27 Jul Illustrated adventure map printable: 3 days itinerary in Val D’Orcia, Tuscany
When in Tuscany, riding a vintage Vespa (even just in my imagination!), seeking cypressus roads and wine, there is only one place you can ride to: Val D’Orcia.
Almost untouched in its green hills with Monte Amiata always on the background, this valley is among the most scenic roads and romantic driving tours you can make in southern Tuscany: just-married couples from all over the world spring up like mushrooms behind every hill!
This was my 3 days’ itinerary in Val D’Orcia and a little bit northern, to Siena, looking for King Arthur’s sword in San Galgano Abbey. The whole itinerary was done by car but at some point I actually would have loved to take an electric bike to ride among little villages from Montepulciano to Pienza and Monticchiello: saved idea for next romantic gateway!
DAY 1 – Bagni San Filippo, Abbadia San Salvatore to San Quirico D’Orcia
Start with a relaxing swim at the open free thermal pools in Bagni San Filippo. Hot springs from the soil create a series of pools in the rocks till last famous one called “balena bianca” because of the white calcareous scenario. Feel like a boiling egg as some of the springs comes out at almost 40 degrees!
Then time for a walk in lovely medieval village underneath Monte Amiata: Abbadia San Salvatore. Known for its gothic abbey, I really recommend a walk inside the medieval centre made of perfectly reticulated alleys of stone houses each one after the other. Pure Italian poetry.
The road from S. Salvatore to S.Quirico D’Orcia at sunset is a unique driving experience to be made riding a convertible in summer, wearing nothing but a silk scarf on your head!
For dinner we choose San Quirico D’Orcia with its countless tiny restaurants serving amazing “cacio e pepe” and Tuscan cheeses’ tasting.
DAY 2 – Pienza, Montepulciano, Monticchiello and Bagno Vignoni
If you wake up early enough go explore S. Quirico D’orcia countryside for some of the most famous Val D’Orcia spots before they get too crowded with photgrapers! Tiny Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta, set as a watercolor sketch among two cypresses, and the cypresses circle on the way to Torrenieri.
Then there is a whole day of little towns’ explorations! Pienza, Montepulciano (my favourite!), and Bagno Vignogni which is actually too cute for an aperitivo near the Roman thermal pool in the square.
The classical Tuscan road boarded with cypresses is just outside little village of Monticchiello.
DAY 3 – Montalcino, S. Galgano Abbey to Siena
Montalcino is home of famous Brunello wine, so find a good wine shop or better, a cellar on the road with vineyard view or a wine tasting experience.
From here we went north to San Galgano Abbey to see the gothic roofless church destroyed by a fire. Even ruined, it keeps a special charm and talk about a fascinating medieval past made of monks who cultivate medicinal herbs and learn poor countrymen how to grow wheat.
A short walk leads to S. Galgano hermitage where the knight left his sword in a stone to use it as a cross to pray: a real Sword in the Stone!
From here we got back passing through Siena which acually deserves more than half a day visit, but still enough for a walk in Piazza del Campo, a bite of typical panforte and a visit to the spectacular green and white Santa Maria Assunta.