Holiday Villas and Small Hotels in Tuscany

San Quirico D’Orcia

Today, although it was a very overcast day, I ventured to visit San Quirico D’Orcia. Thunder and raining cats and dogs (which was not really the case…) I was determined not to miss any of the treasures that there are in Val D’Orcia.

 San Quirico D’Orcia is a tiny, very old city and filled with history. As usual around here it is of Etruscan origin and during the Middle Ages it was a fortified city and still retains some of its walled enclosure.

 In this ancient town, just off the Via Cassia and the Via Francigena connection, lies the passage that was for the European pilgrims journey to Rome. It has been a crucial point for historical events, I will tell you of one significant event; in the twelfth century, Frederick I “Barbarossa” was headed with his army to Rome to be crowned Emperor. They stopped in San Quirico D’Orcia (formerly called San Quirico di Orsenna) and the then Pope Adrian IV, sent three cardinals to meet and to pay tribute and lavish him with adoration.

Can you imagine something of the sort today? For example, that a King of some European country would do the Tour of Santiago and go through the village of León where you would find three cardinals bowing? Sure, I think about these kinds of things as I drive with my wheels glued to the asphalt.

San Quirico D’Orcia, is well preserved and has several emblematic monuments: The Collegiate Church of San Quirico and Santa Giuditta. This building dates back from the XI century and was built in sandstone and travertine. It is a magnificent church and its interior is filled with works of art from all the different eras, from the Baroque choir, through a beautiful rococó Main Alter, to an impressive organ from the XVII century, which sounds heavenly. Here also features paintings of the Renaissance which display a triptych of the fifteenth century and the work of Sano di Pietro all of which is dedicated to San Quirico, the patron of the city, who was abused and killed by the Romans when he was 5 years old for declaring himself Christian.

Palazzo Chigi: A stately and grand palace from the seventeenth century created by the architect Carlo Fontana assigned by the Cardinal Flavio Chigi, the then governor of the city.

“Horti Leonini”: A very large park, arguably paradise, structured in the fashion Italian Garden, the perfect
design was entrusted to Dante Leoni in the sixteenth century. In the bottom of the park and behind one of the largest squares they erected an English style forest. Strolling through the park leads naturally to the ecstasy of reverie.

I ate very well in a simple restaurant in the centre of the city, just by Via Dante Alighieri, the Trattoria al Vecchio Forno. As it was drizzling, I sat in the beautiful indoor dining area, but I saw that they have a delicate garden where you can also dine and in which when it’s good weather I imagine should be delightful. This trattoria serves lots of wonderful roasted and grilled meat. I had a rocket salad and an extremely tasty dish of white and red grilled meats with chips and a couple of glasses of Ross di Montalcino, which as you know is my vice. The glasses of wine excluded, but the coffee included, it cost me less than 15 Euros. A good price considering the high quality of the food.

Was I happy to be in Val D’Orcia?
Ask the scale. Good thing I’m slenderly built…


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