Val D’Orcia

Top Things To Do and See When You Travel To This Jewel In Tuscany

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.

Table of Contents:

1. Reasons to VIsit 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 cypressesspa 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!

TIP FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Make sure you rely on your personal means of transportation when you travel to Val d’Orcia. If you are used to traveling by public transport, well forget all about it! If you want to make the most out of this experience, we strongly recommend you rent a car, or a motorbike or – even better – for a greener and more eco-friendly option, a bicycle or an e-bicycle.

Details of the town of Pienza, Val d’Orcia, Tuscany

1.1 VIsit Val D’Orcia

When is the best time to travel to this unique region?

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

2. Top 10 places to visit in 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!

2.1 San Quirico d’Orcia and Cappella Madonna di Vitaleta

2.2 Pienza

2.3 Campi Elisi / Gladiator Avenue

2.4 Bagni Vignone

2.5 Bagni di San Filippo

2.6 Podere Belvedere

2.7 Montepulciano

2.8 Cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia

2.9 Monastery Abbazia di Sant’Antimo

2.10 Montalcino

3. Eating Out In Val D’Orcia

Top 5 culinary excellences from Val d’Orcia

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.

3.2 Pici

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.

3.4 Panforte

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.

4. Top 5 Places Easy To Reach From Val D’Orcia That Are Really Worth A Visit

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.

4.1 Siena

4.2 San Gimignano

4.3 Orvieto

4.4 Perugia

4.5 Grosseto

Are you planning a holiday in Val d’Orcia, this little corner of paradise in Tuscany? If you want to make sure to go back home with some gorgeous memories of this dreamy getaway together, feel free to GET IN TOUCH and enquire about our couple sessions.

What better way to treasure such a wonderful experience other than reliving it through timeless photographs?

If this is something that might interest you, feel free to fill up our contact form and find out all about our pre-wedding and couple sessions in Val d’Orcia.

Pienza, Val dOrcia

For more inspiration about our couple sessions in Tuscany, feel free to check out our dedicated section on the blog:

Benni & Carol

Italy wedding photographers – Benni Carol Photography

Leave a comment

  1. Carolyn Mooney May 31, 2024 at 1:12 am - Reply

    Hello! My husband and I are travelling to Italy this summer and spending 3 nights in Tuscany. I may add a couple more days, and skip Cinque Terre, but haven’t decided that yet. We will be in San Gimignano for 3 nights but will definitly make our way dowbn to the Val D’orcia area. I would LOVE a short photo shoot. We went to Paris a couple of years ago and did this and I was so happy that I did. We are both celebratiing our 60th birthdays this summer so special occasion, and 37 years of marraige! Would you have a time slot available? Since we arrive on the 9th, we really only have the 10th or the 11th to book something as we will be travelling on the 12th to Capri. Please let me know. Thank you! Carolyn Mooney

    • BenniCarol June 4, 2024 at 7:20 am - Reply

      Hi Caroline, thank you so much for getting in touch, such incredible plans! We would certainly love to help, can I just ask which month our you travelling to Italy so we can check our availability? Thank you so much!! Carol x