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Val D\'Orcia

13 at Radicofani and Tentennano were contstructed to ensure safety. In this way the road influenced the face of this valley. Val d’Orcia leaves its mark on all those who pass this way. Those born here are fiercely bound to their land, and can scarcely live anywhere else. The bishop Enea Silvio Piccolomini frequently returned to his home town even after becoming Pope in search of the harmony he knew awaited him there. Even today, travellers who spend just a few hours passing through are instantly struck and seduced. They suddenly realise they must come back. Iris Origo, author of the best-selling book Guerra in Val d’Orcia (War in Val d’Orcia) was struck over twenty years ago when she arrived at the Foce estate and became a foremost advocate for the preservation of local wheat cultivation. The director Anthony Minghella was similarly struck and set his materpiece film The English Patient, a saga about travelling, love, life and pain in Pienza and the monastery at Sant’Anna in Camprena. More than anything else, Val d’Orcia means nature. The river this valley is named after is little more than a stream for most of the year. In the summer heat it practically dries up, but the autumn rains transform it into a raging river that seems to consume all it encounters. It springs forth in the hills between Radicofani and Sarteano, descends into a wide cultivated valley and then heads west toward Pienza, San Quirico, Montalcino and Castiglione. It skirts Monte Amiata and delves into a deep canyon, then passes through the hills of Maremma and finally feeds into the Ombrone river. The Orcia river is not the valley’s only source of water. In Bagno Vignoni and Bagni San Filippo, thermal waters heated in the heart of the volcano bubble to the surface and form mineral outcroppings of rare beauty while offering well-being and pleasure to those who arrive from near and afar, as they have done for centuries. Then there’s the land, tinted with that striking terra di Siena hue, that forms hills, deep valleys and ravines. VALDORCIA_INT_ING 30-07-2009 18:48 Pagina 13

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