Located in the UNESCO-protected Val d’Orcia, the charming medieval village of Radicofani, Italy, has something to offer every visitor. From an imposing fortress to a historic villa to churches with Della Robbia artwork, Radicofani does not disappoint.
Radicofani’s population of only about 1000 residents means it is easy to navigate. Visitors will enjoy strolling the cobblestone-lined streets through the town, discovering small piazzas and churches along the way. After visiting one of Tuscany’s most impressive fortresses, you can sit back with a glass of the famed Brunello DOCG, soaking in the atmosphere of the ancient stone houses and bucolic Tuscan landscape.
Although small, Radicofani offers an array of things to see and do. Discover why you should consider visiting Radicofani on your next trip.
The Town of the Italian Robin Hood
Radicofani is known as the home of the Italian Robin Hood, Ghino di Tacco. This brigand was of Ghibellini nobility, and in 1290 he took up residence in the fortress. From the fortress, he would ambush travelers, stealing most of their goods; however, he spared students and the poor.
Ghino di Tacco was mentioned in both Boccaccio’s Decameron and Dante’s Divine Comedy. The town continues to take pride in this legendary man. He even has his own piazza, Piazza Ghino di Tacco.
8 Things to See in Radicofani
1. The Fortress
The most prominent landmark in the village is the imposing Fortress of Radicofani, built in the 10th century. Perched on top of a hill, it offers an excellent vantage point of the surrounding Val d’Orcia. The fortress was the center of many battles due to its strategic location. Siena, Grosseto, Perugia, Viterbo, and Rome all wanted control of this crucial defensive structure.
It was also home to the Italian Robin Hood, Ghino di Tacco, in the late 13th century. Today the Cassero Museum is housed within the fortress. Here you can find local archeological artifacts dating back to Etruscan times up through the 16th century. You can also visit the underground passageways and walk along the walls. Be sure to climb to the top of the fortress for commanding views of the spectacular Val D’Orcia.
2. Historic Center
Radicofani boasts a compact and charming historic center filled with small piazzas connected by tiny alleys. Because the town is small, you won’t have to worry about not finding your way back. Allow yourself to get lost, soaking in the charm. Via della Piazzetta and Via de Forni are great starting points.
The Piazzetta del Teatro is a small ancient piazza tucked away among a maze of alleyways. It was once the center of Radicofani’s Jewish ghetto, which is why it is also called Piazza Giudea. Today visitors enjoy appreciating the charming stone houses and colorful balconies brimming with flowers.
3. Posta Medicea
Beyond Radicofani’s historic center is the Posta Medicea, sometimes called Palazzo della Posta. Grand Duke architect Bernardo Buontalenti designed the structure, which was completed in the late 16th century. It features a facade with double loggia and six arches.
Posta Medicea is situated along the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route. Originally used as a hunting lodge, the Posta Medicea was transformed into a resting point for those traveling the Via Francigena. Travelers would stop to rest, eat, and drink from the fountain, which is still visible in front of the villa today.
The estate has hosted numerous important people, including Pope Pius VI, Pope Pius VII, Cosimo II, Leopold II, Grand Duke Ferdinand I, Marquis De Sade, François René de Chateaubriand, and Charles Dickens.
Unfortunately, it is not currently open to the public as it is privately owned.
There are a handful of worthwhile churches to visit in Radicofani, particularly if you enjoy art.
Pieve di San Pietro, or Church of San Pietro, is a Romanesque that dates back to the 13th century. It was damaged during World War II but was later restored in 1946. Art lovers will appreciate the incredible collection of Della Robbia masterpieces. You can find terracottas and wooden statues, including Francesco di Valdambrino’s Madonna and Child.
Read more: Cathedrals in Italy
The Chiesa di Sant’Agata, or Church or St. Agatha, dates back to the 17th century. It is named after the patron saint of Radicofani. You can find a large Della Robbia terracotta dossal curtain at the altar.
5. Palazzo Pretorio and Palazzo Luchini
The Palazzo Pretorio is located on Piazza del Palazzo. The Tinacci Family initially owned it, and then the Municipality of Radicofani purchased it in 1255. Today it houses the mayor’s hall and municipal offices. Visitors will appreciate the building’s facade, which includes various stone coats of arms from the historic families of Radicofani.
The Palazzo Luchini is in the historic center, immediately below the remains of the clock tower. The building was formed during the 17th century when numerous private houses were merged into a single building. The facade features a beautiful 17th-century stone portal and a wooden door.
6. Bosco Isabella
Bosco Isabella is an esoteric garden located just outside the center of Radicofani. The Luchini Family built it at the end of the 19th century. The garden stretches for approximately 1.5 miles (2.5 km) along the town’s southern walls. Although seemingly wild, much of the garden was, in fact, planned. For example, many trees were planted in groups of three, a symbolic number. The stone pyramid is one of several esoteric elements you can find in the garden.
In 1983 the municipality of Radicofani purchased Bosco Isabella. Since then, it has been a public garden. It is listed as a Monumental Garden and is now a relaxing place to enjoy a stroll.
7. The Via Francigena
The Via Francigena is one of Europe’s oldest and most famous pilgrimage routes. It begins in Canterbury, England, and leads travelers to Rome. It passes through Radicofani in Section 36, connecting San Quirico d’Orcia to Radicofani and Section 37 going to Acquapendente.
