Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 29, 2019

Sensational San Quirico

We have driven past San Quirico d’Orcia many times on our way to Pienza, but have never stopped there. We went for one of our favourite drives through the rolling hills of Tuscany recently and decided to visit San Quirico for a change.

The Val d’Orcia is considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in the world and was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004, the first rural site to receive this recognition. San Quirico is one of 12 towns in the area.

The town has Etruscan origins but its earliest written records date form 712AD. From the 11th century it grew in importance partly because of its situation on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim road to Rome. It has some of the most noteworthy examples of Medieval architecture in the province of Siena.

As well as all of that, it is gorgeous! We can’t believe we have bypassed it for so long.

Driving towards San Quirico….I was a passenger.

We found a car park below the town and wandered up, completely entranced by this lovely town.

We first came upon a tiny Romanesque church, Santa Maria Assunta, with a lovely rose garden behind it. The church is mentioned in records from 1014. Its current incarnation dates from the 12th century. The gabled bell tower and vestry are original.

The portal is embellished with decorations that may originate from another church, the Abbazia di San Antonio.

I was most taken with the decoration inside.

The rose garden behind the church is quite new. The roses were not in bloom for our visit.

The rose garden leads to the  Horti Leonini, gardens created around 1575 by Diomede Leoni during work to restore the village walls damaged in the war between Florence and Siena. It is a late Renaissance garden independent from any house, created for travellers, especially the nobility…a lovely place to rest on pilgrim walks.

The sculpture in the lower garden is of Cosimo III dei Medici by Giuseppe Mazzuoli from Siena, commissioned in 1688.

The town was bustling the day we were there, despite the patchy weather. It was a busy spring day and the many shops were open and full of people. There are several very good wine shops, the area is known for its excellent wine, including Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montalcino.

Pecorino cheese and olive oil are also produced in the area and there are several places to try and buy these.

In the main square is the church dedicated to San Francesco.

The most interesting church is Santi Quirico and Giulitta, a magnificent example of Romanesque style. It is mentioned in the 8th century but its current architectural appearance dates from the 13th and 14th century.

It has 3 doorways, or portals. I will begin with the plain one.

The one beside it has 2 double lancet windows and a portal in the Lombard style, surmounted by a triangular vestibule resting on 2 caryatids supported by 2 lions, dating from possibly the second half of the 13th century.

The front of the church has decorative arches and a Gothic style Rose Window. The 12th century portal’s vestibule is supported by columns resting on 2 lionesses. The architrave is decorated with a carved bass relief with 2 fighting monsters.

I would like the candle holder hanging beside the church.

We wandered off the main streets and found some quiet corners.

We came to what appeared to be part of the old walls surrounding the town, and the lovely entrance, Porta a Cappuccini, dating from the 15th century.

Many of the restaurants along the main street were full so we wandered up a couple of side streets before we found Trattoria Toscana…lucky us! The food was delicious and the setting lovely.

San Quirico d’Orcia will become a regular destination for us.

 


Responses

  1. We have also driven past San Quirico, but it is definitely worth a visit. Thank you for sharing.

    • It is lovely! We will return.

  2. What a beautiful find! You are so lucky to be able to explore so many gorgeous villages.

    • We love being able to explore. Finding new places is fun.

  3. Isn’t it funny how we can bypass towns only to find out how charming they are when we finally visit. Trattoria Toscana looks like a find to, was that one dish like a stuffed pasta purse…it looks good.

    • That dish was fagottini di pasta crepes con carciofi e ricotta su pappa al pomodoro maremmana…it was delicious!

  4. Another beautiful find. 🙂

  5. You are so right, have been past but not visited.
    Will definitely remedy that
    Great post and photos

    • It is a lovely town…we will return.

  6. I look forward to your posts and the incredible places you visit. Thanks so much.

    • Thank you! I like to visit these lovely places and share them.

  7. Beautiful. These photos really make me miss Europe so much.

  8. What a beautiful town. And your picture of Cosimo III through the trees is lovely!

  9. […] year we explored San Quirico d’Orcia for the first time and found it […]

  10. […] I think it is time for a longer stay, maybe in nearby San Quirico d’Orcia as well. Sensational San Quirico […]


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