Pedal the Val d’Orcia to Experience the Essence of Tuscany
Tuscany is always a good idea. When your mind dreams of the Italian countryside—the stuff of Renaissance paintings and Puccini’s operas—the Val d’Orcia is where it’s wandering. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Val d’Orcia is the essence of Tuscany. One of the most intimate ways to experience it is from the saddle of a bike, when there’s nothing between you and the region’s sights and smells—or between you and that gorgeous Tuscan sun.
The Val d’Orcia begins south of the provincial capital Siena and continues to the volcanic landmark, Monte Amiata. Its rolling, cyprus-tree-studded hills are best suited to touring bikes so you can access the many miles of unpaved backroads and trails. This network triangulates within the villages of Pienza (a 15th-century urban-planning experiment from the mind of Pope Pius II), Radicofani (once the stronghold of the 13th-century gentleman bandit, Ghino di Tacco) and Montalcino (the appellation of the famed Italian varietal, Brunello di Montalcino).
Here you may taste Sangiovese and Trebbiano wines, nibble on pecorino cheese, and lose yourself in a land where you can practically hear an angelic soprano singing Puccini with every pedal stroke.
If you’re looking to experience Tuscany as authentically as possible, choosing the right accommodations is essential. Inspirato has a few options for your next stay. First, there’s Monticelli, a six-bedroom farmhouse tucked away in the rolling Tuscan hills. Next, there’s Villa San Bartolomeo, a historic Italian villa that sleeps 12 guests and boasts much of its original charm. Finally, there’s Villa Azzurri, another restored farmhouse on an Italian hillside.
It’s time to add pedaling the Val d’Orcia to your bucket list. Tuscany is notoriously one of the most beautiful places in the world, and there’s no better way to experience it than on the back of a bicycle riding the winding gravel roads.