soft facet. Some people also visit Val d’Orcia in winter, when this region shows its mystical side.
The Best Things to Do in Val d’Orcia
The picturesque Val d’Orcia in Tuscany offers countless attractions, highlights and hidden places. Photographers also enjoy the countless ingenious photo spots and viewpoints. If you don’t want to lose track of all the amazing places to visit, we have summarized the most beautiful sights, viewpoints and the things to see at a glance.
The small town of Pienza is probably one of the most beautiful places in Val d’Orcia. Built as an ideal city of the Renaissance, this historical jewel is now on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The picturesque old town center with its uniquely beautiful Piazza Pio II and the surrounding palaces and churches is particularly fascinating. One a city walk, you will discover numerous romantic squares, historic buildings and various museums. Also worth seeing is the imposing town hall and the beautiful Palazzo Piccolomini, both of which are open to the public. Right next to it is the breathtaking Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which is one of Pienzas most important landmarks.
Tip: Pienza is also famous for its Pecorino cheese, which is considered to be the best in Tuscany and is a must-try during a vacation in Val d’Orcia.
Cappella Madonna di Vitaleta
One of the most famous photo spots in Val d’Orcia is the beautiful Cappella Madonna di Vitaleta, a small chapel nestled in a picturesque landscape like in a fairy tale. This church had already been built in the 12th century and was restored in 1884. Thanks to the charming scenery that surrounds it, this attraction became a landmark in the Orcia Valley and one of the most popular photo motifs in Tuscany. The panorama here is particularly magical in the early morning and in the evening at sunset, when the landscape of the Val d’Orcia presents itself from its most beautiful side.
Tip: One of the most amazing viewpoints of the chapel is located on Strada Provinciale 146, a famous panoramic road in Val d’Orcia.
A real highlight in Val d’Orcia, especially for those who love taking pictures, is the viewpoint to Podere Belvedere. This is the place where the world-famous pictures are taken and it’s the very first thing that comes to your mind when you think of beautiful Tuscany. This is an old farmhouse, surrounded by cypresses, in a beautiful hilly landscape with olive groves and vineyards. The atmosphere here is particularly magical early in the morning or in the evening, when a light mist lies over the fields and the Podere Belvedere conjures up a picture-perfect backdrop.
Tip: Nearby is the Casanova Residence with a beautiful pool and breathtaking views of the Podere Belvedere.
Monticchiello & Zig-Zag Street
Tuscany is famous for its romantic avenues of cypress trees and for its impressive zigzag streets, which create an extraordinary panorama. One of the best photo spots is located in Monticchiello, where a particularly photogenic winding zigzag road winds its way up a hill. A real insider tip is also a walk through the small, medieval village center of Monticchiello, which captivates visitors with a romantic setting and lots of flair.
Tip: It is especially nice to experience Monticchiello, situated on a hill, at sunset with a glass of wine. At La Guardiola you can enjoy the most beautiful view!
The medieval town of Montalcino is a real paradise for connoisseurs and wine lovers. Famous above all for its wine, the exclusive Brunello di Montalcino, the town is a popular tourist attraction in Val d’Orcia. But also the charming old town, which is situated on a hill of about 500 meters high, is absolutely worth seeing. Here you can expect a lot of historical charm and wonderful alleys with countless wine taverns and restaurants that provide culinary highlights. Also worth seeing is the fortress of Montalcino from 1361 with a fantastic view of the old town.
Tip: There are many agriturismo accommodations around Montalcino. A real insider tip is the Casanova di Neri Relais with a pool and a great view of the vineyards.
Agriturismo Baccoleno is probably one of the most photographed places in Tuscany and the absolute highlight of any trip. This traditional farm is located in the Crete Senesi region on the SP60, between Asciano and San Giovanni d’Asso. Although this dreamlike place is therefore not directly in the Val d’Orcia, it is only a stone’s throw away and therefore a popular spot for excursions in the surrounding area. Visitors marvel at the ambiance with its rolling wheat fields, iconic curving cypress avenue and elegant farmhouse, where the gorgeous landscape conjures up the ultimate symbol of Tuscany.
Tip: The Agritursimo Bacceleno is accommodation for that very special stay in Tuscany. Guests love the unique location, the beautiful apartments and the wellness area!
Cypress Avenue Poggio Covili
Another characteristic feature of Val d’Orcia is the countless photogenic avenues of cypress trees that lead to the respective farms, wineries or estates. One of the most popular photo spots is the long, picturesque avenue of the Poggio Covili farm, which is located on the SR2 road. Some of the coolest Instagram pictures of Tuscany are taken here. Although the avenue is only open to guests, you can take great pics right at the entrance. This cypress avenue is one of the most beautiful in the region and is definitely worth a stop when you explore the Val d’Orcia by car or bike!
Tip: Not far away is the Agriturismo Poggio Istiano, a highly recommended accommodation with pool and delicious breakfast!
Another recommendable place to visit in Val d’Orcia is the thermal bath Bagno Vignoni, which is famous for its healing springs. In these baths, the famous Lorenzo di Medici had already cured his physical ailments. The pleasantly warm thermal water is said to be particularly beneficial for skin, bone and joint complaints. In addition to the historical baths, you can also explore a charming medieval town and those who like, can treat themselves to a dose of relaxation in the Wellness Spa Resort. A real insider tip are the grottoes of Bagno Vignoni, which are located directly next to the town.
