– Val D’Orcia is a Nature protected 600 km ² area in Italy, close to Siena in the heart of Tuscany, famous for its splendid scenic pictures, its wine, olive oil, cheese and their quality.
I made acquaintance with Val D’Orcia driving on its country roads, with no time pressure. I stopped many times to photograph its valleys and hills, or just admire in total silence its. At times, I had tears in my eyes, because of so much beauty. I can be a whinny, when deeply impressed.
Advice: do not get your satisfaction by watching my pictures or reading about these places. My one and only advice is GO and see them yourself. I just want to make you have the necessary appetite to travel.
If you love photographing or just like to lose your breath every once in a while, see this place. In 2 or 3 days you can just drive on its country roads (honor Tuscany by driving it through the villages), stop for wine tasting as there are countless wine farms. Most of them have a plate saying they have wine tasting…just knock on their doors or ring the bell. They will be happy to show you their wines. And if you choose to stop at a bar for wine tasting, just ask for the local wine. I have been taken to wine tasting by my host and it was the first time in my life that I have drunk a glass of wine in almost one hour. It was so full, so tasty, so corpulent (as the sommeliers say) that I took only tiny sips for fear the ecstasy would end sooner than I wanted.
After letting the red wine tame your blood, head towards Abbazia di Sant Antimo (click on the name to see google maps location). It was built-in 781..oh yes, that long ago, and the construction that we can see today is a small part of what it once was. It is one of the most significant architectural monuments of Romanesque (details here). Enjoy the peace inside the monument and also take a look at the hundred years old olive trees in its garden.
Outside the church you can lie a table-cloth and enjoy a picnic: do not forget the wine, the pecorino cheese, the wild garlic, fresh bread and your smile.
It is already hard to get up, and it is hard to leave all that tranquility, but Val D’Orcia has more wonders she wants you to enjoy. So let’s get up. I will take you to Bagni di San Filippo. Have your swim suit ready, or not. It is a wonderful natural thermal river, that few tourists know about and actually finding it is not that easy. Once you bathe in the warm pools, it’s going to be even harder to leave. Take look:
For me the high point of the journey to Val D’Orcia was the Bagni di San Filippo and that it because I did not expect to see that. “That“ is mountains covered in white chalk and the streams falling and creating natural pools of hot water at 40°-60° C. Bathing in a pool at our choice, was so relaxing and when my host told me that the only thing missing is a floating bar with candles and glasses of wine ..I could only agree. So, step into one pool, or put your back under a waterfall, get comfy, close your eyes and enjoy the colours of the sky. Hear the wind touching the leaves in the forest and the water flowing …you have a free flight ticket to wherever you want to go. It takes a second to arrive…no gates, no take off and no landing.
The Natural Park of Val D’Orcia is exactly how they depict it in the movies, books, calendars, plus the „being here“ effect makes the whole experience twice stronger. In fact, I warmly recommend you to take the step and come in person in this picturesque lands. Every corner is surprising. In may the colors are gold from the recently picked wheat fields, green from the hills of wheat that is not yet mature, red from the poppies and field flowers that contrast with the rest, dark green from the tall cypress trees.
My recommendation: get lost, get lost as much as possible. And do not worry, because everywhere you will go there will be stunning landscapes, small broken streets maybe, but worth it going on.Being in Val D’Orcia it stroke me that this is how eternity must look and feel like! So much beauty in one place that God must have had something grand in mind when he created it.