San Quirico d’Orcia is a peaceful Medieval small town in the heart of the scenic Val d’Orcia in Tuscany, Italy. The artistic highlight of the town is the honey-coloured Romanesque Collegiata, famous for its beautifully carved portals.

San Quirico, 45 kms. south of Siena in Tuscany may seem a little off the beaten path now, but in Medieval time it was an important stop along the Via Francigena. So important the Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric mentioned it in his diary as he passed through on his way to Rome in 990AD.

The religious site that Sigeric would have seen at that time, dedicated to the child-martyr Saint Quiricus, was completely rebuilt in the 12th century. And after many successive renovations, it became the Collegiata dei Santi Quirico e Giuditta that we know today. A beautiful edifice built in sandstone and travertine, with plenty of fascinating details. Take your time to explore the exterior of the church.

via francigena

San Quirico d’Orcia, the Collegiata

Collegiata Church San Quirico d’Orcia – Romanesque beauty

The oldest portal, with its interlacing columns and scaly dragons battling above the doorway, is the finest example of Romanesque art in the area.

A walk around the church reveals lots of delightful surprises. From peaceful sirens, to a grinning figure on the south wall that seems to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Collegiata san quirico d'orcia

Collegiata San Quirico d’Orcia, details

But it’s the weathered lions which guard the doors that draw most attention. Symbolising goodness and justice, the lions are also a representation of Christ himself. According to medieval bestiaries, the cubs are born dead and brought to life on the third day by the roars of their father – just as Jesus was woken by God after three days in the tomb.

Collegiata San Quirico d'Orcia

Collegiata, San Quirico d’Orcia

The bell tower is the most recent part, rebuilt in 1806, while most of the interior decorations dates back to the 17th century.

Check out our Val d’Orcia itinerary that include San Quirico d’Orcia, Pienza and the splendid surroundings. If you love the Romanesque style, you might also have a look at some of the best Romanesque churches in Tuscany.

collegiata san quirico d'orcia

Collegiata San Quirico e Giuditta – main portal (XII century)

Your friendly online guide to Florence and Tuscany. Get our insider travel tips delivered to your mailbox every month.

Explore more of Tuscany

  • There are many reasons to love Tuscany in Winter. Winter is when favourite destinations like Florence and Siena are at their best. When the cobbled streets of Medieval hilltop towns and hamlets are truly atmospheric....
  • We love a good legend. Especially when it involves a spectacular Medieval bridge. Centuries have passed but the Serchio valley, a few kilometres north of Lucca in Tuscany, still keeps alive a legend that’s behind its...
  • Storybook villages in Tuscany are not in short supply. Small towns in enchanting locations, full of turreted towers, romantic archways, secret passageways and plenty of magical atmosphere. Go there and you feel you’re walking around...
  • The first series of Medici Masters of Florence thrilled audiences with the dark secrets of the Medici dynasty. It mixed history with pure fantasy and threw in some famous actors for good measure.  Fans of...
  • The Medici family has shaped the city of Florence and made it into the splendid place we know today. But how exactly did Florence change under them, and where can you see their influence today? The...