If you’ve ever seen a picture of the Tuscan countryside—softly rolling hills, towering cypress trees, winding country roads, and quaint hill towns—chances are that you were looking at the Val d'Orcia. This unique landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered among the loveliest in Italy, and the wines produced here are among Italy’s best.
The Val d'Orcia, a favorite subject of Renaissance painters and modern photographers, covers a small area of Tuscany between the town of Siena and Mount Amiata, and is known for its beautiful landscapes, medieval towns, and excellent cuisine. Take a Val d'Orcia tour to visit the villages of Montalcino and Montepulciano, and to sample their local Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines—perhaps paired with pecorino cheeses from nearby Pienza—during a wine tasting session. Other delightful small towns worth a visit on a private tour of the Val d'Orcia are San Quirico d'Orcia, famous for its olive oil, and Bagno Vignoni, home to historic thermal baths.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The scenery around the Val d'Orcia area is truly picturesque, so don’t forget your camera.
- Some of Italy’s most prestigious wines are produced in the Val d'Orcia, so wine lovers will especially appreciate exploring the area’s wineries and tasting rooms.
- There is a small amount of walking during most Tuscany tours, either through hilltop towns or across winery vineyards; comfortable shoes and a sun hat are recommended.
- Winery visits may not be appropriate for young children.
How to Get There
Val d'Orcia is located about an hour south of Florence and is an easy day trip from Rome, Florence, Pisa, San Gimignano, and Siena. There is little public transportation between the towns and wineries in this area, so by far the best way to explore is by joining a small-group tour with transportation included.
When to Get There
The Val d'Orcia is lovely year-round but is particularly interesting to visit in the fall, when the grapes and olives are harvested and many towns hold wine and olive oil festivals.
Famous Tuscan Landscapes
The Val d'Orcia is just one of many areas in Tuscany known for its striking scenery. The stark chalk hills of the Crete Senesi and the wooded countryside of Chianti are also beautiful—and are equally popular wine tour destinations.