South Tuscany

Val d’Orcia

Villa Pianoia is set in a marvellous position midway between the medieval hill town of Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia Park of Art, Nature and Culture, a splendid area of South Tuscany which was proclaimed a Unesco World Heritage site in 2004.

Famous worldwide, thanks to numerous photographic shoots or automobile commercials, the typical scenic winding roads with cypress trees are one of the views most sought after by tourists and photographers visiting the Val d’Orcia. The narrow winding roads lined by cypresses that go up and down the marvellous hills, probably the most iconic symbol of the Tuscan landscape, are just a few kilometres away from the Villa.

6 km


Be sure not to miss a visit to nearby Monticchiello, whose tower can be admired from the garden behind the villa. Monticchiello is a splendid medieval hill town with stone houses and narrow alleys in which to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of times gone by, as well as a superb view of the entire Val d’Orcia.

8 km


Montepulciano is a town steeped in history and art, set in the rural landscape of Siena province, the ideal place in which to relax and rub shoulders with nature among gentle hills planted with olive groves and vineyards, pine and chestnut forests. Of ancient Etruscan and Roman origins – legend has it that the early settlement was founded by King Porsena – Montepulciano was long fought over by Florence and Siena.

From the 1400s to the XVI century, the town was a hub of intense cultural and artistic ferment marked not only the presence of great Humanists such as the poet Angelo Poliziano, but also the construction of splendid churches and residences by the most eminent architects, such as Antonio da Sangallo, Jacopo Barozzi and Baldassarre Peruzzi. Today Montepulciano is an important tourist attraction, thanks to its characteristic urban layout, the renowned cultural events of which it is a protagonist, but also and above all thanks to the magnificent vineyards by which it is surrounded, producing the excellent Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.

15 km


Just 15 km away stands Pienza. Enea Silvio Piccolomini, otherwise known as Pope Pius II, commissioned architect Bernardo Rossellino to completely transform Pienza into a town in perfect Renaissance style, like a picture that springs to life. For this reason, the historical centre of Pienza has earned Unesco World Heritage status and is a not-to-be-missed destination.

The Duomo, Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomin all look out onto Piazza Pio II, and this is where the harmony of Pienza is expressed to the full; the buildings are constructed in travertine stone and stand out for their solemn and majestic appearance, moreover Palazzo Piccolomini boasts a loggia with a hanging garden from which the view is quite breath-taking, to say the least: something to be experienced as soon as you arrive in Pienza. If you are on the lookout for a tasty souvenir, you should try the renowned Pienza cacio, a cheese of unmistakable flavour made from ewe’s milk and used in many traditional specialities of the local cuisine.

From Pienza you can admire a view that takes in the entire length of Val d’Orcia before heading for the other charming towns in the surrounding area.

20 km

Bagno Vignoni

Don’t forget to stop off at Bagno Vignoni, a hamlet of very few inhabitants located within the boundaries of the Val d’Orcia Park of Art, Nature and Culture. This village is renowned for its volcanic hot spring water, known to man since the Etruscan period and frequented by famous personages such as Caterina da Siena and Lorenzo de’ Medici.

The “piazza delle sorgenti” is a one-of-a-kind experience with its rectangular bath dating back to the 1500s, set like a pool in the heart of an ancient village. Today, it is no longer possible to bathe in this piazza. However, there are free thermal springs to enjoy beneath the Parco dei Mulini, a short distance away from the centre. A close look at this hot spring pool framing Bagno Vignoni is an emotion-packed experience of the kind Tuscany never fails to offer to the more curious tourists.

20 km

Terme di San Filippo

If sheer relaxation is what you seek, a visit to Terme di San Filippo is a must. Limestone formations, waterfalls and natural little pools of hot spring water surrounded by lush vegetation are to be found just outside the little village of Bagni San Filippo, for an experience that is out of this world.

Every year, thousands of tourists flock here attracted by the warm sulphur waters of the so-called White Hole, flowing between oak trees to fill a series of ponds you can bathe in. The temperature of the water varies according to how close it is to the various springs, where it may even reach 48°C.

Another marvel of nature is the “Balena bianca” (White Whale), a huge limestone formation to whose fame the National Geographic has contributed, thanks to the Internet.

There is also a historical spa facility that is open in the summer months, with a pool and wellness centre offering exceptional all-natural medical and beauty treatments entailing the use of sulphur waters, sediments, and muds. The hyperthermal spa waters are rich in sulphur, calcium, and magnesium and highly recommended, thanks to their analgesic, anti-inflammatory and myorelaxing properties, for the joints, as well as for treating phlegm and mucous, owing to their anti-catarrhal, fluidifying and antimicrobic properties.

26 km

San Quirico d’Orcia

At the top of a hill, about half an hour from Montepulciano, stands San Quirico d’Orcia, a destination with a time-honoured tradition of lending hospitality to the pilgrims who have travelled the Via Francigena for centuries.

Today this ancient network of roads has rekindled the interest of travellers from all over the world, who visit San Quirico to admire the medieval layout of the hill town, which has remained practically unchanged.

There is much to see in this small yet charming location: for instance the Collegiata di San Quirico e Giulitta, a romanesque church defined by a mingling of the gothic and baroque styles; Palazzo Chigi, the seat of the Municipal authorities; the Chiesa di San Francesco, the church safeguarding a terracotta statue of the Madonna sculpted by Andrea della Robbia; the Horti Leonini, the Italian-style gardens landscaped in 1540 by Diomede Leoni, an authentic masterpiece in which the artist’s talent encounters the beauty of the natural landscape. Admire the Val d’Orcia from the walls surrounding the Horti, from this scenic point you can glimpse Monte Amiata, Pienza and Montepulciano.

36 km


Montalcino, lying at a distance of 36 km from the villa, is a town that deserves much more than a hurried visit and also makes an ideal stop to conclude this tour since it lies at the far end of the Val d’Orcia. It is widely known that this is the production zone of Brunello, one of the world’s most prestigious and esteemed wines, which dates back as far as the XV century.

Since then, the town has not changed a great deal, a fact that is immediately apparent on walking through the historical town centre. La Rocca is the most panoramic spot in Montalcino as well as being the chosen location for all kinds of events, comprising concerts and performances, especially in summer. Palazzo Vescovile and Palazzo dei Priori are two important landmarks of the town: the former hosts the Diocesan Museum, the Civic Museum, and the Archaeological Museum, while Palazzo dei Priori is the seat of the Town Council and is characterized by a high and narrow tower that looks out onto Piazza del Popolo.

60 km


72 km


72 km


116 km


172 km