Are you ready to immerse yourself in the Tuscan countryside among vineyards and cypresses, to visit medieval villages that will leave you breathless, to walk on the roads that the pilgrims used to walk and finally you are prepared to benefit from the magical atmosphere that surrounds the area of ​​the Val d’Orcia?

This territory included by UNESCO among the World Heritage sites is rich in culture and traditions that inevitably connect to the history of Catholicism. In fact, some places are remembered only for the presence of churches and abbeys that over time have become symbolic places in this part of Tuscany.

Every year, at different times of the season, tourists, amateurs and the curious come to the discovery of this territory ready to explore its artistic beauty, history and traditions.

We take you with us, we will travel along an innovative itinerary that we call “religious itinerary in Val d’Orcia” in the footsteps of pilgrims and wayfarers who for centuries have crossed: Abbadia San Salvatore, Piancastagnaio, Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico d’Orcia, Montalcino and Pienza in search of faith through the beauties of creation.

Religious itinerary: the stages

Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbazia San Salvatorei - cappella-1
  • Abbey of San Salvatore
  • Church of the Madonna del Castagno
  • Madonna dei Remedi

Piancastagnaio

Piancastagnaio - Santuario della Madonna di San Pietro
  • Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Pietro

Bagno Vignoni

Bagno Vignoni -Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista
  • Church of San Giovanni Battista

San Quirico d'Orcia

San quirico collegiata interno
  • Chapel of the Madonna of Vitaleta
  • Collegiate of Saints Quirico and Giulitta

Montalcino

Sant'Antimo - facciata
  • Abbey of Sant’Antimo
  • Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso

Pienza

Pienza cattedrale - interno
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

First stop: the churches of Abbadia San Salvatore

The first stage of the religious itinerary in Val D’Orcia is Abbadia San Salvatore a small town in the province of Siena located on the Sienese side of the Monte Amiata .

Abbadia has a very special atmosphere. If you arrive at this place in the summer season you can regenerate thanks to the fresh air and good food but if you travel in winter prepare scarf and gloves. The proximity to the Monte Amiata makes the climate very rigid.

We recommend an excursion to the summit of the Amiata to enjoy the excellent view and visit the famous “Iron Cross”, built according to the instructions of Pope Leo XIII to celebrate the Holy Year of 1900. The Cross that stands proud on top celebrates redemption. Prepare your camera and smartphone because the photos on the summit are ritual!

The town of Abbadia is very characteristic, it will not be difficult to locate shops and bazaars that sell typical products of the area, you can take home a souvenir, a beautiful magnet of the Abbey or the nocino a liqueur typical of the area much loved by tourists.
The history of Abbadia is linked to the homonymous monastery founded in 743 by a Lombard king. We enter together in the beautiful Abbey to discover its history:

Second stop: the churches of Piancastagnaio

From Abbadia San Salvatore you can quickly reach the town of Piancastagnaio, a beautiful ancient village surrounded by medieval walls and natural trachyte cliffs.
The city is divided into districts that annually participate in the Palio di Piancastagnaio, a beautiful competition, which involves the whole country.
Among the churches that you absolutely must visit is the Church of San Bartolomeo, which you will meet as soon as you arrive in the village, surrounded by a lawn that welcomes a beautiful secular chestnut tree. The small church appears very beautiful in its simplicity, inside there are fragments of fourteenth-century Sienese school frescoes.
Continuing on the road you can visit the Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta which is accessed via a staircase. The interior houses a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament in Baroque style, a chapel dedicated to the Santissima Annunziata with a Baroque wooden altar and an altarpiece depicting the Annunciation and in the lower part a representation of the wooden dead Christ by Pasquale Leoncini.
Leaving the village, along the road to Santa Fiora your attention will be captured by the beautiful Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Pietro. Let’s pause a few minutes and visit the Sanctuary:

Third stage: the churches of Bagno Vignoni

The religious itinerary in Val D’Orcia continues in the Bagno Vignoni area, one of the most characteristic of Tuscany. Bagno Vignoni thanks to its proximity to the Via Francigena was the main route followed by pilgrims on their way to Rome.
We advise you to take some time to visit the village, one of the few in Italy that houses a 16th century bath with a spring of thermal water. Since Roman times the baths of Bagno Vignoni have been frequented by illustrious personalities such as: Pope Pius II, Lorenzo De Medici and Caterina Da Siena.
According to tradition these waters are considered blessed thanks to the passage of great saints and important personalities who have stayed in this pleasant place far from the chaos of the city.

Fourth stage: the churches of San Quirico d’Orcia

San Quirico d’Orcia is one of the most famous and most photographed places in Tuscany. Known worldwide for the image of the small Chapel of the Madonna della Vitaleta that stands proud on top of a hill surrounded by cypress trees. Tourists from all over the world visit this famous location only to stop for a few minutes to observe the Vitaleta Chapel.
The medieval village, surrounded by walls, can be accessed from the four doors. The door to the northwest gives the possibility of arriving, as soon as possible, at the Collegiate Church of Santi Quirico and Giulitta. The “famous” Chapel, on the other hand, is located a little outside San Quirico.

Fifth stage: the churches of Montalcino

On the border with the province of Grosseto is the town of Montalcino, famous for the presence of Sangiovese vineyards from which the “Brunello” wine is obtained. The city of Montalcino has ancient origins.

The main place of worship is the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino dedicated to the Holy Savior.

The massive presence of churches, chapels, abbeys and convents makes Montalcino one of the perfect stops to follow a religious itinerary in Val D’Orcia.
The church of Sant’Egidio, for example, is famous because it was the official church of the Republic of Siena in Montalcino. The Chiesa dei Bianchi also known as the Madonna della Pace, seat of the Confraternity of the Misericordia. The Church of Sant’Antonio Abate which stands out for its beautiful eighteenth-century façade.

Last stop: the churches of Pienza

The last stop on the religious itinerary in Val D’Orcia is Pienza in the province of Siena, considered the most important municipality from the artistic and cultural point of view of the whole Valley.
To the point that in 1996 the historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Part of the city’s artistic heritage is located in the main square named after Pope Pius II who worked hard to make Pienza an ideal city. The projects of Pius II entrusted to Bernardo Rossellino remained incomplete but Pienza remains one of the most significant examples of urban planning of the Renaissance period.