In the heart of the Val d’Orcia, at the center of the Unesco World Heritage landscape. San Quirico d’Orcia with its 42 square kilometers is a container of beauty, thanks to its historic center and its countryside, which contains the main icons of the world’s most famous landscape.
The Cypress trees at the gates of San Quirico, the symbol of Tuscany; Poggio Belvedere and the “house” of the Gladiator, and the Chapel of Vitaleta; splendid original sections of the Via Francigena. And then the jewel of Bagno Vignoni and the castle of Vignoni, leading to the medieval center of San Quirico, which has seen history pass by over the centuries. The Collegiate Church and the Horti Leonini, Palazzo Chigi and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the picturesque streets and the medieval walls that have protected the city for a thousand years.
San Quirico is of Etruscan origin, it is mentioned in the centuries of history about a dispute that arose in 712 between the diocese of Siena and Arezzo, finally resolved in 1220 by Pope Honorius III, who with a Bull awarded the Pieve to Bishop Martino of Arezzo.
From the 11th century onward, the name of San Quirico is increasingly encountered on documents testifying to its growing importance in the early Middle Ages because of its special geographical location and especially because of the influence exerted by the Via Francigena, which passed through it.
In 1155 Frederick I Barbarossa camped there to negotiate with Pope Adrian IV’s ambassadors about his coronation as emperor. From 1167 it was the seat of the Imperial Vicariate, and in 1205 the Rectors of the component towns of the Tuscan League held their first Diet there to decide the fate of Montepulciano; then, in 1228 it was the Royal Court of Frederick II.
A border locality between the Sienese Republic and the Papal territories, it was for a long time a place of passage for armies, emperors, popes and illustrious men. It later suffered the fate of all castles linked to the Sienese Republic: after suffering invasions, looting and destruction by various armies in 1559 it took an oath of allegiance to Cosimo I de’ Medici, loyal to the end to the Republic of Siena.
In 1667 Cardinal Flavio Chigi, appointed marquis of San Quirico, had it as a feud from Grand Duke Cosimo III dei Medici. Its territory represents the heart of the Val d’Orcia, a cultural landscape recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
San Quirico is one of the most remarkable examples of medieval town planning in the Sienese area. Rich is its artistic heritage that is developed along the ancient route of the Via Francigena, which runs through the historic center cutting it in two.