San Quirico d’Orcia is one of the best-preserved historic centres in the valley. The defense walls enclose valuable monuments, like medieval houses, Porta dei Cappuccini, Palazzo Chigi, Palazzo Pretorio, Horti Leonini and Collegiate Church, the last of which is the town’s most precious gem and conserves superb portals with Romanesque sculptures and low-reliefs by the great sculptor Giovanni Pisano.
The surrounding countryside is marked by clayey, rolling hills and the horizon opens towards rows of cypress trees, small farms, vineyards, olive groves and cultivated fields. Take a walk through this splendid water painting, crafted by man and nature. From the Collegiate Church of Santi Quirico e Giulitta, take the road to Riguardo; after a staircase, go under an overpass, where the trail will become a typical white road as it continues into the rural landscape.
At a crossroads, near an abandoned farmhouse, keep to the right; the main route will come to a wood and you’ll take the road to the left as it descends downhill. Once you’ve come out the other side of the wood, there will be a small pond on the right, after which you’ll come to a road on the right that leads to some farm buildings.
The next stop is one of the most photographed spots in the whole Val d’Orcia: the colours of the Sienese landscape come perfectly presented in a sort of natural Pinacoteca, where the harmony of the various tones and the plays of light on the hills can be discovered with every change in perspective. Continue past a circle of cypress trees, eventually reaching the town of “I Triboli” on a small hill that dominates a stretch of the via Cassia to the south, where you can photograph the posing “San Quirico d’Orcia cypresses”. This is one of the most reproduced images in the world.
Thanks to an underpass, you can move beyond the Cassia and continue toward the town of Bellaria: the dirt road merges with provincial road n. 71, which you’ll abandon immediately as you turn to the right around the houses in the hamlet. To return to San Quirico d’Orcia, head south-east until you reach provincial road n. 14.