Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Albarese

Acquapendente


anghiari

Archipelago Toscano


Arcidosso


Arezzo


Asciano


Badia di Coltibuono


Bagni San Filippo

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Beaches

Bolsena Lake


Bomarzo

Brunello di Montalcino

Buenconvento

Campagnatico


Capalbio


Castel del Piano


Castelfiorentino

Castell'Azarra

Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


Castelnuovo Bererdenga


Castiglioncello Bandini


Castiglione della Pescaia


Castiglione d'Orcia


Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


Certaldo


Chinaciano Terme


Chianti


Chiusi


Cinigiano


Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


Cortona


Crete Senesi


Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba

Firenze


Follonica


Gaiole in Chianti


Gavorrano

Gerfalco


Greve in Chianti


Grosseto


Lago Trasimeno


La Foce


Manciano


Maremma


Massa Marittima


Montagnola Senese


Montalcino


Monte Amiata


Monte Argentario

montecalvello

Montefalco


Montemassi


Montemerano


Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Montepulciano


Monteriggioni


Monticchiello


Monticiano


Orbetello


Orvieto


Paganico


Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


Pienza


Pisa


Pitigliano

Prato

Radda in Chianti


Roccalbegna


Roccastrada


San Bruzio


San Casciano dei Bagni


San Galgano


San Gimignano


San Giovanni d'Asso


San Quirico d'Orcia


Sansepolcro


Santa Fiora


Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


Scansano


Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


Sinalunga


Sorano


Sovana


Sovicille

Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


Torrita di Siena


Trequanda


Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra




 
Walking in Tuscany
             
 
Rocca d'Orcia, Rocca di Tentennano

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Rocca d'Orcia, Rocca di Tentennano



album Surroundings
       
   


Castiglione d'Orcia


   
   

Castiglione d'Orcia marks the boundary between Val d'Orcia and the Monte Amiata forests. Once the property of the Aldobrandeschi, family it was fought over in the 14th century between the Salimbeni family and Siena.
The Actual Castiglione, harvest to the feet of the mighty fortress of the Aldobrandeschis, offers still its medieval aspect to the visitor with picturesque and characteristic angles. The centre of the town, with its stone-paved streets, is picturesque, and the Piazza il Vecchietta is particularly interesting. This square is dedicated to Lorenzo di Pietro (1412-1480), called II Vecchieta, who was a painter, sculptor and architect. At the centre of the square, completely sloping, there is a fine fountain in travertine dated 1618. In front of the fountain is the Municipal Palace, containing a fresco by the Sienese school (a Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus and two Saints) coming from Rocca d'Orcia.

Castiglione d'Orcia is dominated by the imposing ruins of the Rocca degli Aldobrandeschi.
Main sights in Castiglione d'Orcia are the Romanesque churches of Santa Maddalena and Santi Stefano and Degna. The latter houses a Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus by Simone Martini and a Madonna with Child by Pietro Lorenzetti.

Weekly market in Castiglione d'Orcia is on the 4th Saturday of the month.

Rocca d'Orcia

Worth to be visited is the Rocca of Tentennano in the tiny borough of Rocca d’Orcia, which is one of the most famous fortification in the area. The Rocca of Tentennano crown a rocky crag upon the medieval suburb. Although larger, the village of Castiglione d'Orcia is somewhat less visited than Rocca d'Orcia, its sister village. The reason is that the once dominant fortressof Castiglione d'Orcia lies in ruins, while the Rocca di Tentennano of Rocca d'Orcia has been well-preserved.


Castello di Ripa d'Orcia, an ancient medieval castle, is a comfortable country residence set upon a rise in the centre of Orcia Valley.
Castello di Ripa D'Orcia, was part of the territorial organization of the Sienese Republic at least since 1271. During the 1300s belonged to the powerful family of Salimbeni who remained masters until the fifteenth century. In 1438 Siena Ripa permanently inserted in your county. The exact dating of the building, consisting of a massive square tower surrounded by a walled enclosure of irregular shape with a single access door, is difficult because of the numerous renovations and additions made at different times. The Piccolomini family -- who've owned it since 1484 -- transformed several of the buildings into a hotel in 1990.
   
