The Val d’Orcia is one of Tuscany’s most well-known areas. Protected land and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been the agricultural backbone of Siena for ages.

You should visit the Val d’Orcia if you enjoy wine, medieval history, impressive thermal hot springs, or just plain old Tuscan charm (winding alleyways of potted plants and cobblestone overlooking wheat fields and cypress trees, anyone?). Many of the towns in the Orcia river valley can be accessed on foot or bike, making it a particular draw to those who seek a vacation with more activity options.

From castles and fortresses, to cooking classes and spas, to bike routes and old pilgrimage trails, the Val d’Orcia has something for everyone headed to Tuscany!

The Best 9 Towns in The Val d’Orcia

Here are the best 9 towns of Val d’Orcia that we have selected for your trip to Tuscany.

1. Pienza

The view of Pienza in the Val D'Orcia
Pienza is one of the best towns of the Val D’Orcia

Pienza was the birthplace of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, or Pope Pius II, and the Pieve di Corsignano where he was baptized can still be seen just outside the city walls. At that time the town was called Corsignano, but in his fame, he decided to recreate – and rename – his hometown into an “ideal city” depicting the Renaissance’s standards. 

Be sure to check out the most famous buildings set around the main historic Piazza Pio II, including the Cattedrale dell’Assunta, the Piccolomini Palace, and town hall. A visit in early September will align with the Fiera del Cacio, a town festival dedicated to their famous pecorino sheep’s cheese.

Read more: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana – A gem of the Tuscan Apennines

2. Montalcino

The beautiful view of Montalcino in Val d'Orcia
Montalcino, in Val d’Orcia – Thomas Fabian, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous for the production of Brunello, a red wine, Montalcino is a classic medieval hilltop town. Looking out from Montalcino, you will see a vast landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, and tree groves encapsulating Tuscan beauty. Venturing into the city, you will find a town frozen in time, with its protective fortress and castle, home to a Jazz & Wine Festival every July.

For the wine enthusiast, a visit to Montalcino is incomplete without exploring its numerous Brunello di Montalcino wineries. These estates offer guided tours and tastings, allowing guests to understand the meticulous process behind one of Italy’s most prestigious wines. Additionally, the town’s historical center, with its narrow streets lined with artisan shops and traditional eateries, offers a deep dive into local culture and cuisine. Engaging in a truffle hunting experience or a cooking class can further enrich your visit, providing a hands-on approach to the region’s culinary traditions. Montalcino, thus, not only mesmerizes with its scenic beauty but also offers a holistic Tuscan experience that caters to all senses.

3. Montepulciano 

An alley of the wine town of Montepulciano, in Val d'Orcia
An alley of the wine town of Montepulciano, in Val d’Orcia

With the Val d’Orcia on one side and the Val di Chiana on the other, Montepulciano guarantees incredible views. It also offers one of the only train stations in the Val d’Orcia, so works well as a departure point if you choose to travel by train and bus. If you find yourself at Montepulciano in August, check out the Bravìo delle Botti – a wine-barrel race held in the streets (direction: uphill!) as a competition between the 8 “contrade” or districts of the town.

As you wander through Montepulciano’s ancient streets, you’ll be enveloped by the aroma of traditional Tuscan cuisine emanating from local trattorias, enticing you to indulge in a culinary adventure. The town’s architectural marvels, from the Renaissance buildings to the sacred spaces like the Tempio di San Biagio, offer a feast for the eyes and the soul. This blend of gastronomic delights, historical richness, and vibrant local culture underscores Montepulciano’s charm, making it a must-visit destination on your Tuscan journey.

4. Bagno Vignoni

The beautiful hot springs in Bagno Vignoni
The hot springs in Bagno Vignoni – “Bagno Vignoni (SI)” by ARPA Toscana is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Bagno Vignoni, or the “bath of Vignoni,” is a small village that has become well-known for its Renaissance-era main piazza built directly over a hot spring. The piazza itself contains a huge pool full of hot water sourced from the springs, with small canals running out from it. If you follow the canals, you can arrive at a smaller pool down a hill which can be accessed for free. 

The springs were used by the ancient inhabitants of the Val d’Orcia – both Etruscans and Romans. They were also located on the medieval Via Francigena, a main pilgrimage route to Rome from Northern Europe.

