Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo




Archipelago Toscano




Badia di Coltibuono

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa


Bolsena Lake


Brunello di Montalcino




Castel del Piano



Castellina in Chianti


Castelnuovo Bererdenga

Castiglioncello Bandini

Castiglione della Pescaia

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglion Fiorentino



Chinaciano Terme




Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio

Colle Val d'Elsa


Crete Senesi

Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba



Gaiole in Chianti



Greve in Chianti


Lago Trasimeno

La Foce



Massa Marittima

Montagnola Senese


Monte Amiata

Monte Argentario





Monte Oliveto Maggiore








Parco Naturale della Maremma







Radda in Chianti



San Bruzio

San Casciano dei Bagni

San Galgano

San Gimignano

San Giovanni d'Asso

San Quirico d'Orcia


Santa Fiora














Tavernelle Val di Pesa

Torrita di Siena




Val d'Elsa

Val di Merse

Val d'Orcia

Valle d'Ombrone




Walking in Tuscany

Walking trails in Tuscany Surroundings

Walking in Tuscany | Walk around Pienza | Montepulciano - Pienza

The Val d'Orcia refers to the valley of the river Orcia but in general it refers to the area extending from the hills south of Sienna as far as the Monte Amiata. The landscape in and around the Val d'Orcia is characterised by open vistas of ploughed and sown land that stretch over low hills to the horizon, punctuated here and there by clusters or rows of cypresses and umbrella pines. The crete senesi are areas of badlands that generations of farmers have brought into cultivation. The volcanic cone of Monte Amiata dominates the southern panorama. The territory of Val d’Orcia includes the entire surface of five municipalities, Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia. Pienza and Montepulciano are within an hour's drive from Podere Santa Pia.

Walking in Tuscany | Walk around Pienza


The trail starts on the Piazza Dante Alighieri in Pienza, and continues along the Viale Santa Caterina that leads to the Pieve di Corsignano, an exceptional example of Romanesque art just outside of the city walls of Pienza. Admire the carvings on the side of this ancient structure, which dates possibly from the 10th century. This was Pienza's original parish church.
Follow the paved path beyond this beautiful Romanesque church, first along a derelict farm, then along the where you are right on a paved road to the intersection with the road San Quirico d'Orcia - Pienza. Walk in the direction of Pienza and turn right after about 10 minutes. The path runs downhill to Podere Arpicella. Turn left, and beyond a medieval tower, you can walk right back to Pienza (Viale Santa Caterina).

Make time to visit the Romanesque Pieve di Corsignano, half a kilometre out of Pienza, along Via Fonti from Piazza Dante Alighieri. The Pieve di Corsignano dates from the 10th century and boasts a strange circular bell tower. There are no regular visiting times but the church is usually open.

Pieve di Corsignano




Halfway, the Strada Provinciale di Cosona leads to the Monastery of Sant'Anna in Camprena and Castelmuzio. One can recognize the Monastery of Sant'Anna in Camprena as the refuge of The English Patient, a serene Romanesque compound with a Renaissance chapel that houses a fresco by Pinturicchio. Santa Anna in Camprena is however not open for the public.
Castelmuzio is a little medieval village dating from the 9th century. The village, 9 km north of Pienza, silhouettes against the sky with its ocher yellow walls, it overlooks the green valley of the torrent Trove.




Pienza, a Renaissance hill town of exceptional beauty, Pienza is one of the gems of Tuscany and should on no account be missed by anyone visiting the Val d'Orcia.
Pienza, rebuilt in 1462 from a village called Corsignano, was intended to be an ideal Renaissance town. It represented the first application of urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and then eventually spread to other European centers.
Montepulciano - Pienza | 11 km, 3 hours

This walk is interesting for its varied landscape: from Montepulciano to Monticchiello you walk through countryside with olive groves, vineyards, walnut and fig trees and through typical Mediterranean woods, with holm oaks (evergreen oak Quercus Ilex), heather and broom. From Monticchiello to Pienza you walk on the balcony of the Val d'Orcia, a valley among beautiful rolling hills, framed by wheat fields, and occasional dark green pinnacles of cypress.

