Dreamscapes: the icons of the Val d’Orcia in the countryside of San Quirico

If we talk about Italian landscape, that of San Quirico d’Orcia, can be called to all intents and purposes, the most beautiful in the world.

A recognition that derives from the presence, on its territory of only 42 square kilometers, of most of the icons that have become in the last thirty years, the symbol of the Val d’Orcia and the symbol of Tuscany in the world.

But what are these icons, and more importantly, where are they located?

The first of the symbols is the cypress trees of San Quirico d’Orcia. The cypress crown protagonist and undisputed sign of the Tuscan landscape. It is located along the Cassia road (at km 189), at Podere Casaltina. In 2017, they were included in the List of Monumental Trees of Italy for their scenic value.

Cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia at sunset in winter

Another symbol of Tuscany is Belvedere, the classic farm on the Tuscan hillside. It is located just outside the town of San Quirico d’Orcia, on the right-hand side of Sp 146 (in the direction of Pienza). Since the 1990s, it has been a favorite destination for photographers and is one of the most sought-after landscape icons for advertisers as well.

Belvedere farm at Alba with mists in January

Not far away is the Chapel of Our Lady of Vitaleta. We are still in the countryside of San Quirico d’Orcia, along Sp 146 and reached by two dirt roads. The first is coming off the main road from San Quirico d’Orcia to Pienza. The second dirt track, is reached by exiting SR 2 Cassia (Km 181 and 400) and driving along the Casabianca municipal road for a few kilometers.

Chapel of Our Lady of Vitaleta summer sunrise

But San Quirico with its landscape are also the land of Oscar films. And, therefore, how can we not pause, as if on a movie set, in front of the house of The Gladiator, Ridley Scott’s five-time Academy Award-winning kolossal.

Podere Poggio Manzuoli in the summer lights of sunset

The home of Maximus Decimus Meridius is the Poggio Manzuoli farm on the left side of Sp 146. One stands in front of a gate, through which one can see and photograph the tree-lined avenue made famous in the film.

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