Italy Travel Secret

Did you know that instead of the traditional stone or brick pavement, the square is completely covered by a blanket of thermal water? This creates a unique and suggestive experience, allowing visitors to stroll along the square with their feet immersed in the warm thermal water.

5. Radicofani

The old Via Francigena route passes through Radicofani
The old Via Francigena route passes through Radicofani and the Val d’Orcia – Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia

Famed as the home of Ghino di Tacco, the “Italian Robin Hood,” Radicofani is a quaint medieval hilltop town in the Val d’Orcia. Ghino di Tacco was a nobleman who turned to highway robbery after his family was murdered. He was known for being well-mannered and for targeting wealthy travelers, thus his legacy as a “Robin Hood” figure. He is mentioned by two fathers of the Italian language, Boccaccio mentions him in the Decameron and Dante mentions him in the Divine Comedy

In addition to the usual churches, quaint alleyways, and historic piazza, Radicofani also contains a special garden called “Bosco Isabella” or the forest of Isabella.

Discover more: Tuscan Hill Towns – Our Top Picks for Charm and Culture

6. Monticchiello

Monticchiello seen from the countryside, in Val d'Orcia
Val D’orcia, Monticchiello – LigaDue, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Monticchiello is a small village on the routes to other larger and busier towns. So if you’re looking for a quiet stop on the way to (or, perhaps even instead of) the more famous locales, this is your place! In the summer it transforms into a host for “Teatro Povero,” a “poor theater” of open-air performances. 

Beyond the theater, Monticchiello is encircled by pristine nature trails perfect for hiking and biking, offering stunning views of the Val d’Orcia. The village also prides itself on its exquisite local cuisine, served in family-run restaurants that offer a warm welcome to all. This blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and gastronomic excellence makes Monticchiello a jewel worth exploring in the Tuscan countryside.

7. Bagni San Filippo

A close-up of the San Filippo baths in Val d' Orcia
Val D’orcia, Bagni San Filippo – “Bagni San Filippo” by loungerie is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Bagni San Filippo offers hot springs nestled in a forest and completely free of charge. Access is easy along the riverside path. Be sure to check out the famous calcium-formation waterfall dubbed the White Whale. Below, the warm waters from the springs meet the cold water from the river which changes the colors of both. If you love a relaxing natural environment, make sure the baths of San Filippo are on your list!  

For those seeking a deeper connection with nature, Bagni San Filippo is a sanctuary. The springs, rich in minerals, are reputed for their therapeutic benefits, providing a natural spa experience that rejuvenates both body and mind. Adventure seekers can explore the surrounding forest’s trails, which offer serene walks and the chance to discover hidden nooks of thermal water. The area’s geological wonders extend beyond the White Whale, with natural limestone formations creating a unique landscape that feels almost otherworldly. This hidden corner of Tuscany is a haven for relaxation, exploration, and immersion in the soothing powers of nature, making it a must-visit for anyone wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

8. San Quirico d’Orcia

The iconic Chapel Vitaleta, in San Quirico d'Orcia
Chapel Vitaleta, San Quirico d’Orcia

San Quirico d’Orcia is located conveniently in a central position from some of the most famous points to visit in the Val d’Orcia – Pienza, Montalcino, and Montepulciano. The town was located on the Via Francigena pilgrimage route from Northern Europe, like other spots in the Val d’Orcia, so it has been welcoming visitors for ages. The center of the town is the Piazza della Libertà, from which you can easily access the unique Horti Leonini, which offer a stunning example of an Italian Renaissance garden.

Beyond its strategic location and historical significance, San Quirico d’Orcia boasts an array of architectural marvels and cultural treasures waiting to be discovered. Among these, the Collegiata Church stands out with its remarkable Romanesque façade, offering a glimpse into the town’s rich past. The annual “Festa del Barbarossa,” celebrating the historical meeting between Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Adrian IV, brings the town’s history to vibrant life through medieval reenactments and festivities. This blend of natural beauty, historical depth, and lively cultural expressions makes San Quirico d’Orcia a captivating destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the essence of Tuscany.