From Piazza Grande, Via Ricci, Via dei Grassi and Via di San Biagio, walk down to San Biagio, which is situated at the bottom of the hill just outside the city walls.
Considered to be Antonio da Sangallo the Elder's masterpiece and one of the most significant structures of the Renaissance, San Biagio occupied the acclaimed Renaissance architect from 1518 until his death in 1534, and although it maintains a low profile among guidebook tourists (much like Montepulciano itself), it's an absolute must-see.

A dirt road takes us from the San Biagio church on the outskirts of Montichiello, a charming village immersed in the Crete Sienesi, and then further south to Pienza. The path is marked red and white.


Madonna di San Biagio
Montefollonico is a small medieval village whose raison d'être is found in the past rivalries between the republics of Siena and Florence; in fact the village was born as a Sienese fortress, against the "Florentine" Montepulciano
The hike from Montepulciano to Montefollonico takes about three hours. You exit Montepulciano by the old portal closest to St. Biagio church, walking down the hill toward St. Biagio. You walk just past the church on its left and then loop around the church to the right on a paved town road that becomes a paved country road.The entire walk offers great views on the stupendous Crete Senesi and its stunning scenery.

Walking in Tuscany | Walking From Montepulciano to Montefollonico


Maps and descriptions available in Podere Santa Pia

Kompass map 653 Pienza - Montalcino - Monte Amiata (1:50.000)
Touring Club Italiano (map 8 Toskana, 1:200.000)


The territory of Val d’Orcia includes the entire surface of five municipalities, Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia.


Borgo dell'Eremo
and Chiesa di San Marcello
Vivo d'Orcia - Vivo d'Orcia
Castelnuovo dell'Abate - Vivo d'Orcia

The Castle of Vivo d'Orcia lies in the widespread Orcia valley in southern Tuscany, 35 km north of Podere Santa Pia. The area surrounding Montalcino has been famed for centuries by artists and poets for its beautiful yet peaceful landscapes, comprising of soft rolling valleys and lightly peppered with olive groves and vineyards of superior quality.
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.

Maps and further descriptions are available in Podere Sante Pia.

Trekking Val d'orcia

[1] Val d'Orcia - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Dotted with cypress trees and the dramatic slopes of the volcanic mountains Amiata and Radicofani, the natural park of the Orcia Valley is one of Tuscany’s best-preserved natural wonders just added in the UNESCO's WORLD HERITAGE LIST and is universally recognized as one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.


Hidden away from mass-tourism, discover a piece of Italy which remains largely unchanged both nature and lifestyle-wise. The peacefulness of the countryside, the various unique villages and the friendly atmosphere will no doubt pleasantly surprise you. Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Known for its enchanting landscapes, its fantastic and genuine food and beautiful towns as Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Siena. Its strategic location in southern Tuscany, serves as a perfect base to visit some of the most beautiful and fascinating attractions of the region: from Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano in Val d’Orcia, to wonderful Tuscan hill towns like Massa Marrittima, Pitigliano, Sorano and Saturnia.
Podere Santa Pia
is a fully equipped 4 bedroom holiday home. The surrounding countryside is superbly peaceful with vineyards, olive groves, medieval hamlets and castles. Guests can sit in a South facing garden, surrounded by a marvelous natural landscape rich in beautiful hills, ancient villas, centuries-old olive groves, vineyards and hilltop villages with stone parish churches.
This is the land where the DOC wines Montecucco, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino are produced. So, the surrounding countryside is the ideal area for an uncommon wine tour, visiting small farms producing wine and excellent extra virgin olive oil.
.If you want to spend an unforgettable holiday at Podere Santa Pia and visit these beautiful medieval castles and villages, visit our special offers page or contact us.

Hidden secrets in Tuscany Tuscan farmhouses | Podere Santa Pia

Rocca di Tentennano
Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia
Madonna di Vitaleta Chapel, San Quirico d'Orcia

San Quirico d'Orcia

The landscape ot the Val d'Orcia as it unfolds nowadays was created by wealthy Siennese merchants in the 14th and 15th centuries. The farms cultivate mainly grains, vines and olives. Rows of cypresses are also a distinctive sight. The beauty of the area inspired Renaissance painters and early travellers on Via Francigena.


