Val d´Orcia
Val d´Orcia
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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

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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.   

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