10 things to see do taste and buy in San Quirico d’Orcia, the most glamorous, most photographed and most refined small city of art in Tuscany
San Quirico d’Orcia is one of the most beautiful cities of art in Italy (30 km from Fattoria del Colle). This resembles an open air lounge thanks to the beauty of its monuments and the century old history that blend in with the glamour of International VIP visitors who want to own a house here: the last of which is Jennifer Lopez who has been looking for a villa for her holidays.
The village centre dates back to before the year one thousand, along the Via Francigena – from Canterbury to Rome- when this route substituted the Roman Cassia route as it became impracticable because of the Valdichiana bogs. The passage of sovereigns such as Federico Barbarossa, pilgrims, merchants and whole armies. This meant making the fortune of the villages every 20 km along the route. In fact this was just the right distance for those on foot or who had to change horses.
WHAT TO SEE
1) PALAZZO CHIGI: built in the 17th century by a family of Sienese-Roman bankers, to accommodate their relative Pope Alessandro VII who in fact never lived there. Inside the hall have frescoes with mythological subjects. Be careful in entering the decorated rooms, you might enter the Mayor’s office.
2) HORTI LEONINI:a splendid example of Italian style garden created by Diomede Leoni at the end of the 16th century.
3) COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF SAINT QUIRICO AND GIULITTA: built on a parish from the 8th century. Magnificent portals from the end of the 13th century. Inside there are some inlays by Antonio Barilli coming from the Cathedral in Siena. The Altarpiece by Sano Di Pietro and the tomb of Enrico di Nassau who died here in 1451.
4) VIA FRANCIGENA: that runs the whole village with the name of Via Dante. Take note of the houses, towers and palaces on both sides of the road. Near the end, facing south, to the left is the “Spedale” built by the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala in Siena to welcome pilgrims.
5) CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA: dating back to the 11th century in Romanesque style.