What Val d'Orcia towns are a must?

Old Jan 7th, 2011, 05:43 PM
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Stu - I almost cried after reading your post. It sounds like Southern Tuscany is a place of complete synergy and harmony. Thank you so much for your post. I am going to follow your drive.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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The best gelato in Tuscany is in Castellina http://www.anticadelizia.it/index.htm
Just down the street from the gelateria is a great pizza/ristorante whose name escapes me.
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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The Restorante/Pizzaria Tre Port is the name of the restaurant in Castellina
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 03:01 PM
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Some info that might help you with south Tuscany day trips

Pictorial map of the area south of Siena
http://www.laromita.net/code/largemap.html

Some nice photos. #15 is Pienza from outside of town.

http://translate.google.com/translat...ial%26prmd%3Dm

A POST BY ME on this form for my 2010 trip

Planning a day trip from Siena area to southern Tuscany in July.

Drive scenic roads thru Sienese Crete, cypress lined roads near Monticchielo and La Foce; visit Pienza, drive by Montepulciano and Montelcino; visit Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore or Sant' Antimo.

Obviously we can't make extensive visits to all. What emphasis would you recommend? Which of Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore or Sant' Antimo.? Which of Montepulciano or Montelcino ? Monticchielo or La Foce? Any other places I should drive by or stop at?

Thanks

ANSWERS
zeppole
The answers you are going to get are going to very, very VERY subjective. For some people Sant'Antimo is the culmination of everything they ever dreamed about when planning a trip to Tuscany. For others, the colorful freschi at Monte Oliveto Maggiore are an eye opening experience, and they never look at an Italian painting the same way again. Walk into Montepulciano when it is teeming with bus tour groups and you might think wasn't worth it. Likewise La Foce.

I would put the emphasis on lingering wherever you are enjoying yourselves, and not leaving it to go to someplace else on a check list. You can't "miss" anything in Tuscany if you are liking what you are doing. And no matter how much you rush around, you are always going to "miss" something. So give into just immersing yourself, and let Tuscany tell you where to go and what to do.



bobthenavigator
You cannot do it all in one day--as you well know. I like the drive from Siena past Asciano in the Crete and on to Oliveto Maggiore by 0930. Then, the back roads via Montisi and Santa Anna in Camprena[ where ENGLISH PATIENT was shot] and finally to Pienza. You decide the direction back home based on time and weather. Take your camera and be awake as you drive west from Pienza to San Quirico for the famed image of the Capella in the field about 3 miles west of Pienza on the south side.

docdan
Just spent two days in Montepulciano, and was unable to visit La Foce, which sounds like it is something to consider. however, we did the following circuit, which was recommended to me by another traevel on her 4th visit to Tuscany, and we enjoyed it greatly:
This can be done in Six or so hours. Go south to the Abbaye Sant'Antimo(11th Century)Proceed further south, to Monte Amiata, crossing the Orcia River and train tracks. A few KM after that, turn left and go to Castiglione D'Orcia, clinbing the delightful 12th Century fortress there for a view you'll never forget. Proceed North to Bagno Vignoli, a small mineral water pool for free is on the dirt road just south of the town, but the town itself is lovely to stroll around. Then proceed east through Spedaletto then take the left to go north to the small village of Montichiello. A lunch at La Porta is highly recommended, as it has good food and a great view, and if they are full, a few restaurants up the hill are equally good, but without the view. The little town itself is just too cute. And the terrain around this little town is gorgeous. Then follow signs for Montepulciano. As you get real close to the center of the city (Centrale) the road will fork right to the Centrale, left towards Pienza, and a smaller street is straight ahead to the Temple "Bigio di San Biagio" is a real treat. Exterior and interior are wonderful, and this is in many guide books as highly recommended. A stroll around the Centrale of Montepulciano is nice, but has some steep climbs, but right in the center Piazza are enotecas where you can try the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, similar to Brunello, but it is fun to try to taste the difference. Then proceed in the direction of Pienza, and just a few miles after leaving Montepulciano you'll notice yellow signs with a sheep symbol on it and the word "Cugusi" - this goes to a farm with a showroom with the famous Picorino cheese in it. If you like cheese - you'll love this stuff. Now just cruise leisurely past Pienza and San Quirico D'orcia back to Montalcino. Stopping in those lovely towns if you wish. You will now be tired enough to crash into your rooms for a siesta!

