.. ..
Val d´Orcia
Val d´Orcia

This top gourmet itinerary that includes medieval abbeys, castles and takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes of Tuscany. It can be done by car or on a Vespa scooter, from Siena it crosses the Val d'Orcia and then towards the coast in the province of Grosetto.

It is one of the most beautiful autoroutes and avoids the busy roads in Chianti. At any rate, it gives you the chance to visit Montalcino and taste the famous Brunello wine. Below the article are our recommendations for restaurants and wine tasting.

Tip: Anyone who is somewhat familiar with the roads in central Italy will agree that a car is not always the most desirable means of transport. The narrow scenic roads meander uphill and downhill to the point of nausea especially for co-drivers and children on the back seat. But with a Vespa it's entirely different, slightly faster and more comfortable than a moped and not as noisy as a motorcycle. Below the article you will find some addresses where you can rent a Vespa for this trip in Florence and San Gimignano.

The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Siena, Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the Val d'Asso

Start off with a beautiful route beginning in Siena at the Piazza al Campo. After a visit to the Duomo for a bit of culture and the pastry shop Nannino (for some goodies on the go) you take the s.s.438 towards Asciano. With a nice quiet pace through Ponte Alto, Vascona and Pievina on a beautiful country road that provides many photo opportunities along the way.

From Asciano you travel through the Val d'Asso and then the stretch to Montefresco, which again is an exceptionally beautiful landscape. A small detour leads to Monte Oliveto Maggiore, an impressive Benedictine abbey whose monks are praying and meditating among the tourists who enjoy a meal on the terraces of the restaurants. A visit to the abbey is rarely mentioned in guidebooks because the road to it is nothing more than a paved dirt road, from what I remember of the last time I was there (unsuitable for an average car).

Bagno Vignoni in the Val dOrcia

From Pienza through the Val d'Orcia, Montalcino and the Monte Amiata

From Pienza, the road leads through the weirdly colored Valley of Orcia, where photographers and filmmakers can get their surreal fix. Or else, a salubrious bath in Bagno Vignoni is appealing; you don't often see a village square filled with water at a temperature of 52 degrees.

Via Monte Amiata, the highest mountain in Tuscany at 1738 meters, which is a volcano that has been dormant for the last 180.000 years, and Montalcino, a lovely village with a heroic history and no less appreciable vineyards that produce, among other things, the famous Brunello, it's time again to seek the coolness of an abbey. This time the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo which is said to have been founded by Charlemagne. You deserve a good glass of wine at the end of the day.

The Abbey of Sant' Antimo

Heading towards the Maremma

We then continue towards the coast. There are still some nice villages to visit and a fascinating landscape to see, but the National Park of the Maremma and its protected coast and beaches emerges ahead of us. Read more about Maremma and its sights in this article

The baths of Saturnia

Vespa rentals in Tuscany

Below you will find several addresses that the editors can recommend for Vespa rental in Tuscany. Make sure you meet the requirements to rent a Vespa. In general you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. A deposit is normal, sometimes it can be done by leaving your ID behind, but normally they ask for a credit card where they reserve an amount in case of damage to the scooter. The addresses I attach below are quite flexible and reliable. sometimes they give a discount if you book 60 days in advance.   

Vespa rentals in Tuscany

Vespa rental in Siena

Siena by Vespa
The cheapest from € 50, - per day for the starting model of 125 cc. For periods of 7 days or more the price is € 40,- per day. You can find more information on the website.

