March 2, 2022
Whether you're planning your honeymoon, or a beautiful and relaxing oversea vacation, or even a long weekend trip in Italy, Tuscany is the one region that really will not leave you disappointed. If it is the seaside you are after, or the mountains, or the rolling hills in the countryside, or a culinary experience or a dive in the past of a cultural city, Tuscany has it all. Although we would love to talk you through all the different options you can choose if you opt to travel to this wonderful region, today we are focusing on an area that is dear to us and to many other people around the world: Val d'Orcia.
When you close your eyes and you start picturing the typical Tuscany landscape and experience, the iconic images of Val d'Orcia will surely be the first ones that will pop into your mind. The region has everything that visitors that come to Tuscany want to see and experience: abbeys and gardens, the super iconic zig-zag white roads with the very typical cypresses, spa towns with natural hot springs that come straight from the volcanic Monte Amiata, not to mention of course culinary excellences like the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano.
Many of our couples want to (understandably) travel to this little naturalistic and historical jewel: they visit Val d'Orcia on their honeymoon and during their holidays in Italy. It is also the perfect place to plan an elopement in Tuscany or a couple sessions in Tuscany. So, we thought we could share some of our favorite bits of this wonderful region, highlighting the best period to travel, the best places to visit and so much more!
Details of the town of Pienza, Val d'Orcia, Tuscany
Choosing the best period to travel to Italy and in particular to Tuscany is always a bit of a tricky task. One of the enviable aspects of Tuscany is that no matter the season, it is beautiful to visit all year round. With that being said, there are of course different characteristics that come with different seasons.
Travel to Val d'Orcia in Spring if you wish to be surrounded by lots of green and beautiful blooming poppy fields.
Travel to Val d'Orcia in Summer if you want to experience all its typical golden yellow fields of wheat, such a great opportunity for stunning pictures. Little warning: Summer months in Tuscany can get very hot and crowded. It is still a lovely period to visit but our personal advice would be to avoid traveling over weekends and during the hottest hours of the day. Bring with you lots of suncream, water (in refillable bottles!!) and a hat!
Travel to Val d'Orcia in Autumn: with its milder temperatures, Autumn is personally our favorite season here in Tuscany. Visiting Val d'Orcia in Autumn will not leave you disappointed. Do not expect to see any golden fields of wheat, the landscape will be mainly dry, but it will still have lots of character. The green cypresses will stand out even more against the earthy, brownish color, the temperatures will be ideal, tourists will be much fewer and you will be most likely blessed with beautiful Autumn sunny days.
Travel to Val d'Orcia in Winter if you want to feel all the intimacy of this region and experience its spa and hot springs like in no other season.
Landscape view of Val d'Orcia
Val d'Orcia is really dense with places and things to see and visit. There are so many cobblestone towns that are really worth a view, as well as natural spots and unique hot spring locations. We tried to come up with 10 of our favorite sights, but honestly, the list could easily be endless!
If you travel to Italy and want to have a full experience of its culture, you cannot overlook a very important aspect of our country: its cuisine. Everyone knows that every single town in Italy, no matter the size, has its own specialities and history when it comes to food. And Val d'Orcia is no exception. Let's have a look at the TOP 5 specialities to taste in Val d'Orcia.
3.1 Pecorino di Pienza
First in our list is surely the famous Pecorino di Pienza. You cannot visit Val d'Orcia without having a taste of this must-try cheese. Lorenzo il Magnifico was used to travel all the way to Pienza just to taste its famous sheep cheese. The distinctive taste comes from a combination of different factors that are unique to this region and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
If it is the typical pasta of Val d'Orcia you are after, well then you cannot miss the so-called "Pici", some sort of thicker spaghetti. The typical Pici are served either with the Aglione, or with the ragù di chianina, or covered in breadcrumbs pan-fried with olive oil.
3.3 Cinta Senese and Chianina
Not ideal for our vegetarian readers, but nevertheless two excellences of this rich land: the Cinta Senese (the prestigious salami) and the Chianina, the meat that comes from the typical cows bred in the region. The worldwide famous Fiorentina is a cut of the Chianina.
This is a dessert that must be absolutely tasted when traveling in this region. Dating back to the 13th century, Panforte has remained a very much loved sweet typical mainly of the city of Siena.
3.5 Red Wines
Last but certainly not least, the worldwide famous wines of Val d'Orcia: Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Because of its very strategic position, Val d'Orcia is certainly a region that will serve as the perfect starting point of any holiday in Central Italy. If your staying is going to be a little bit longer than just a quick getaway, then you can easily plan a few one-day trips in other places in Tuscany (but not only) that will prove as beautiful as Val d'Orcia. Again, we could come up with hundreds of locations, but to make things a bit easier, we selected 5 places that are definitely worth a visit and that can be easily reached on a day-trip.
View of Assisi, Perugia, Umbria
View of Siena - Duomo of Siena and Piazza del Campo
Pienza, Val d'Orcia
Benni & Carol
Italy wedding photographers - Benni Carol Photography
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