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Val D\'Orcia

Val d’Orcia is not a place to be rushed through. Trails, paths and dirt roads let you take your time and enjoy what you see, stopping to take in the view and visit monuments or simply to marvel at details such as country houses, cypress trees and ravines. Whether you travel on foot, by bike or on horseback, should you strike out on your own or hire a guide through a specialised agency, the time- worn trails through Val d’Orcia offer an endless variety of itineraries. You don’t need to be an expert hiker or cyclist. Even if you’re just driving down the Senese road, a few hours are enough for a satisfying walk along one of the many well-marked trails. All you need is a pair of good walking shoes, a backpack, a wind-breaker in case of rain and a hat to protect you from the summer sun. Discovered by English and German trekkers and bikers, the web of trails and dirt roads that covers this valley makes it possible to create an endless variety of itineraries. Wine lovers may climb up to Montalcino through Brunello vineyards. Breathtaking panoramas are in store along the hill crest from Radicofani to Contignano, just opposite Monte Amiata. The trail along the Orcia river bed offers Mediterranean flora and atmosphere. The trail that follows the course of the Orcia from Bagno Vignoni leads to Ripa d’Orcia, with a twentieth-century reconstruction of a fortress that originally belonged to the Salimbeni and Piccolomini families. Ripa and its panorama toward Monte Amiata may also be reached via San Quirico, along a dirt road that passes by the hamlet and tower at Vignoni. The climb from Castiglione d’Orcia to Vivo d’Orcia heads into the forests of the extinct volcano. Travelling from Monticchiello to Pienza, or in the area of Sant’Anna in Camprena, the view takses in the rolling silhouette of the hills that seems to go on forever. Thanks to its central location, Val d’Orcia is also a meeting point for several long-distance itineraries. Here pass the trails that link Siena to Monte Amiata and Pienza to Montepulciano, as does the Sentiero Italia trail that links Florence and Rome. Footpaths 14 Terrapille, near Pienza Abbey of Sant’Antimo VALDORCIA_INT_ING 30-07-2009 18:48 Pagina 14

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