San Quirico d’Orcia in Tuscany, Italy, is a peaceful little town perfect for a relaxing stroll and a peek at the portals of the beautiful Romanesque Collegiata church. It is located in one of the most enchanting parts of Tuscany, the idyllic Val d’Orcia famous for its picture-perfect views.
In Medieval times, San Quirico d’Orcia occupied an important strategic position along the Via Francigena, with pilgrims, merchants and emperors passing through in droves. It was here that in 1154 the Emperor Federico Barbarossa encamped and met the pope’s emissaries to discuss his coronation.
Its main street, Via Dante Alighieri, is the heart of the town. At one end stands the Collegiata and at the other the Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its fantastical Medieval bestiary adorning the portal.
Next to the Collegiata you’ll find Palazzo Chigi. This houses the town’s tourist office and those who go for information often linger for a look at the fine 17th century frescoes. Further along Dante Alighieri is the main square and the entrance to the Renaissance gardens Horti Leonini. With its air of faded glory, the garden still impresses with its geometric box-hedging and ruined tower.
What to see and do in San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany Italy
Collegiata dei Santi Quirico e Giuditta (Piazza Chigi) – A Romanesque Dedicated to a 3rd-century child martyr Quiricus, who is depited in the altar. Walk around the honey coloured exterior and marvel at the fancies of 12th century medieval stone carvers.By Vignaccia76 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Saria Maria Assunta Church – A pretty 11th century church at the other end of Via Dante, where romanesque beasts stare out at you from its limestone portals.
A walk in the Horti Leonini – Reinassance gardens that feature geometric box hedges and a crumbling stone tower.Di Sergio de Ferra – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 3.0, Collegamento
Festa di Barbarossa – A colourful festival that honours Fredrick I who stopped in San Quirico on the way to his coronation in 1155. Beautiful costumes and period archery tournaments. It happens every year, in June.
Porta del morto (Via Dante Alighieri). Looking directly at the B&B Casa Lemmi find a perfect example of a Medieval “Porta del morto” or Door of the Dead.
For more trip ideas, check out our article about our favourite charming small towns in Tuscany.
How to get to San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany Italy
San Quirico d’Orcia is 45 kms. south of Siena. From Siena, take the SR2 that leads into the heart of the Val d’Orcia. You can combine a visit to San Quirico with a trip to Montalcino and Pienza, two of the highlight of this area.
For the perfect day in the Val d’Orcia, check out our detailed driving itinerary.
If you’re travelling by public transport, bear in mind that there’s no train service – the nearest train station is in Buonconvento on the Siena-Grosseto line. You can easily reach San Quirico from Siena with the TIEMME bus.