8. Val d’Orcia Park of Art, Nature, and Culture
In 2004, the World Heritage Committee deemed the Val d’Orcia a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its significant cultural landscape. The Val d’Orcia Artistic Natural and Cultural Park protects the valley’s influential art, nature, and culture. The unique landscape, characterized by farmhouses and cypress trees, inspired many Renaissance painters. It consists of the following municipalities: Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani, and San Quirico d’Orcia.
Local Wines & Food
Like much of Tuscany, Radicofani and its surrounding area offer visitors a delightful array of local, quality food and drink. High-quality extra virgin olive oil, grains, honey, and saffron are some of the area’s best products.
Because Radicofani is part of the province of Siena, you will find plenty of Pici Senesi, a thick hand-rolled pasta. Also on the menu is prosciutto di Cinta Senese, a cured meat from acorn-eating autochthonous domestic pig. Order Cantuccini or Ricciarelli, an almond and candied orange peel biscuit, along with some sweet Vin Santo, to finish off the meal.
There are several important wines from the area. Brunello DOCG is one of the most well-known and expensive wines in Italy. This red wine was among the first four wines awarded the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation. Also important are the DOC Orcia wines, which contain red Sangiovese and white Trebbiano grapes.
Best Places to Stay in Radicofani
Radicofani has various affordable and charming accommodation options. Check out our recommendations for the best places to stay.
Budget-friendly Apartment on Piazza
Located directly on a piazza in the historic center of Radicofani, Casa della Piazza is filled with rustic charm. It offers ample outdoor space and a kitchen.
Rustic Farmhouse with Pool
Located less than 2 miles from Radicofani, Agriturismo Selvella, is a working farm producing olive oil, grains, jam, and fresh eggs. Rooms are furnished with typical Tuscan-style furniture and include exposed wood beam ceilings.
Cozy Apartment in Historic Center
The Casetta di Ghino is located in the center of Radicofani close to several bars and restaurants. It features exposed brick walls and exposed wood beams. Guests describe it as clean and comfortable.
Restaurants in Radicofani
Trattoria Le Ginestre da Mimmo
A few steps from the historic center, this restaurant immediately surprises you with its stone interior, rustic and elegant at the same time. In the summer, there is space for outdoor dining. The cuisine is sophisticated while offering traditional Tuscan dishes such as Tuscan crostini, locally cured meats, Chianina ragout, and wild boar. Desserts are also top notch and the wine selection is good including local wines such as Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.
Ristorante La Fortezza
A restaurant that combines good food with a breathtaking view of the Val d’Orcia, Lake Bolsena, and Trasimeno. The wooden interior opens onto a beautiful terrace with a wonderful view, but the food and the courtesy of the restaurant staff are no different. Choose this restaurant if you want to eat homemade dishes of the Radicofani tradition, such as pici all’aglione, tortelli with meat sauce, gnocchi, and grilled cockerel. Consider capping off your meal with a sublime serving of tiramisu.
San Casciano dei Bagni
San Casciano dei Bagni is about a 25-minute drive from Radicofani, but worth it both for its thermal springs and interesting architecture.
The Etruscans were the first to discover San Casciano dei Bagni’s thermal springs, but the Romans expanded the facilities and put the town on the map. Wealthy visitors continued to frequent the spas; many buildings were beautifully decorated thanks to this influence.
The town has several worthwhile sites, including a beautiful church and palazzo. If you want to indulge, visit Fonteverde, 5-star resort spa minutes from San Casciano dei Bagni.
Bagni San Filippo
Bagni San Filippo is one of the most picturesque Tuscan spa towns, located about 15 minutes from Radicofani. The thermal springs here have been used since Etruscan and Roman times. Not to be missed is the Balena Bianca, a waterfall that has created a stunning white wall of calcareous deposits over the years.
Unlike some other Tuscan thermal springs, Bagni San Filippo is more rustic. There are no facilities; you must trek through the woods to reach the springs, adding to the allure. If you are seeking a more classic spa experience, Terme San Filippo Complex is nearby with all the facilities.
Monte Amiata’s Summit
Located just over 30 minutes from Radicofani, a visit to the summit at Monte Amiata, is a fun activity if you’re looking for adventure. At nearly 5700 feet, Monte Amiata offers commanding views of the surrounding valley. At the top, you will also find a 72-foot wrought iron cross commissioned by Pope Leo XIII in the late 19th century. You can reach the summit via foot, car, or chairlift.
Abbadia San Salvatore
Located on the way to Monte Amiata is the popular tourist town of Abbadia San Salvatore. Situated in the town’s charming historical center is an 8th-century abbey with the same name as the town. Also worthy of a visit are the castle, palaces, and several other notable buildings. A mining complex used from 1897 to the 1970s, now housing a Mining Museum, is located within minutes of the town.
How to get to Radicofani
Located about 2 hours from both Rome and Florence, Radicofani is an easy stop to add to your next Italian vacation. While you can use public transportation, we recommend traveling by car.
- Car: Take the A1 Autostrada to the Chiusi-Chianciano Terme exit. Then follow the signs for Sarteano and Radicofani on the SS478.
- Public Transportation: The closest train station is in Chiusi. You need to take a bus to Sarteano. In Sarteano, you need to take a second bus to Radicofani. You can purchase train tickets and locate timetables on the Trenitalia website.
Air: There are several airports to choose from when reaching Radicofani. The closest major airport is Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci International Airport (100 miles). Other options include Rome-Fiumicino (130 miles), Rome-Ciampino (120 miles), and Pisa Galileo (138 miles).