It was in this Tuscan town that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. He chose the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who applied the principles of his mentor, Leon Battista Alberti. This new vision of urban space was realized in the superb square known as Piazza Pio II and the buildings around it: the Piccolomini Palace, the Borgia Palace and the cathedral with its pure Renaissance exterior and an interior in the late Gothic style of south German churches.
The historic centre of Pienza represents the first application of the Renaissance humanist concept of urban design, and as such occupies a seminal position in the development of the concept of the planned 'ideal town' that was to play a significant role in subsequent urban development in ltaly and beyond. The application of this principle in Pienza, and in particular in the group of buildings around the central square, resulted in a masterpiece of human creative genius.
The leading humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini (1405-64), elected to the papal throne in 1458 as Pius II, was born in Corsignano, situated on a hill overlooking the Orcia and Asso valley a short distance south-east of Siena. When he returned there after becoming pope, he was struck by the extreme misery of its inhabitants, which inspired him to endow his birthplace with new buildings, and make it his summer court. His vision derived to a great extent from the German-born philosopher Cardinal Nicolà Cusano. The link with the German Gothic tradition is shown by Pienza Cathedral, which the pope wanted to be in the same style as the late Gothic Hallenkirchen in Germany. To transform Corsignano Pius II called upon Bernardo di Matteo Gamberelli, known as Rossellino, ingegnere di palazzo to Pope Nicholas V in Rome, where he had been influenced by Leon Battista Alberti, the humanist thinker and architect, responsible for the restoration of Rome in 1447-55 and author of De re aedificatoria (1452), the first architectural treatise of the Renaissance.
Rossellino was responsible for the major buildings around the central square, where work began in 1459. He was also responsible for the overall layout of the town, based on the principles of Renaissance town planning enunciated by Alberti. The walled village of Corsignano consisted of a main street joining the two gates, flanked by smaller perpendicular parallel streets. Rossellino largely respected this basic structure when siting his major buildings around the main square. Pius II's project also required the building of large houses for the cardinals in his retinue, and work on these began in 1463. Two structures with a social function, the hospital and the inn in front of the church of St Francis, were also built on his orders.

The ideal centre of Pienza is the Piazza Pio II. Its trapezoid plan is emphasized by the herringbone paving edged with travertine. On the south side of the square is the cathedral (built 1459-62), designed by Rossellino. The influence of Alberti is strong in the composition of the triple facade with its wide arches, corresponding with the three-aisled interior. The interior, divided by tall clustered pilasters from which the arches and cross-vaults spring, was inspired by the Hallenkirchen. The bell tower also blends Gothic and Renaissance forms. On the west side of the Piazza is the Piccolomini Palace, built in 1463 on the site of old houses owned by the family. The front elevations, resting on a travertine plinth, are divided into three bands of sandstone ashlars, interrupted by wide arched windows. Three of the sides are the same and the fourth, with an imposing triple-tiered Ioggia, looks out on a raised garden. The fine interior courtyard is decorated with sgraffito ornamentation on the second and third floors.
The Episcopal Palace is on the opposite side of the piazza. The old Pretorio Palace was purchased in 1463 for Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, who added an extra storey and replaced the Gothic windows. The Town Hall (1462) on the north side of the square is in conventional Tuscan style for buildings with this function, with an open loggia at ground level and a crenellated tower. In contrast with the other buildings around the square, it is in stuccoed tufa and brick, decorated with sgraffito, only the loggia in travertine.
The other major buildings in Pienza line the Corso Rossellino, most built as houses members of the papal court, although some earlier buildings survive. They include the Gothic Church of St Francis and its Convent; the Atrebatense Palace (Gothic structure with Renaissance decoration); the Ammannati Palace, in Renaissance style; the brick Palazzetto; and the Gonzaga Palace, one of the few buildings that retains its garden. Pienza has many Renaissance fountains and wells, the designed by Rossellino.
[from Historic Centre of the City of Pienza |]