9. Castiglione d’Orcia

Castiglione d'Orcia photographed at sunset
Sunset in Castiglione d’Orcia – “Sunset – Rocca di Castiglione d’Orcia -Tuscany CD5A5027” by fveronesi1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A layout of Castiglione d’Orcia is dominated by its distinct castle and fortress, Rocca Aldobrandesca, which dates back to the 800s AD. The town is located high on a hill rising above the river valley. If you are a fan of art history, be sure to check out the Sala d’Arte San Giovanni which boasts a collection from masters of the Sienese school in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Exploring Castiglione d’Orcia further, visitors can immerse themselves in a landscape that has inspired artists for centuries. The town’s strategic location offers panoramic views that encompass the quintessential Tuscan countryside, with its undulating hills and verdant valleys. The thermal baths of Bagno Vignoni, located just a short distance away, are another highlight, providing a relaxing retreat with their healing waters amidst historic surroundings. For those interested in local culture, the town’s piazzas and ancient churches host a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing traditional crafts, foods, and wines. Castiglione d’Orcia, with its rich history, artistic heritage, and natural beauty, is a captivating destination that offers a profound connection to Tuscany’s soul.

Tours and Activities in Val d’Orcia

These are the tours and activities we have selected for your trip to Val d’Orcia.

Wine and Food-Tasting Tours

The Val d’Orcia boasts many delicious local food products and wines. Montepulciano and Montalcino are wine-tasting hot spots, as home to the famous Vino Nobile and Brunello, respectively. In and between the two towns you will find many options for both tastings and tours of vineyards. You can browse vineyards and tour options on the Viator website.

Hiking and Biking

The gorgeous natural beauty of the Val d’Orcia offers a ton of excellent hiking and biking options! Most of the towns are well connected to each other, as well as to nearby sites via scenic roads. You can also follow the ancient pilgrimage trail, the Via Francigena. For instance, from Pienza, you can hike or bike to the Chapel of Madonna di Vitaleta or to the picturesque but private Capella di Vitaleta.

For an easy or intermediate bike ride, you can travel between ​​Montalcino and Sant’Antimo, or Pienza and Montepulciano. More challenging rides can take scenic routes, or tour around towns through the hilly terrain.

Hot Springs

The hot springs of Bagno Vignoni
The hot springs of Bagno Vignoni

Tuscany is full of popular and relaxing thermal hot springs, and the Val D’Orcia is no exception! These sites have been known since ancient times, so you can relax and take in history all at once! Your options include Bagno Vignoni, Bagni San Filippo, San Casciano dei Bagni, Petriolo, and perhaps the most famous, Saturnia

Hot Air Balloon Rides

A hot air balloon ride is an incredible way to take in the gorgeous views of the Val d’Orcia, riding slowly above the river valley. There are a number of hot air balloon operators including Ballooning in Tuscany and Montalcino Wine Tours.

Cooking Classes

With all these excellent products, artisans and farmers in the Val d’Orcia are well-versed in food preparation and the classic Tuscan dining table. Cooking classes are an excellent way to learn from locals, gain cultural experience, and make some delicious food! In some cases, you can pair a wine tour and a cooking class.

Best Accommodations in Val d’Orcia

There are so many wonderful places to stay across the Val d’Orcia!

Wellness-Centered, and by the Most Unique Piazza

Indoor pool in Albergo Le Terme
Photo Credit: – Albergo Le Terme

The Hotel Le Terme in Bagno Vignoni overlooks the main piazza’s hot springs pool. The hotel offers a hydromassage bath, a Roman sauna with therapeutic pools, and a main thermal pool.

Location: Piazza Delle Sorgenti 13, 53027 Bagno Vignoni, Italy

Stars: 3

Features: Spa, Excellent Breakfast, Bar

Reviews: 8.7/10

Working Agriturismo in the Countryside near Pienza

Outdoor pool with beautiful view landscape in Agriturismo Palazzo Massaini "Cavarciano"
Photo Credit: – Agriturismo Palazzo Massaini “Cavarciano”

3 miles from Pienza, Agriturismo Palazzo Massaini “Cavarciano” is far enough in the countryside to get a bit of peace and quiet, but still close enough to Pienza to not be too isolated.