Tip: Absolutely recommendable is the Adler Spa Resort Thermae, a lovely hotel with beautiful wellness facilities and outdoor pool!
The picturesque Gladiator Avenue is scenic and probably one of the most beautiful places in Val d’Orcia. Some of the most famous scenes from the movie Gladiator were shot here and also in reality this place is really magical. Situated in a picturesque landscape, this place was the perfect backdrop for the most beautiful movie scenes and even today this attraction is still visited with pleasure!The so-called De Cypresses – Gladiator Point is located a little below the old town of Pienza and is, thanks to the exceptionally romantic scenery, one of the most beautiful photo spots in the entire Orcia Valley!
The small town of Montepulciano is one of the most beautiful villages in Val d’Orcia. It is famous for its DOCG wine region, where the world-famous red wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is produced and can be tasted at every corner. In addition, the beautiful historical old town is a real highlight to visit. Absolutely enchanting is the beautiful Piazza Grande with its cathedral and the town hall Palazzo Comunalen, from whose tower you can enjoy a breathtaking view. But also the medieval alleys are picturesque and invite to a stroll through the city.
Tip: Montepuliciano is a popular starting point to explore the Val d’Orcia. Highly recommended is the farmhouse Lupaia with pool and extra flair!
Bagni San Filippo
The hot spring in Bagni San Filippo is a real insider tip for a vacation in Val d’Orcia. It is considered the oldest natural and at the same time man-made spa in the world, provided directly with water from a hot spring. It is believed that the Etruscans and the Romans bathed in this spring. Especially beautiful is the course of the river with the natural pools directly in the forest, where sintered white cascades provide a fabulous ambience. Here you bathe directly in a hot river, in the so-called Fosso Bianco and enjoy a fairytale tranquility! A unique experience that you will certainly not forget!
Tip: The entrance to this natural thermal bath is completely free of charge. Parking is available directly on the street, from which a small footpath leads directly to the river.
Cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia
An absolutely wonderful place and especially popular with photographers are the cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia, also known as Cipressi di San Quirico d’Orcia. This is a small circular cypress forest that seems to have been left in the middle of a field and a cypress ring with a dirt road running through it. A fantastic viewpoint is located in a field next to the SR2 road if you drive from Montalcino or Siena to San Quirico d’Orcia. The cypress ring is especially beautiful in autumn, when the bare fields conjure up an almost surreal contrast to the trees.
Monastery Abbazia di Sant’Antimo
One of the most beautiful things to see in Val d’Orcia is the monastery of Abbazia Sant’Antimo. It is situated in a picturesque position between green hills, olive trees and vineyards and captivates with an extraordinary atmosphere. According to legend, the abbey was founded by Emperor Charles the Great. Interesting here is also a visit to the church from the 12th century and the monastery pharmacy, which sells all kinds of healthy and homemade.
San Quirico d’Orcia
Another beautiful place in the Orcia Valley is San Quirico d’Orcia. The small medieval town is worth a visit mainly because of the many historic buildings, the pretty alleys and the imposing city wall with its turrets. Worth seeing are the church Collegiata Santi Quirico e Giulitta from the 12th century, originally built in Romanesque style and the picturesque main square Piazza della Liberta with the church Chiesa di San Francesco.
Castello di Spedaletto
One of the most beautiful castles in the region is the enchanting Castello di Spedaletto. This picturesque little castle had been built in the 12th century and today it is one of the best accommodations in the entire Val d’Orcia. Here in the Agriturismo Castello di Spedaletto you will feel like you are in a fairy tale. The rooms are decorated very tastefully and an enchanting garden with pool invites you to relax. Even non-hotel guests can visit parts of the castle complex free of charge.
Tip: Right next to the castle there is a small pasta factory that sells very good homemade pasta and sauces.
Excursions & Day Trips to Val d’Orcia
For those who don’t necessarily want to explore the Val d’Orcia on their own, there is the option of joining a guided tour. Day trips depart daily from major cities such as Siena, Florence and Rome. On the online portal GetYourguide you will find many recommended tours, some with wine tastings, city tours through 1-2 medieval villages and often combined with other highlights of the region.
Great are also the reviews, which you can compare before booking!
Where to Stay in Val d’Orcia
In Val d’Orcia there is a wide range of fabulous accommodations. From well-kept wineries, charming Agriturismo with swimming pool to family apartments and campsites, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the best accommodations in Val d’Orcia, which are also ideal for excursions and explorations…It’s worth a look!
- Agriturismo with Pool: The Agriturismo Marinello is a beautiful farmhouse in the best position in the heart of Val d’Orcia. You can also enjoy the peace and quiet, the clean pool and the delicious breakfast.
- Winery with Pool: The Casanova di Neri Relais with its beautiful pool and a fantastic view of the vineyards is truly unique and a secret tip.
- Agriturismo in best position: The Agriturismo Il Macchione impresses with a beautiful property, a fantastic pool and fantastic apartments and rooms.
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