A day in the Val d’Orcia

The places where they filmed “The Gladiator.”

The Val d’Orcia is a wide valley located in the province of Siena, in Tuscany. Recognized in 2004 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers breathtaking views, dreamy landscapes and many locations made famous by photographers and directors.

Five municipalities belong to the Natural and Cultural Artistic Park of the Val d’Orcia and among them stand out Pienza, Montalcino, Castiglione d’Orcia, San Quirico d’Orcia, and Radicofani.

The whole valley is endowed with many prestigious receptive structures, for the majority b & b and agriturismi, some of which are easily found on the covers of the most famous newspapers and tourist guides.

The whole valley is endowed with prestigious receptive structures, for the majority b & b and agriturismi, some of which are easily found on the covers of the most famous newspapers and tourist guides. The Valle d’Orcia is the ideal destination for a slow, thrilling journey that leaves indelible memories in mind. It is because no, in this area, it is easy to think of responsible tourism trips.

The area enjoys a high tourist flow all year round, thanks to the famous Via Francigena, a destination for sustainable tourism trips, and the renowned food and wine tours organized by local communities. The area is, in fact, renowned above all for its wine, oil, truffles, pici and Chianina meat.

But “the Gladiator”? Yes, we get there. The photographic itinerary that we present to you could be the starting point for a “more cinematic” journey on the road. Not because it’s a steep path, but because it takes more than 24 hours.

So photography, cinema, and sustainable travel enthusiasts read and take note of all the goodies we are about to reveal 😊

We started at Monteriggioni, and we reached Asciano. The road is very scenic, and for us, it was like going to the Lunapark. Just wonderful. We didn’t know which way to look. The Val d’Orcia leaves you breathless.

1st stage – Agriturismo Santa Lucia / Capanne.

It is one of the first agritourism that can be seen coming from the state road. Fills the landscape with its cypresses in single file.

2nd stage – Castello di Leonina Relais

Castle of Leonina – Asciano. We entered the dirt road following the indication, we walked along the way among the cypress trees and arrived at a beautiful agriturismo with a splendid restaurant with a view.

After the splendid Castle of Leonina, we return to the main road and find a beautiful panoramic point from where we can see the whole valley at 360 °.

3rd stage – Agriturismo Baccoleno | Asciano

We continue our photographic journey and arrive at Agriturismo Baccoleno, one of the most evocative and photographed places in the entire Val d’Orcia. It is not rare to find this property on the covers of travel guides.

4th stage – The cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia

The most famous photo probably. The Val d’Orcia is also renowned for its numerous cypress trees. There are everywhere, but surely these are the best known. They are located in S. Quirico d’Orcia and are visible from the main road.

5th stage – Chapel of the Madonna of Vitaleta

Another protagonist of our photographic itinerary is this beautiful private chapel of late-Renaissance origin. It is located in the municipality of S. Quirico d’Orcia and attracts tourists from all over the world. To get there, you have to park about 650 meters from the chapel and take a dirt road.

6th stage – Poggio Covili – Castiglion d’Orcia

Let’s get back to the car and take a few kilometers to photograph another imposing structure: Poggio Covili. Beautiful view of the cypresses when you arrive. The road is closed, so it is not possible to continue towards the structure, but the location is so beautiful that we can do without it.

7th Stage – Poggio Manzuoli

It is not an accommodation facility; this is a private farm and cannot be visited. We didn’t find it on google map, but we were lucky. We found it just ahead at Poggio Covili. The gate is majestically large, and it is impossible to visit it inside. Here they shot some scenes from the famous Ridley Scott movie “The Gladiator.”

8th stage – Bagni di San Filippo

Another prominent location in the Val d’Orcia. The village is tiny, and it is famous above all for the natural thermal waters that have created white sculptures within a luxuriant and wildwood.

Useful tips

If you intend to visit the Val d’Orcia in summer, we recommend bringing fresh water with you. The heat can be unbearable in this area. The second piece of advice is to tackle this itinerary with closed, comfortable shoes, like sneakers.

Trekking shoes are not necessary, but we do not recommend slippers and flip-flops. You may need to cross dirt roads.

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