Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 1, 2018

Castiglione d’Orcia

Castiglione d’Orcia is a medieval hilltop town in the Val d’Orcia 40 kilometres south east of Siena. It is first mentioned as a settlement in 714 when it was a possession of the Aldobrandeschi family.

In 1252 the town became a free comune, but lost its independence in the following century to the Republic of Siena and was under the control of the powerful Piccolomini and Salimbeni families. Later it became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and from 1861 part of unified Italy.

It boasts a stunning castle, the 13th century Rocco Tentennano, which was the centre of the struggle between the Salimbeni and the Republic of Siena. It is the first thing you notice as you approach Castiglione d’Orcia.

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglione d'Orcia

There were few people about the day we wandered through the medieval streets. The town is well preserved, but there were few signs of life. The ruins of another castle are above the town.

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglione d'Orcia

 

Castiglione d'Orcia

There are some lovely views of the valley below.

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglione d'Orcia

The Piazza il Vecchiata seems to be the heart of the town.

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglione d'Orcia

In the newer part of town were a few shops and an impressive fountain.

We were delighted to find a Trattoria open. Il Cassero is in Piazza Cesare Battista. The terrace was not open, but is was cosy inside on a cool spring day.

Castiglione d'Orcia

The owner was keen to chat and told us that very few people now live in the old town, but it comes alive in the summer when home owners return for a few weeks. The houses are full and the streets busy with residents and tourists.

We had a delicious lunch of handmade pici and strips of pork in sambuca.

Here is a last look at the castle as we left the town.

It is certainly worth calling into Castiglione d’Orcia for a short visit. You can climb up to the castle and I hope the Trattoria is open for you.

 


Responses

  1. Sounds lovely. We hope to travel there this year so will check it out πŸ˜€

  2. Lovely town. Let’s hope that, at least, people will keep on coming back during the summer months as this is what keeps those towns alive.

    • It is a bit sad to see these towns so empty.

  3. Looks lovely.We are in our little flat in Bagni at the moment .The weather has been very wet but today (Easter Sunday) has been beautiful .We go back to Glasgow on Wednesday but will return on the 9th -22 May so hopefully it will be drier and warmer as we have a lovely little garden to sit in and enjoy .

    • The weather has been awful lately. I hope spring is truly on the way now, enough with the rain. Where in Bagni di Lucca are you?

      • We are in La Villa

      • We are in Ponte a Serraglio. Perhaps we will see you at the new Bar Italia one day.

      • Hi Debra,we are clients of Gina in the office below your apartment.My husband Sergio’s mother came from Corsena so we know Bagni quite well.We bought our little studio flat 5yrs ago .We love it here .
        We just came for a week this time but will return on the 9th May for 2 weeks and then hopefully back Aug/Sep for 3 weeks .
        Hope to get down to Bar Italia in May.

      • We love it here too. I spend 6 months a year here. See you in May.

  4. Had you waited a week, yoy could have mooched lunch off is in Pienza! We return to Italy Friday. Non vediamo l’ ora di ritornarein Italia!

    • We are here until June. We may be back down that way.

  5. I recently told a friend that medieval towns of Italy touch my soul.

    • This one was very pretty.

  6. The owner of the trattoria must have a very quiet life when it is not tourist season. It does looked very closed up but lovely all the same. Louise

    • We were his only customers. There must be a way to extend the season beyond July and August.

  7. Pleased to hear that these villages survive on the summer months. Italy has so many of them!

    • We found a few that may not survive. There will be more on that.

  8. Wow! What an amazing Tuscan find… πŸ™‚

    • It is a lovely little town.

  9. Love that area – on our list – thank you Deb for a great post

    • It is a beautiful area.

  10. We stumbled upon this trattoria ten years ago. The town was pretty much deserted but it was open. I have a photo of myself with the chef.

    • It was fun to talk to him. It was a great lunch.

  11. We love exploring these medieval villages, even if they are mostly deserted. Such a shame, as they are so atmospheric and with lovely views. The buildings are so attractive often too. They need more travellers to buy them as holiday homes!

    • We like exploring too. Some villages are more attractive than others. They won’t all survive. They need a reason to attract residents and travellers. They also need people with ideas and the motivation to do something to attract visitors.


Leave a Reply

Categories

%d bloggers like this: