Land of merchants, saints and noblemen, with its warm colors and landscapes that lull the gaze, Val d’Orcia is the perfect destination for a weekend full of romance and beauty.
Between Florence and Siena, Val d’Orcia, characterized by avenues dotted with cypress trees, medieval villages, castles and ancient abbeys, perfectly embodies the Tuscan dream. It is no coincidence that it has enchanted artists of every era, becoming a privileged set for Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator or The English Patient, to name just a few.
With a limited extension, which includes the municipalities of Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia, it is the ideal destination for a stay to discover its cultural and gastronomic wonders.
Tuscan beauty is a beauty of rigor, of perfection, sometimes of asceticism, under the aspect of grace.(Guido Piovene, writer)
For lovers of relais de charme atmospheres, the perfect base from which to start is Lupaia, a boutique resort part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Here it is possible to stay in one of the 5 beautiful stone farmhouses surrounded by greenery, or indulge in a romantic dinner in the resort’s restaurant to taste the best typical products of the area.
Lovers of good wine and rustic atmospheres can instead opt for a “green” stay in one of the 6 suites of Cantina Salcheto. Designed in the name of recovery and sustainability, the rooms reflect the philosophy of the farm, renowned for the organic wines, the farm-to-table restaurant and the avant-garde architecture.
Not far away, for a lunch with a view, there is Locanda Demetra, a delightful restaurant and cooking school on the outskirts of Montalcino. From appetizers to desserts, the menu is a succession of seasonal surprises that come exclusively from the surrounding vegetable gardens and farms.
To continue exploring the best products of the Val d’Orcia, you cannot help but treat yourself to a delicious stop at the Caseificio Cugusi, famous for its award-winning pecorino cheeses and the perfect setting for tastings and memorable picnics. The basket, full of delicacies, is supplied directly by the farm where there are various equipped panoramic areas.
For an aperitif, it is a must-stop the Vitaleta restaurant, right next to the famous Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta, one of the symbols of the Val d’Orcia. Here you can enjoy extraordinary sunsets which make, if possible, an already breathtaking landscape even more beautiful. The refreshment point can be reached with a “postcard” walk, among expanses of wheat and very gentle hills, precisely those that were the protagonists in one of the most famous scenes of Gladiator.
Another panoramic alternative for dining in good company is undoubtedly Podere Il Casale which, with the most photographed table on the web and an extraordinary view, offers delicious dishes prepared with its own products, from vegetables from the Km0 garden to cheeses and pasta.
If, however, you prefer the idea of treating yourself to the experience of a dinner in a small and beautiful medieval village, the right place is Rocca d’Orcia. Here Marta and Federico, souls of Cisterna nel Borgo, will pamper you with delicacies seasoned with innate Tuscan friendliness, the secret ingredient of this very cosy restaurant.
And for those who wish to continue their stay, between spa resorts, horseback riding and tours in vintage cars, magic is truly guaranteed!
Precisely in these areas, rich in stories and legends, a Tuscan “Robin Hood” also lived. The gentleman brigand was called Ghino di Tacco and it seems he only robbed rich travelers coming from Rome as Boccaccio also testifies in one of the stories of his masterpiece Decameron.