Finding oneself between mystery and spirituality
On the tracks of saints and hermits, discovering the places of spirituality where peace, meditation and beauty mix together.
Among the delicate curves that mark the incomparable skyline of Val d'Orcia you can find places that are spiritually attractive and that naturally invite you to slow down.
Churches, retreats and sanctuaries have been built for centuries behind stands of cypresses or hiding in the green woods, or they are on display in the wide squares and in the streets of the small towns, set like gems between one house and another.
Over the centuries Val d'Orcia has been a welcoming land that has met saints, hermits and pilgrims on their way along the Via Francigena, outstanding personalities whose presence has encouraged the building of religious places rich with stories and legends. You can find the traces of their passage in a wall plate that pays tribute to them, in the name of some locations or in the colours of a fresco; several stories are connected to the churches, others have come alive around towers and castles, others still are about caves and water springs.
Churches and museums are the spaces that more than others keep the spiritual memory of the place, but everywhere you can breathe the mysticism of the Val d'Orcia to be uncovered with its symbols and mysteries: strange and fantastic figures – dragons, mermaids and mythological creatures – look over from the bas-reliefs and paintings of the sanctuaries, abbeys and historical palaces, while outdoors you can find gardens called “esoteric”, where everything seems enchanted.
But the spirituality in Val d'Orcia is also found in its lush and varied nature, where healing waters spring up and you can breathe an atmosphere of intimate romance, as well as in its unconditional beauty that invites you to find your own rhythm to fully enjoy the experiences that this land has to offer and the stories that it can narrate.
In this tiny thermal centre, the Loggia along the great pool is entitled to Santa Caterina from Siena; inside is still possible to admire the chapel where the Saint used to pray, according to the tradition.
San Filippo's Grotto
The grotto has been carved inside a huge block of travertine rock, shaped as a vault. On the altar is placed a wooden bust representing San Filippo, as well as other devotional items.
Sant’Antimo Abbey is a Medieval gem, and one of the most wonderful Romanesque monuments, with elements that recall French and Lombard models.
Hermitage and "Buche del Beato" (Holes of the blessed)
A sacred place outside Pienza's historic centre, while in the woods outside the hamlet of Monticchiello there is a grotto where the blessed Benincasa lived.
Parish Church of Corsignano
The Parish Church of the Saints Vito and Modesto is also known as Parish Church of Corsignano, Pienza's ancient name. The church is a Romanesque sandstone building dated back to the 12th century.
Odoardo Luchini dedicated a garden to his wife Isabella: in here he created an "esoteric" path, a sort of open massonic temple. Some elements, like the trees, have been planted in group of three, a symbolic number.
Discover the stories, excellences and small secrets kept in villages and in the landscape of Val d'Orcia.
Discover Val d’Orcia
Explore the places and activities, find the ideas and inspiration to experience this World Heritage Site in your own way.