With this info and those posted on this thread you should be able to plan day trip(s) to the south of Siena.I recommend viaMichelin or equivalent for planning
Hope this helps
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 03:39 PM
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Wow, dugi_otok, that is awesome information.

We will travel from Chianti to Montepulciano via the scenic Asciano route, arriving Montepulciano on Sunday afternoon. We then have all day Monday and about 1/2 of Tuesday before we need to drive in earnest for Rome to drop our car by about 4PM. So, we will have two evenings and perhaps some of Tuesday morning within Montepulciano.

That said, the most likely candidates for the one full day are: Pienza, San Quirico, and Monticchiello (for lunch). I would love for some advice on routing/timing and any other small towns that we should consider fitting into that day. I can't imagine there will be time for Montalcino.

Also, for our Tuesday departure, any thoughts on the best place or two to stop on our slow drive out of the area, such as Sarteano or Cetona?
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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Here are my photos of La Foce, taken in late October:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...5&l=949e28528e

If you click on my name, you will find my October 2010 trip report for the Val d'Orcia area.

BTW, re La Foce:

At a party before Christmas I was introduced to some friends of Donata Origo, daughter of the Marchese (not Count) and Marchesa Origo. They told me that a feature film is being made of War in Val d'Orcia -- wh I wd love to see!
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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This is some amazing stuff! Thank you for these wonderful routes to take. I am going to have to get organized and put it all together with what drives I want to take....

It really almost sounds like Tuscany is 50% about visiting towns, but also 50% is almost about the drive itself.

This is making me want to rent a convertible and wear a strapless dress with a straw hat. haha
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 04:35 PM
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I can see you doing that Jill!!! Go for it!
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Scatcat - I see you bought the kindle. How do you like it so far? I may want to get one too.
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 05:44 PM
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I haven't been on a trip with it yet, but I leave January 30 on a cruise. I think it will be nice. I usually carry three paperbacks and sometimes end up buying another book while I'm in Europe. It also has 3G and wifi so that will come in handy too. Although I never leave home without my netbook and I can use my Droid for lots of things too. Still nothing like having the bigger screen of the netbook and good for movies too.
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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Wow. What great posts!! Am also going to Tuscany for part of our trip, so this was great info. Thank you all. Jill, go for the convertible. We did that in Napa, CA and it was so awesome!
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 07:25 PM
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i agree with sTu, the title of the Post made me laugh, as the Val d'Orcia _IS_ the must see. Any one town or location can be missed as the whole is greater than the sum of hte parts.
I would for sure not miss the driving around and a walk around Monticchiello, as the scenery was even a higher level than other parts of the Val. And agree, ifyou can get some of the "nobile" wine in Montepulciano, it is quite good.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 05:11 AM
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Stu's driving tour was a highlight of our week in Tuscany/Umbria.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 06:41 AM
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bfrac

Thanks - good to hear that !!!

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 07:44 AM
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I'm such a fan of LaFoce, I hope everyone goes there!

Tedgale: I may have said this before but your photos of the LaFoce gardens are just great! I have a photo that matches yours of the (formerrose,nowherb) part of the garden, which I should email to you and will, now that I remember!! Taken in June!

I second all that has been said here about the Val d'Orcia. After my fourth trip there, (8 weeks total) I still haven't seen it all, but have enjoyed every little road and by way.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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I am spending two weeks in a villa outside of Monticchiello in August so I am gearing up for tooling around the area ala Stu in my little car.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 02:04 PM
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I definitely think I want to visit Monticchiello. It looks very charming.....
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 03:02 PM
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I understand the restaurant La Porta is quite good. The house is less than one mile from the town and ten minutes from La Foce.
We have been in the area but very briefly so I want to take my time and really enjoy that part of Tuscany.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 03:08 PM
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Monticchiello is indeed quite charming, but very, very small and does not have very many businesses aside from a couple of restaurants, both of which are quite good (but Osteria LaPorta is my favorite) and just a couple of shops, which have limited hours of operation. There is, however, a fabulous linen shop in Montichiello which is worth checking out if you can get to it before its afternoon closing - I bought some linen dishtowels and a beautiful tablecloth and napkins that recall our stay in this tiny borgo every time I use them.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 05:54 PM
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hazel1. Since you say the town is very small is there only one linen shop or do you remember the name of the one where you bought the dishtowels?
You know they make lovely gifts, and they do not take up a lot of room in a suitcase.
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