After breakfast at the hotel we head out towards the village of an Quirico d’Orcia along the gravel paths of the Via Francigena; an ancient pilgrimage route. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful; every vista a perfect portait
The scotch bloom is a vibrant yellow, the smell seeet and fragrant. The red poppies dust the fields creating more color along with sprinkles of lavender and white roses everywhere. I slow down taking pictures trying to absorb every detail. The colors of the green fields of alfalfa, wheat, and hay against the browns and tans of the stone buildings.
Once we arrive in San Quirico we are left to explore or stop for an espresso, visiting this charming town before continuing on to Val d’Orcia, a World Heritage site. (see UNESCO for a list of all World Heritage Sites) Our route takes us on farm roads, past cypress trees and verdant land en route to a favorite agriturismo (working farm and country retreat); right up my alley! Such beautifully landscaped hills. Picture perfect spots everywhere.
The hike for those of us wanting to continue takes us across rolling hills to magical Pienza. This town was designed by the 15th century Florentine architect Bernardo Rossellino who was chosen by Pope Pius II to transform his birthplace into a hamlet that exemplified Renaissance ideals. The main square (piazza) showcases two of his masterpieces: Palazzo Piccolomini and a classically inspired duomo. (Italian cathedral)
We continue our hike to San Quirico to put our Tuscan cooking (and eating) skills to the test. At Ristorante degli Archi, the owner and master sommelier Lorenza puts on a full Tuscan spread from start to finish. Can you say Heaven! It all starts with an aperitivo but for me I want in on the action as cooking and Italian cooking are my passions so I grab a glass of vino and I join in on the cooking excitement. The food lingers on my palate with the wine and I know I will be re-creating these dishes for family and friends in the near future.
We continue our hike to Pienza stopping to take pictures of where the Gladiator movie was filmed, you can see the house with yhe cypress trees in the distance and we walk to the church where the wheat is rising. The small church is beautiful, standing on the top of a knoll. Then into Pienza for some shopping.
Dinner tonight is at Cisterna del Borgo where we indulge in so much food once again. This is our last night here. New friends, new memories and a new sense for more adventure
Hiking options: San Quirico Route: 3.2 miles; II Rigo Route: 5.2 miles; Pienza Route: 8.6 miles.
Love and Light,
Jeanine on the Scene