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VAL D'ORCIA

The magnificent landscape of the Val d'Orcia, between the hills of Tuscany, has been included in the Unesco World Heritage List in 2004. The Val d'Orcia, Union of art and landscape, geographic space and ecosystem, is the expression of wonderful natural features but is also the result and the testimony of people who lived there.  According to Unesco this valley is an outstanding example of how the natural environment has been redesigned in the Renaissance and reflects the ideals of "good governance" (14th and 15th century) typical of the Italian city-States, whose splendid places were celebrated by painters of the Sienese school, which flourished between the 13th and 15th centuries.Val d'Orcia images of Val d'Orcia and especially reproductions of his landscapes, which depicts people living in harmony with nature, are so become icons of the Renaissance. 

 A perfect example is the cycle of frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti's "Allegory and effects of good and bad government" (1338-1339), preserved in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. These are works of art that go beyond the artistic value to transcend in the architectural, social and environmental.

Rolling hills covered by a dense vegetation of vineyards, olive groves, cypress trees, beech and chestnut trees, interrupted by ancient medieval villages, country houses and castles with towers impervious that disperse in the secluded and peaceful nature of places: this is the scenario that presents itself in the eyes of the visitor of the Val d'Orcia, scenery impressive, just as portrayed by the masters of the Sienese school.  Five million years of geologic history have left their mark on this territory that today presents a peculiar variety of plant and animal species.  Even the volcano lava deposits now off of Radicofani and dell'amiata contributed to outline shapes in this area; the lava, induritasi, gave birth to the dark stones known as trachytes. Lava rocks occur along the River Orcia which crosses the Valley and comes out through a deep rift. 

The Val d'Orcia has tied its fate to the via Cassia, the great Roman road that connected Rome with North Italy communication and running through the whole of the Valley.  A street that, for much of its path, follows the historical via Francigena, where the direction of travel has the spirit of pilgrimage.  Continuous transit of people and goods along this important link established the importance of some towns in the area up to arouse the interest of the Republic of Siena in the 15th century. After the mid-16th century, the Val d'Orcia entered into the orbit of Florence with Siena domains only, preserving the value of agricultural area.

Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d'Orcia are five beautiful municipalities that have chosen to give life to the Parco della Val D'orcia to protect the environment and the land and to promote the brand.  Contignano, Monticchiello, Bagno Vignoni, Rocca d'Orcia, Campiglia d'Orcia, Bagni San Filippo, Vivo d'Orcia, are other beautiful towns in this area are also a dip in a fascinating past and rich of suggestions. The richness and variety of the landscape are not the only elements that characterize this pristine land, food production is one of the strengths of the Val d'Orcia: cheese pecorino di Pienza, the honey of the Val d'Orcia, the extra-virgin olive oil by Castiglione d'Orcia, Cinta Senese cold cuts. And even mushrooms and truffles, and one of the world's most popular wines: Brunello di Montalcino.

 

       

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