Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta in San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany

Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta in San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany

Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta

Between San Quirico d’Orcia and Pienza is the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta. It is an amazing territory, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta is a tall bright building surrounded by cypress trees.

How to get there

To visit the chapel by car you need to follow a dirt road until you reach a free parking place. From the parking place it is 10 minutes walking to the chapel. The chapel can also be reached by a hiking trail through the hills.

Spring 2020 | Val d’Orcia Tuscany

The surrounding landscape is really awesome. The rolling hills of the Val d’orcia offer an incredible sight. It is one of the most wonderful places in Tuscany!

Story

The chapel was built around 1550. The “Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta” used to be the home of the Madonna sculpture made by the artist Andrea della Robbia. The chapel was restored in 1884 and the statue was moved to the Church of San Francesco in San Quirico d’Orcia where it can be seen today.

Spring 2020 | Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta

San Quirico is a small and nice hill town in Tuscany.

San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany

Today

The chapel is locked, you cannot go inside. It is private property. The facade is decorated with stone from Rapolano and a small rose window.

The Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta is one of the most photographed locations of Tuscany. I have visited the Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta two times within the last months. Last spring, just after the lockdown and today September 20.

I am determined to visit the chapel again, perhaps accompanied by a good red wine in the neighboring fields.

September 2020 | il Convento Rosso di Montepulciano DOC

Visit Pienza in Val d’Orcia

Visit Pienza in Val d’Orcia

Visit Pienza

Last week I visited Pienza in the Val d’Orcia. Pienza is a tiny village situated 20 km from Montalcino and a few km from Montepulciano.

This period is a unique chance for me to visit places in Italy without lots of tourists. Italy has opened its borders to European tourists from early June but the Coronavirus still keeps tourists away. Some Italian visitors from other regions arrive in Tuscany but not (yet) people from other countries.

Few people were around in Pienza. Pienza is a popular place to travel. For many people Tuscany is a dream destination for its beauty, scenic landscape and historical villages. Tuscany is so special and unique. It’s not surprisingly that Val d’Orcia has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pienza is the most renowned village in Val d’Orcia. In 1996 UNESCO declared this town a World Heritage site.

History

Pienza was redesigned in the late 15th century by Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini). The original name of the village Pienza is Corsignano. Pope Pius was born here. He decided to change Corsignano into an ideal city to be called Pienza.

Today Pienza houses wonderful buildings like the Palazzo Piccolomini “Pope’s palace”, the Cathedral and town hall. These attractions are definitely worth a visit.

How do I get to Pienza

Pienza is located only 12 km away from Montepulciano. You can reach this village easily by car. There is free parking outside the historic centre. For example in the Via della Madonnina. Here you find enough parking space.

Parallel to this street is a wonderful walking path to the centre. The views over the landscape are stunning.

You can also take the bus from from Montepulciano to Pienza and vica versa. By bus it’s about 25 minutes travel time.

The town Pienza is as small town with a population around 2300. In the main street Corso Rossellino is a pretty strong smell of cheese. The Pecorino cheese of Pienza is one of the best and popular Tuscan cheese. Many tiny shops in Pienza sell this amazing Pecorino cheese.

You should taste it, it’s really yummy!

Cheese farm in Pienza

The Pecorino cheese is a soft or semi hard sheep cheese produced in Pienza. It is one of the most delicious Italian cheeses made from sheep milk (ewe’s milk).

Personally I know Fattoria Pianporcino in Pienza. This cheese farm produces different Pecorino types like Pecorino fresco, Pecorino semi-stagionato and pecorino fully stagionato.

The owner of Pianporcino is Giuseppe Bussu (on the right-hand side of the picture). 

This photo is from before the Coronavirus.

For a cheese tasting and visit reservations are recommended. Especially now with new measures and restrictions.

E-mail: info@fattoriapianporcino.it
Address: Podere Pianporcino 109, 53026 Pienza (SI)

Pienza is also called a “Slow Food” place for food and wine lovers. In the historic centre are many wine shops “enoteche” where you can taste the local wines (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino).

The restaurants offer traditional local dishes like Tuscan pasta “i pici”, antipasti and different types of cheeses.

Pienza is also a romantic destination with the two streets called Via dell”Amore and Via del Bacio.

Instead of taking your car to Pienza, you can also rent a (FAT) e-bike in Montepulciano to get to Pienza. There are amazing bike routes from Montepulciano to Pienza.

The trails are suitable for families, beginners and cycling enthusiasts. You can rent (FAT) e-bikes and mountainbikes at ByeBike and Urban Bikery in Montepulciano.

The trail types are mostly asphalt and dirt roads. You ride along the hills overlooking the amazing views of Val d’Orcia. Really recommended!