UNESCO beauties and delicacies
Cypresses, vineyards, natural thermal baths and timeless villages. In the province of Siena, since 2004 the Val d’Orcia has been among the Italian beauties listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The landscape, much loved and painted by Renaissance artists and painters of the Sienese School, is characterised by its hills and lush vegetations, surrounding farms and medieval villages. These include Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia. For picture-perfect views, stop by the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta, a small church surrounded by wheat fields and rows of cypress trees on the road from San Quirico to Pienza. Between stops, be sure to take a break at one of the many natural thermal baths in the area, from Bagni di San Filippo to San Casciano.
Val d’Orcia is also renowned for its food and wine specialities. The pecorino cheese of Pienza is a must: it is said that as early as the 15th century, Lorenzo de’ Medici used to visit the area to stock up on this cheese. Meat lovers are sure to love a Chianina steak, from a breed of cattle that has roamed the area for at least two thousand years. Finally, the Val d’Orcia is home to two wines that are enjoyed around the world: Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano.