San Quirico d'Orcia is a peaceful walled town in the heart of the scenic Val d'Orcia in Tuscany, between Montalcino and Pienza.
Pilgrims from all over Europe traveled through San Quirico d'Orcia using the Via Francigena. The track from Ponte d'Arbia to San Quirico is one of the highlight of the Via Francigena. The scenic Val d'Orcia is unfolding quickly and beautifully, on the way several great photo opportunities.
The town is divided in half by the main street, Via Dante Alighieri. At No. 38 on Via Dante Alighieri, there is a gothic house where St Catherine of Siena was said to have resided during a stay in San Quirico. Further along the main street on the right, almost at the end of the town, is the small Romanesque church of Santa Maria Assunta (St Mary of the Assumption) or Santa Maria ad Hortos, since the church is surrounded by two gardens, the Giardini delle Rose and the Horti Leonini.
This small romanesque church, XI century, has one nave ending in an apse and a nice portal open on the left side. It is the only decorative feature be, and it is said to have been originally designed for the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo, whose monks had run out of money.
Behind the church, one finds the small Giardini delle Rose, a romantic rose garden. A beautiful old stone staircase leads to the Horti Leonini.
The landscape around San Quirico is extremely enchanting. For the best photo opportunity visit the Capella Vitaleta (only a few minutes from San Quirico, on the way to Pienza) and the bunch of cypress trees, east of San Quirico d’Orcia.