The Routes of Val d'Orcia
GARDENS OF VAL D'ORCIA
Rose Lloyd, English painter, fell in love with Val d’Orcia and moved there. Here, she dreamt of painting and building a garden. She intended to visit all famous gardens of Val d’Orcia to find her inspiration.
SAINTS AND HERMITS
Fra Felice, friar of the Franciscan convent of San Sepolcro, was traveling to Rome on the Via Francigena. The 1444-polyptych of the Sassetta, from which we draw inspiration for our friar, was kept in Sansepolcro. In the “mystical wedding” part of the polyptich, St Francis is depicted in Val d’Orcia. The religious man was fascinated by the stories of saints and hermits of the valley, a place of contemplation and mystical abductions.
CASTLES AND FORTRESSES
William Hazlitt, English philosopher, essayist and painter, experienced the Grand Tour visiting France and Italy between 1824 and 1826. He passed through Val d’Orcia describing it in his travel diary as a romantic and picturesque place. He focused in particular on the fortresses and castles, symbols of the splendor of the past as opposed to the desolation of the present.
Bernardo Buontalenti, architect of the Grand Duke of Medici, was also a set designer and an artist. Between 1584-1587, he possibly designed the Osteria grossa in Radicofani. We hear his journey to Radicofani, where he supposedly observed the reception facilities for travelers and pilgrims on the Francigena, and consequently draw inspiration.
VOLCANOES, EARTHQUAKES AND SPAS
Bernard de Montfaucon, Benedictine French paleographer and archaeologist, left for the Grand Tour in Italy at the end of the seventeenth century in search of ancient manuscripts. While returning to France, in February 1700, he passed through Radicofani a few days after a disastrous earthquake had severely damaged the town. Bernard de Montfaucon wrote to his friend Gerard about his own Abbey.
ARTISTS IN VAL D'ORCIA
George Raymond Donington, historian, art critic and English teacher passionate about Siena and Siena art in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, embarked on a journey to discover the works of art of the Val d’Orcia, after an exhibition he saw.
WANDERING AROUND MUSEUMS
Clelia Patrizi, a young art lover – especially of Sienese painting – toured the local museums of Val d’Orcia with her friend Lara.
VAL D'ORCIA WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Isabella Marni, a member of the Unesco Heritage Centre, visited the valley after studying the Orcian culture, art and nature landscape. Isabella described the stages of her journey to the discovery of some of the symbolic places of the Orcian landscape.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Adelmo Leoni, ninety-seven-year-old resident of Montalcino, had been a rope-maker until the Seventies. He remembered the ancient crafts of Val d’Orcia.
CINEMA IN VAL D'ORCIA
Federico Gusman, a young German director, was about thirty-year-old when he traveled to Val d’Orcia in search of the places where some of his favorite films were shot. Great cinephile, he saw the world as through the camera.
ANECDOTES AND CURIOSITIES
The minstrel Milo crossed times and places, always looking for stories to tell and to pass on. He came from afar, he traveled with Charlemagne on the Via Francigena to the Val d’Orcia and his thirst for stories, between one adventure and the other, took him to our days, where he joined the actors of Teatro povero of Monticchiello to share the art of telling through the theater.
WINE IN VAL D'ORCIA
It is Biagio Di Monluc who recounted the wines of Val d’Orcia. From a noble but declined family, he enlisted in the French army commanded by King Francis I to participate in the “wars of Italy”. He took part in the defense of the Republic of Siena, besieged by the army of Charles V and the Medici. He owed his fame to this feat first and then to the writing of the commentaries that became the “soldier’s Bible”, as the king of France Henry V defined.
VAL D'ORCIA PROJECT
The Inner Journey
Val d’Orcia has something in store for you. If you are able to listen, if you allow yourself to embrace it, you will receive a message that will certainly be very important to you. Once there, you cannot help but return, something inside you will summon your spirit. Prepare your magic notebook to enjoy this journey and do not forget the gifts it will be bringing to you. Take notes; do it right away, otherwise you will lose something!
CASTIGLIONE D'ORCIA. BE CALM, DREAM AND WRITE.
Two fortresses rise to the sky: the Tentennano and the Aldobrandesca ones, the one enhancing the other. The panorama is priceless, you will enjoy Val d’Orcia at 360°. Breathe, be calm and listen to the magical presence in you.
MONTALCINO. BE CALM, CHOOSE AND WRITE.
Medieval village and land of great ventures known all over the world. The admirable international affirmation of this place that has integrated history, beauty and enterprise recalls a reflection on responsibility.
PIENZA. BE CALM, REMEMBER AND WRITE.
History and art come together, while magnificently enhanced by the most important local arts and crafts. Everything is enveloped by the love into which Pienza relies. Do not waste your talents, observe and remember who you are and what you love to do.
SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA. BE CALM, ENJOY AND WRITE.
A step back in the tranquillity of the past, but also in the beauty and joy of a charming village. Slow down your pace, stop the routine that shape our everyday life, find a place, halt, listen, taste, observe and have a detached look at everything that concerns you, your everyday life, your personal and professional relationships.
RADICOFANI. BE CALM, LISTEN AND WRITE.
At the edge of Val d’Orcia you will find yourself in a different environment, equally wonderful while being different from the other four municipalities. The colors change, the orientation of the gaze and the look from the fortress is different, too. Listen to the silence, find the spirit of the place that reminds you to be grateful.
DOWNLOAD THE APP
Thanks to the Virtual Destination Italy app you can relive the magic of the Grand Tour and its stages guided by the stories of characters, scholars, artists who have traveled and visited the country. Select the stage that most interests you and discover the stories held in it, get to know the character-avatar who will be your guide and discover many curiosities through the multimedia narration of the different attractions. Use the maps and the special “take me here” feature to move among different places in search of all routes and stages that interest you the most by choosing the order in which to explore them.