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Val D\'Orcia

19 Vivo d’Orcia and its medieval Waters Set against one of the views of Monte Amiata dearest to the medieval artist Sassetta, lush with greenery and bubbling waters of timeless origin, Vivo d'Orcia is a lovely outlying ward of Castiglion d'Orcia set in a valley that time forgot. Its castle overlooks the Vivo river, which springs forth in Ermicciolo. Mills, paper factories, and iron works have grown up along its course since medieval times, and a hydroelectric generator was first built here in the 1920s. Some traces of these old constructions may still be noticed under a cover of vines, in one of the most enchanting landscapes in the area. In Ermicciolo you may also admire the river’s spring, where the water gushes from the rocks. Here the Festa delle Acque (Water Festival) is held every 22 March. The trail that leads from Ermicciolo to l'Eremo along the course of the river is one of the finest in the Amiata area. You may stop to admire the falls and a little dam in the middle of the woods, as well as the caves where the Italian Resistance fighters sought refuge during the second World War. Here archeological sites have yielded artifacts from the Mesolithic and Etruscan periods. If you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the rare green woodpecker, whose cry echoes among the centuries-old trees. The valley of the Vivo river is one of the few places in this world where you can feel as though you’re still in the Middle Ages. Amiata, waterfall Paolo Conti VALDORCIA_INT_ING 30-07-2009 18:48 Pagina 19

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