Location: Località Palazzo Massaini, 53026 Pienza, Italy

Stars: 3

Features: Outdoor swimming pool, Very Good Breakfast, Facilities for disabled guests

Reviews: 9/10

Hotel in the Historic Center of Montalcino

Classic room in Albergo Il Giglio
Photo Credit: – Albergo Il Giglio

Full of old-world charm, Albergo Il Giglio is located in Montalcino, with views of both the city and the surrounding countryside.

Location: Soccorso Saloni 5, 53024 Montalcino, Italy

Stars: 3

Features: Room service, Bar, Excellent Breakfast

Reviews: 8.8/10

Local Food and Wine 

A picturesque alley of Pienza, in Val d'Orcia
Pienza, the perfect town to stay and find the best restaurants and shops with local food and wine

The Val d’Orcia boasts many delectable local food and beverage products to delight your senses! Here are a few you should be sure to try. They can be found in local restaurants and grocery stores, especially those dedicated to products from the region. 

In this town, you will find the famed Pecorino di Pienza sheep cheese. It comes in a range of varieties depending on how long it has been aged and how it was seasoned – spices, herbs, truffles, and wine are among the local favorites. The valley is especially known for meat and salamis, the Cinta Senese pigs, special to the province of Siena, and Chianina cows whose meat is used to make bistecca alla fiorentina. You will also find an ancient type of pasta called Pici, which is thick and stringy like a type of spaghetti. 

The Val D’Orcia boasts four local prized wines:

  • Vino Nobile from Montepulciano;
  • Brunello from Montalcino;
  • Orcia DOC;
  • Orcia DOC Vin Santo.

If you are visiting in April, you can attend the Orcia Wine Festival in San Quirico d’Orcia.

Read more: Pasta In Tuscany – Deliciousness You Have To Try To Believe

Restaurants in Val d’Orcia

The restaurant Sette di Vino, in Pienza
The restaurant Sette di Vino, in Pienza

Ristorante Fonte alla Vena offers an elegant dining experience in San Quirico d’Orcia. 

If you’re looking for something more informal and with an authentically and charmingly rustic feel, try Sette di Vino in Pienza. 

Want to dine, and add a cooking class too? Locanda Demetra & Montalcino Cooking School in Montalcino is your spot, and has a beautiful view to boot! Cooking classes start at 10 am and run through lunch. 

How to Get to the Val d’Orcia

Traveling by rental car in the Val d’Orcia is advisable. It will allow you to travel easily between towns, roadside attractions, and natural areas. Many of the most famous towns in this area are not well connected by public transportation, and many don’t have a train station.

If you are looking to travel by train, your two options for landing points are the larger stations in Montepulciano and Buonconvento. Both are accessible on routes from Siena. You can also find more local buses, from those towns or from farther out, but some of the schedules are relatively infrequent.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous and up for physical activity, the region is quite accessible to hikers and bikers. It’s possible to walk or bike between most of the towns.

FAQs about the Val d’Orcia

Here are the frequently asked questions about Val d’Orcia.

What is the Best Time to Visit the Val d’Orcia?

If there is a certain festival you want to catch – wine, music, food, folkloric – check that calendar first. For example, spring offers incredible greenery and flower blooms. In summer, things will dry out and you’ll catch the characteristic yellow of the dry wheat fields. But be warned that summer can also bring high temperatures and crowds. Winter will be a bit colder, but also a quiet time when the ambiance (and hot springs!) can be enjoyed more calmly privately.

How many Days do I need to Visit the Val d’Orcia? 

It depends on how much you want to see! A quick dash around a few towns by car or a day trip to a favorite town that catches your eye can be done in a day. However, you won’t be able to really arrive into the rhythms of the valley. A week is enough time to travel slowly through a town or two each day, but more time can certainly be made use of when possible!


The Val d’Orcia represents the quintessence of Tuscany, offering a harmonious blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and culinary excellence. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its rolling hills, ancient towns, and thermal springs, invites travelers to explore its landscapes on foot, bike, or through a glass of exquisite local wine. Whether it’s the architectural marvels of Pienza, the vinicultural prestige of Montalcino, or the serene baths of Bagni San Filippo, the Val d’Orcia provides a timeless journey into the heart of Tuscan tradition and charm, making every visit a deeply enriching experience.