Places of interest near Il Rigo in the Val d’Orcia
- An abundance of art, culture, Renaissance architecture and mediaeval towns and villages
- Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, Buonconvento, Sant’Antimo Abbey, Siena and more…
Southern Tuscany overflows with places of interest and things to look at. Almost every village and town is a haven rich in art, culture and fascinating architecture. Out in the countryside the landscapes are breathtakingly enchanting and so very easy on the eye. We are also within easy reach of Florence (2hrs), San Gimignano and Siena (1hr), some of Italy’s most alluring towns and cities. Much of this beauty and culture is available to you during your stay with us, but it is also easy to add a stay before or after your time with us, should you wish to further explore Tuscany.
Pienza – 15 minutes drive, 2 hours walk
Originally called Corsignano, Pope Pius II came from Pienza. He decided to re-design the town to incorporate a number of piazzas for people to gather in – an early example of town planning. The town was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996 due to its rich Renaissance architecture. Pienza is also linked strongly with the ‘Pecorino’ cheese made from sheep’s milk, which is considered a delicacy locally.
San Quirico D’Orcia – 5 minute drive – 15 minute walk
Our local town, San Quirico d’Orcia is historically very important as a place of refuge for pilgrims on the ancient Via Francigena between Canterbury to Rome. As a result, San Quircio D’Orcia is still one of the main gateways to the wonderful walking in the Val D’Orcia. The narrow cobbled streets are lined with cafés and it is a charming and easy to stop here for refreshment after a walk before strolling back to Il Rigo to relax.
Bagno Vignoni – 15 minute drive – 1 ½ hour walk
Often featured in the top 10 most beautiful villages in Italy, Bagno Vignoni has been on the radar since ancient times due to its hot and sulphurous waters. The central square is occupied by a large rectangular pool which is said to have cured illnesses such as leprosy. Nowadays, this square is also lined with cafés and bars and it offers a picturesque coffee stop. Some public pools are found at the southern end of town and it is lovely to dip your toes in the water at the end of a walk.
Montalcino – 30 minute drive – 3 hour walk
Montalcino is home to the world-famous Brunello wine. This hill-top town boasts many beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture as well as a 12th century castle and a number of art museums. Well worth a visit and perhaps a little taste of its most famous product!
Monte Olivetto Maggiore – 30-40 minute drive
Dating back to 1313 AD, this Benedictine monastery, still in use today, is situated amongst the jagged clay hills of the Crete Senesi region on Tuscany. The Monastery has attracted many famous painters over the years and many pieces of work are on display here. However, perhaps the main attraction is a collection of 35 frescoes in the main cloister, which depict the life of St Benedict.
Sant’Antimo Abbey – 30-40 minute drive
Dating back to the 12th century, this is another Benedictine monastery which is still in use. The monks here meet seven times a day to pray. They also perform the atmospheric Gregorian chant.
Monticchiello – 30 minute drive – 4 hour walk
Originally built as a stronghold against the republic of Siena, this stunning village still sits within the defensive walls surrounding its castle’s keep. The village church has a number of historic frescoes and was home to the ‘Teatro Povero.’. Montichiello offers a beautiful panorama of the Val D’Orcia and some of the best sunsets in the area can be enjoyed here.
Montepuliciano – 35 minute drive
Great option for a day out, perhaps on our rest day. Encircled by famous ‘Nobile di Montepuliciano’ vines and perched on top of a tufaceous outcrop reaching 605m, this medieval city really dominates its surroundings. It is a wealth of Rennassaince architecture, which includes the stunning temple of San Biagio. There are plenty of hidden corners in its labyrinth of ancient streets, which date back to the Middle Ages. Its central square, Piazza Grande, makes for a wonderful spot to sit, taste some wines and watch the world go by.
Buonconvento – 30 minute drive
This quaint walled town, originating back to the 1100’s makes for a wonderful afternoon stop. Situated on the Via Francigena pilgrimage route, Buonconvento hosts a number of art galleries, as well as a pedestrianised main street with an abundance of cafés, their tables spilling out on to the cobbles.
La Foce – 40 minute drive
A large estate which has beautiful gardens which are open to visitors.
Siena – 1 hour drive time
No direct public transport links – but it is possible to get there with a bus to Buonconvento, then a train to Siena.