   
 
Enlarge map Val d'Orcia

 

 

   
Vivo d'Orcia | Eremo in estate [Copyright © All rights reserved by Bruno Brunelli]


Vivo d'Orcia is a splendid outlying district of Castiglion d'Orcia, set in a valley outside time. At the foot of the castle, the river Vivo runs whose sources rise in the locality of Ermicciolo. Starting in the middle ages flour-mills, paper-mills and ironworks were built along the torrent and, in the 1920’s, one of the first hydroelectric power stations. Traces of these old buildings, covered with climbing plants, may still be seen here in one of the area’s most beautiful and evocative landscapes.
On the occasion of the Water Festival, held in Ermicciolo every 22nd March, you can visit the source of the Vivo which gushes out of the rocks.

The walk from Ermicciolo to Eremo, along the river, is absolutely one of the finest in the Amiata area: you can stop at the little waterfalls and the dam in the middle of the woods, or the caves where partisans hid during the last war, or the archaeological sites that have brought to light finds dating to Mesolithic and Etruscan civilisations. You may even see one of the rare green woodpeckers whose sound is sometimes heard echoing among the centuries-old trees. The Vivo Valley is one of the few places on earth where you may be convinced that you’re still living in the middle ages.

The name Vivo (meaning 'Alive') was adopted because of the lively, powerful industrial heart and from the wild and crashing river Vivo that ran through the village's six water-mills, once used for iron-works, olive crushing and fine paper production. The purity, power and potential of the river's water, pouring from the family's vast natural volcanic spring on Monte Amiata had long been harnessed by the Vatican who, via Pope Marcello II established a gigantic Papal Castle, using a rather illuminated architectural principal for its time, which aimed to make the Vatican's buildings more humble and more accessible to the local community Renaissance Palace (Palazzo), all designed by the famous 16th century architect of the Vatican Antonio da Sangallo for the Pope's living quarters.
A Romanesque chapel and an extensive hermitage (Eremo) were also constructed to accommodate for a fascinating group of humble monks, known as the Camaldolesi, who first inhabited the caves that now form the foundations of the castle in 1,004 ad (500 years previously). Along with this impressive estate the church established one of the largest and finest industrial centres of the 16th century, way surpassing anything built up until that time.

 

Borgo dell'Eremo
and Chiesa di San Marcello
The village of Bagni San Filippo owes its existence to the hot water springs whose therapeutic properties have been known since ancient times. It is believed that the spa dates back to Etruscan times and the existence of a settlement in the era of Imperial Rome is well documented. After scientific analysis of the waters in the XVIII century the popularity of the spa grew for treating skin problems, arthritis, rheumatism and disorders of the respiratory tract.
At the beginning of the XIX century a new spa resort was built able to guest more people and within the village some buildings became hotels which still exist today.
Well worth a visit is the Grotta San Filippo, carved from a block of travertine, it is reputed to have been the refuge of San Filippo Benizi in 1267 when trying to avoid being elected Pope.
Nearby is the Fosso Bianco (photo) where the hot water springs flow down leaving calcareous deposits which over the centuries have transformed the hillsides into white rock naturally sculpted into varying shapes.

Films set in Tuscany | Le Meraviglie

Le Meraviglie (Alice Rohrwachter, 2014) is a magical realist portrait of a family of beekeepers in rural Italy. The film, which stars Monica Bellucci, was shot in Sorano, Sovana and some areas of the province of Grosseto and in the town Bagni San Filippo, in the province of Siena.


 

Bagno San Filippo
The hamlet of Bagno Vignoni dates back to Roman times and a Latin inscription on travertine rock, found on the left side of the spa establishment bears witness to this. The waters rise up from a depth of 1000 metres at a temperature of 52°C and flow into a stone pool which is 49mt in length by 29mt in width.
Due to the high concentration of magnesium and calcium sulphate, the waters are particularly beneficial for treating disorders of the skin, bones and mucous membranes. Lorenzo il Magnifico of the Medici and Santa Caterina of Siena were regular visitors and the enchanting loggia which faces the pool was name after this saint.

