Hello my beautiful friends,
The Tuscan adventure continues with part 3, although it’s been a full long week since I last wrote about it.
Val d’Orcia was a dream I had planned from home when it came to this trip. And what A DREAM was it in reality. Obviously, Pinterest is ones number 1 planning inspiration (for whatever it may be) and admiring all the delicious pictures of Val d’Orcia and its sorroundings made me truly dream of it.
The only downside was that we only had one day in mind planned for Val d’Orcia. As you probably know if you’ve read part 1 and part 2, our hotel was in Montecatini Terme, a bit far from our first destination: San Quirico d’Orcia.
With that in mind we started the day rather early and left for San Quirico d’Orcia choosing not to take the highway, so we could get a better chance of admiring the region of Tuscany. This way we passed through small, coquettish villages and majestic vineyards.
San Quirico d’Orcia sits atop a hilltop halfway between Pienza and Montalcino. This village, like many others in Tuscany is of Etruscan origins and its rapid growth is due to its proximity to the Via Francigena. The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrim route, a long-distance trail. It crosses four countries, starting in Canterbury, in the UK, then crossing France and Switzerland before reaching Italy.
Coming back to San Quirico d’Orcia, you will have to leave your car outside the city walls. Our walk started, after entering the city, basically from Chiesa di Santa Maria Asunta (late 11th century). Just outside the church, in the back, you will find Giardino delle Rose. Walk around and take on an adventure in the nearby woods, finding yourself the beauties that lie within. Come back on the pedestrian streets through Horti Leoni an example of Italian garden. Designed around 1540 by Diomede Leoni, the gardens display a statue of Cosimo III dè Medici at its center.
Stroll around the streets and stop at Caffé ITALIANO for a quick espresso. The interior garden hosts a few cute turtles. You won’t regret it.
When you feel you are ready to continue, take SP146 to Pienza. This is one of the most beautiful roads there is and you can admire Val d’Orcia beautifully, no matter the weather. Stop at anytime and take pictures, soak in the sights and just let go. The road is short, of about 15 minutes so just keep your gaze on the windows.
Pienza is the next stop, and about Pienza I could talk for hours, even days. Pienza, or the Ideal city is the “touchstone of Renaissance urbanism.” In 1996 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it was quickly followed in 2004 by the entire valley: Val d’Orcia.
In 1405 Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini was born in Corsignano and he later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as what he considered to be an ideal town and renamed it after himself to Pienza which means “city of Pius”.
Pienza has one of the most amazing views of the Val d’Orcia below and from the promenade you can admire the stunning rolling hills and just admire the sunset or the sunrise efortlessly. That is where we started our stroll, admiring the view and taking dozens of photos, photos that will never capture the true beauty of the place.
Pienza itself is truly ideal and I won’t speak much of it, I will mainly let the pictures tell their story. What I truly need to advice you all is to visit Palazzo Piccolomini and The Duomo as they are truly worth their value. And for the rest of the trip, just take it slow, soaking in every single view, taking pictures, savoring a nice sandwich made with local products.
This is Pienza, through my eyes and the place I probably loved the most, in which I will definitely come back to take more in.
The only thing that made us leave was knowing that we had one more village planned for the day: Montepulciano.
Continue on SP146 for a 15 minutes ride to Montepulciano. Be ready to stop for pictures at any time, as adviced before, because true gems seem to appear out of nowhere.
Montepulciano is a medieval hilltown which (obviously) offers majestic views over Val d’Orcia. We caught them at sunset, which completed the adventure marvelously.
Montepulciano has received great attention following the filming of the vampire saga Twilight sequel New Moon here and has seen a notable increase in visitors. And while strolling around you will understand perfectly why such a movie was filmed here: the spooky Renaissance buildings, the narrow streets. According to legend, it was founded by the Etruscans and recent findings prove that a settlement was already in existence in the 4th-3rd centuries BC, so you understand its historical value and importance.
Take your time to shop, catch you breath on the stairs of Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral (the Duomo of Montepulciano) and indulge yourself with a bottle of Montepulciano wine, famous in its region and different from the Montalcino wine. Local cuisine shops are to be found at any step.
You may have the Universe if I may have ItalyGiuseppe Verdi
Excelent story! Thank you!❤️❤️
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