Beautiful castles, green rolling hills, cypresses-lined roads and neat rows of vineyards, – most beautiful images of Tuscan countryside are taken in Val d’Orcia, a perfect destination for a honeymoon in Italy.
Located in southern Tuscany, Val d’Orcia has always played an important part in history of the region and recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over centuries, it has been an example of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes and inspired many Italian masters who depicted Val d’Orcia as a place where people lived in harmony with nature.
Today the area is studded with charming fortified towns and ancient abbeys that will take you back in time. Take time driving around Pienza, Radicofani, Castiglion d’Orcia, Rocca d’Orcia and Monticchello to explore their magic atmosphere and slow pace of life.
Stop at the suggestive Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo, south of Montalcino, to listen to Gregorian chants and admire the beautiful landscape dotted with centuries-old olive groves. Near the abbey, on a hilltop, sits picturesque town of Montalcino with charming cobbled streets, medieval walls and a stunning ancient castle. Another little hilltop town to visit is San Quirico d’Orcia, between Pienza and Montalcino. As you approach the town, on your right, after the bridge, you will have a chance to see and take snapshots of a picture-perfect row of magnificent cypresses on a hill, which are said to be the most photographed trees in all of Tuscany, and, perhaps, Italy!
Since Etruscan times, Val d’Orcia was the place to take thermal baths. For centuries rich and powerful came here to relax and forget about the stress of their daily lives. Today Bagno Vignoni and Terme di San Filippo have some of the best establishments in Tuscany that offer different rejuvenating treatments.
Val d’Orcia is home to some of the most prized Italian wines: Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, and Rosso Orcia. Many wineries are open to public and offer guided tours of the vineyards and wine tasting. The area is also famous for excellent olive oil, truffles, and delicious sheep cheese, pecorino di Pienza, that has been made using the same methods as hundreds of years ago.
Photos by: Tommy Clark, Fabio Gismondi, Giuseppe Moscato.