Films set in Tuscany | Nostalghia

 

 

Bagno Vignoni boasts one of Italy's most unique town squares

Villa La Foce is a serene, ochre-coloured building standing high above the vast, open landscape of the Val d'Orcia, its view stopped only by the rugged profile of Monte Amiata. The garden is a magnificent melange of English and Italian influences.
The garden of Villa la Foce in the Val d'Orcia was created by Cecil Pinsent for Iris Origo and her husband.

Villa La Foce was first built in 1498 as a hostel for merchants and pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena to Rome. In 1924 it was bought by Antonio and Iris Origo, philanthropists whose dream was to restore not only the house but also the estate farms to full working order at a time when investment in the region was desperately needed. Iris Origo was an aristocratic Italian writer who dreamed of creating a new society. Several of her books were international bestsellers when published and many remain in print decades later. Origo is best known for her diary, War in the Val D'Orcia. 'The desire to reconstruct a new society drove the couple. Their decision to do what they felt to be morally right, rather than what was socially acceptable among their class, came to be what La Foce and the Origos were remembered for, as one of the only aristocratic families in Italy who helped escaping prisoners, partisans and deserters during the second world war.
"What a fine long journey we have travelled together!" Iris wrote to Antonio in a 1976 letter to be read in the event of her death. It was premature. She outlived her husband, but the challenges had already been considerable: a harsh terrain, superstitious Tuscan villagers and a war that made itself felt with air raids, prisoners of war, orphans and evacuees, partisans fighting German soldiers in the hills.'[1]




 

La Foce, giardino

A view across the garden towards a horizon dominated by the volcanic peak of Monte Amiata


Opening hours: the garden is open to the public every Wednesday afternoon. Guided tours leave from the Fattoria courtyard every hour from 3 to 7 PM (April-September) and 3 to 5 PM (October-March).

Gardens in Tuscany | Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce Estate | La Foce - 61, Strada della Vittoria -53042 Chianciano Terme - Siena | www.lafoce.com

 

Cypress road near Villa La Foce
 

Castiglione d'Orcia

 


Enlarge map
 
 
   
Castiglione d'Orcia borders the following municipalities: Abbadia San Salvatore, Castel del Piano, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani, San Quirico d'Orcia, Seggiano.
Bagni San Filippo, Belvedere, Campiglia d'Orcia, Masse, Montieri, Osteria Gallina, Ripa, Rocca d'Orcia, Vivo d'Orcia are frazioni of Castiglione d'Orcia.

[1] Selma Dabbagh, Iris Origo: the author honoured by a music festival, The Guardian, Friday 6 July 2012


Historic Centre of the City of Pienza | whc.unesco.org

Helena Attlee, Italy's Private Gardens: An Inside View, Frances Lincoln Limited 2010, London, pp 103-113

Walking in Tuscany | Hiking from Castelnuovo dell'Abate to Rocca d'Orcia | www.girosole.com




Maremma hills

Podere Santa Pia situated in panoramic position in the Maremma countryside

 

Podere Santa Pia
 
Podere Santa Pia, garden
 
Podere Santa Pia, terrace

         



Pienza
 
Montalcino
 
San Casciano dei Bagni

         



   

Tenth Sunday after Easter, the famous flower carpet procession Corpus Domini in Castiglione d'Orcia - Pienza - Monticchiello. A procession moves through the streets of the country, formerly embellished with gorse and rose petals.

Walking in Tuscany | San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagni Vignoni, Castiglione d'Orcia, Rocca d'Orcia, Montalcino, La Foce

Vivo d'Orcia - Vivo d'Orcia

From Vivo d'Orcia we start downhill toward the white-fir forest of Vivo d'Orcia, one of the last remaining in Tuscany of this kind. Follow the indication Contea del Vivo/Eremo and take the Via Amiata becomes Via dell'Eremo. At the end of the road we cross the bridge over the Vivo stream passing under a stone arch that leads to the Borgo dell'Eremo.