Vespa rental in Florence

Alinari
Euro 55 per day/ Euro 125 per weekend

Vespa rental in San Gimignano

Bruno Bellini
Euro 60 per day/ Euro 330 per week for a Vespa
Other makes from Euro 31 per day/ Euro 133 per week

Gourmet tips

  • Boccon Di Vino, Montalcino, nice country house with local specialties and a nice view from the terrace. Website www.boccondivinomontalcino.it Tel. +39 0577-848233
  • Taverna Vecchio Borgo, Massa Marittima, good food at a good price. Tel. +39 0566 902167
  • Enoteca e Locanda Franci in Montalcino, sophisticated place with good food and a great choice for Brunello on the wine list. www.locandafranci.com advance reservations recommended: Tel. 0577-848191 Price per person average: €35
  • Il Silene in Loc. Pescina (Seggiano) province of Grosseto, a beautiful restaurant with hotel accommodation. Highly recommended with local specialties prepared by star chef Roberto Rossi. Oil and vegetables are produced on the farm. Reservations are recommended. Website: www.ilsilene.it Tel. +39 0564-950805 Price per person average: € 80
  • Antica Fattoria del Grottaione in Montenero overlooking the Val d'Orcia. In a typical rustic style enjoy regional products and traditional recipes. Website www.antinafattoriadelgrottaione.it Tel. +39 0564-954020. Price per person average: € 30
  • Ristorante I Due Cippi a little further south, located near the Thermal Baths of Saturnia (province of Grosseto). This restaurant is known as one of the best grill restaurants, Here's your chance to order a Florentine steak. Website www.iduecippi.com Tel. +39 -601074. Price per person average: €50
  • Settimo Senso is located near Montalcino, the famous restaurant of Castello di Velona, a luxury resort with SPA. The tasting menu is sure to make you spend a couple of enjoyable hours and sample one or more of the wines produced on the estate. Reservations are recommended. Website www.castellodivelona.it Tel.+39 0577-8390025. Price per person on average: € 120

Wine tasting: it is possible here in such a variety of locations, we have a dedicated article written about it. Click here for more information on wine tasting in Tuscany.

Be sure to stop by La Dispensa Pian del Nocio in Pienza for Pecorino cheese and other specialties of the region. The fattoria of Frantoio Franci is also highly recommended for a Tuscan oil extra-virgin (IGP and organic) www.frantoiofranci.it.

Caseificio Il Fiorino is another cheese maker worth checking out, in Roccalbegna (Grosseto) www.caseificiofiorino.it. Beautiful (organic) doc and docg from this region can also be found Azienda Agricola Biologica Basile in Cinigiano (Grosseto) www.basilessa.it. A highly recommended baker in this area is Panificio Libero Conti which belongs to the Slow Food Presidia for its typical biscotti made from anise, flour and olive oil extra-virgin, in Roccalbegna (Grosseto).

If you like to discover craft beer from this region, a drive to Birrificio Amiata is not a bad idea. You'll find the tasting room in Arcidosso (Grosseto). www.birraamiata.it 

Two more addresses, one for more wine tasting from the region: Azienda Agricola Prato al Pozzo in Cinigiano (Grosseto) www.pratoalpozzo) and FungoAmiata where you can buy the most delicious funghi in oil www.fungoamiata.it in Castel del Piano (Grosseto).

Places to stay

Il Giglio

These are some of our favourite addresses along this route through southern Tuscany.

Albergo il Giglio is located in the centre of Montalcino, it has only 12 rooms with great views of the surrounding landscape. Average price : € 138 per night per room.

Locanda Franci in Montalcino (see above for description under restaurants). An antique drug store run as a  nice restaurant with some rooms to stay overnight.

Antico Casale di Scansano is a luxury agriturismo with SPA just outside the village of Scansano in the Maremma region. Average price € 150 per night per room

Borgo Tepolini, a small B&B where you will quickly feel at home. Located in the town of Castel del Piano (province of Grosseto). The rooms are very cozy with plenty of comfort and tasteful decorations. Average price € 70, - per night per room

Agriturismo La Parrina. A cozy agriturismo and wine estate near Talamone, a little further south. The estate has a beautiful organic farm, a chapel, a restaurant and luxury rooms, and self catering apartments. Average price € 90 per night per room. Only bookable by telephone.

Hotel Capo d´Uomo in Talamone, if you like views then this is the place you should be, a memory forever.

capo dhuomo