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Toscana / Italy

Val d'Orcia – Among Tuscany's most beautiful landscapes

The morning fog has just left the meadows in a thin layer of dew. However, the ice is holding fast, even though we are approaching lunchtime. Some valleys we pass are hazier than others. It is little that makes this area so beautiful. All these rolling meadows creating shadows in the waves of the grass.

The roads are curvy and narrow. Sometimes we end up behind an ancient old tractor driven by an elderly man in a cap. A traffic queue forms, in the middle of the open countryside. A queue with just our car and the tractor. Fortunately, the farmers here do not drive far with their tractors, usually only to the neighboring farm.

Vines in Val d'Orcia - Italy
Tuscany-Val-d'Orcia hills in Italy

The landscape is shaped by cypresses, large oaks, grey-green olive groves and muddy fields. We pass a farm with sheep grazing in a large herd. A little way behind the sheep in the tall grass, a sheep dog sits and guards. The dog gets a little annoyed that we stop and watch his sheep, so we head off again. We don't want to disturb the sheep when they are producing milk for the valley's famous cheese – Pecorino.

Sheep in Val d'Orcia - Italy

In 2004, Val d'Orcia was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is now protected as a nature reserve. There are no special stops, must-sees or visitor centers along the way. Here you can stop behind each ridge without tiring of the views. The beautiful city Pienza however, is the heart of Val d'Orcia and well worth a visit.

Val d'Orcia means "the valley of the river Orcia" and we must have passed the river Orcia several times on our way to Montepulciano. But Orcia cannot be some great and mighty river, for we never saw it. Here it is the valley that is the attraction, not the river.

Val d'Orcia - Desktop background
Val d'Orcia - Beautiful views in Italy

There are plenty of wineries in the area, but most farms are small and not open to visitors. Mainly red wines are produced from Sangiovese grapes and white wines from Trebbiano grapes. Well-balanced and pleasant wines that are served at all restaurants in the area. They are proud of their local wine in Italy and always support the local farmers first. "DOC Orcia" is the seal of quality in this area, so look for that mark on the bottles when buying wine from Val d'Orcia.

Other good things produced in the area are olive oil, truffles and saffron. There are also several game farms, I'm pretty sure we passed a large deer farm. The probability that there would be wild deer in this agricultural landscape, I see as low.

Val d'Orcia vines in Tuscany

Although the area belonging to Val d'Orcia is not large, the route takes a long time to drive. Not because there is a lot of traffic. Nor because there are many tractors. It's just so beautiful that you want to drive slowly and enjoy it. Because in Italy, here you enjoy yourself as often as you can. Life is too short not to enjoy a little each day. So then we do it too. Enjoy a little extra among the undulating waves of green meadows, castles and cypresses. But what do you say, isn't it time to stop and eat a truffle pasta soon?

Val d'Orcia - rolling hills

How do I get to Val d'Orcia?

Val d'Orcia is a region that, to put it simply, lies between Montalcino (in the west) and Montepulciano (in the east) in Tuscany. The area is approximately 4 miles south of Siena.

Map (opens in Google maps)

Do you want to read more about Val d'Orcia?

  • Read more on Tuscany's official tourist office page - What to see and do
  • You can find even more posts about Italy and Tuscany on my Italy page.
Val d'Orcia - Green hills
Val d'Orcia road
Val d'Orcia - sheep farm
Val d'Orcia vineyards
Val d'Orcia
Rolling hills in Tuscany-Val-d'Orcia
Val d'Orcia
Tuscany-Val-d'Orcia

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About the blogger

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

6 Comments

  • 4000 thousand
    15 October, 2019 at 20: 03

    But then! God so wonderfully beautiful!

    Reply
    • Eva Gyllenberg
      15 October, 2019 at 21: 17

      It was so much nicer than I thought, had seen a lot of pictures before we went here and thought it was an Instagram phenomenon, but it was really sooooooo nice! The way you want Tuscany to look like! ? (I only wish I had been more early in the morning, then I would have seen even more "fairy dance" and fog)

  • Ann-Louise Paulsson
    16 October, 2019 at 21: 20

    It is absolutely unreal beautiful. I want to move there and start a vineyard right now. 🙂

    Reply
    • Eva Gyllenberg
      2 December, 2019 at 20: 17

      Feel the same. It is when you are in places like this that you understand what quality of life is.

  • 4000 thousand
    30 October, 2022 at 18: 12

    Hehe, now it's me again here... 🙂 Sitting and doing some research for a (hopefully) upcoming hiking trip to Tuscany. What dates were you there? I want it to be just as green and beautiful as you. 🙂

    Reply
    • Eva Gyllenberg
      November 1, 2022 at 11: 15

      Hello again 🙂 We were there during a week of Easter holidays, looks like it was mid April! Perfect weather and perfect hiking temperature!

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