Castelnuovo dell'Abate - Vivo d'Orcia

This spectacular itinerary descends from the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo, surrounded by silence and Brunello vineyards, then climbs up the pristine slopes of Monte Amiata, an ancient extinct volcano. The trip ends up in Vivo d'Orcia, one of the most well-conserved and verdant localities in Tuscany, charged with energy from the volcano.

Castiglione d'Orcia - Castiglione d'Orcia

The itinerary starts on a downslope and ends uphill. From the hamlet of Castiglione d'Orcia we get to the bottom of the Orcia valley which is characterized by a wild environment where no means of transport are possible. It predominantly unfolds on dirt tracks. For the mountain bike enthusiasts it doesn't show any technical difficulties even though the downslope, specially in the first part, is very steep and the climbing back up is quite challenging.

Wines in Tuscany

Organic Winegrowing in Tuscany's Val d'Orcia

Until fairly recently the Val d'Orcia was a different sort of wine country, with wines made primarily for local consumption, and quantity being sought much more than quality. This changed 2000, when the Orcia DOC Appellation was established.
The company Val D'Orcia Terre Senesi, born from the passion of four friends for the beautiful land of Siena, began its activity in the mid-1990's with the olive oil of high quality by buying a few hectares of Olivastra Seggianese trees in the city of Seggiano and Castel del Piano. With the take over of the Scarabotti farm, placed on the ridge of Ripa d'Orcia, in the heart of the natural park, registered in the organic producers register since 1990, is carrying on the bet of the organic farm throught the wine-growing and producing with the wine Rosso d’Orcia (D.O.C.), as well as the quality cereal growing activity. Wines are made from local organic autoctone plants such as Ciliegiolo and Canaiolo to be mixed up with Sangiovese.

Wines:

Ripario - Orcia Rosso D.O.C., Bucaccio - Orcia Rosso D.O.C., Scarabotti - I.G.T., Riparosa - Orcia Rosè D.O.C., Calicepieno - Orcia Bianco D.O.C. and Nagocciola - Vin Santo D.O.C..

Val D'Orcia Terre Senesi Srl
Case Sparse 3, Loc. Ripa d'Orcia - 53023
Castiglione d'Orcia SI
info@valdorciaterresenesi.com
www.valdorciaterresenesi.com

Wines in Tuscany | Organic Wine in Tuscany


Podere Santa Pia is located 3 km from Castigliocello Bandini, 15 km from Abazziia San 't Antimo and Montalcino, close to art cities like Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano and San Quirico d'Orcia, and 1 hour away from the seaside. Grosseto is Tuscany`s most southernly province and is considered to be the capital of Tuscan Maremma. Grosseto is the most southern Tuscan province. The town is situated about 12 kilometres from the sea, in the heart of Tuscan Maremma, a wide alluvial plain. In the past, the lake Prile spread over most of this territory. The lake has almost disappeared due to the drainage works undertaken in this area during the centuries. The various natural reserves surrounding Grosseto witness nonetheless Maremma`s past as a marshland. South of Grosseto flows the Ombrone, the most important river in southern Tuscany. At the river mouth there is the Parco dell`Uccellina.
The ancient city walls built in 1574 under Grand Duke Francesco I de` Medici still surround its historical centre.
Situated in a former marshland that was once infested with malaria, at present the province of Grosseto is a real paradise for those who love culture, nature and good cuisine. Grosseto countryside is scattered with ancient Etruscan towns, such as Roselle, Populonia and Vetulonia. Those who love nature can visit the Parco Naturale della Maremma (Maremma Natural Park), the Riserva Naturale Diaccia Botrona (Diaccia Botrona Nature Reserve) and the Parco Nazionale dell`Arcipelago Toscano (Tuscan Archipelago National Park) and spot some dolphins and whales in the Santuario dei Cetacei (Cetacea Sanctuary). Principina a Mare and Orbetello lagoon are renowned seaside resorts, whereas in the interior there is Saturnia with its famous spas.