Updated: Aug 1, 2021
When you think about Tuscany, chances are you're actually thinking of Val d'Orcia. You know, those tantalizing images of smooth hills, rows of cypresses, endlesses plowed fields and so on? You got it: that's Val d'Orcia, Unesco world heritage site.
I can affirm without any hesitation: you wouldn't find such amazing landscapes anywhere else in the world.
But Val d'Orcia is not only breathtaking landscapes and nature.
This is a place full of history, where you will find Pienza, the "touchstone of Renaissance urbanism", a town rebuilt in the 15th century on the initiative of the humanist Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Pope Pius II, by architects Bernardo Gambarelli and Leon Battista Alberti. Pienza represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers.
A few miles south of Pienza is Bagno Vignoni, an ancient thermal village with a pool in place of the city square.
Head further west and you'll find Montalcino, not only a charming little town with a beautiful castle but also one of the world capitals of red wine and home of the Brunello di Montalcino.
A brief tour of Val d'Orcia is feasible from the villa in one day visiting the main villages (mainly Pienza, Montalcino and Bagno Vignoni); otherwise you can choose to dedicate two or more days to visit both the historical attractions and some of the best wineries, or to take a photographic tour of the countryside. The trip from La Sugherosa to Montalcino takes 1,5 hours.