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Val d'Orcia


Val d'Orcia

(78Km 1h 15min) The valley is an important natural, and cultural heritage (UNESCO) for the excellent state of preservation of the landscape. The most important towns are San Quirico and Castiglione.

The Val d'Orcia is a wide valley located in Tuscany, in the province of Siena and in part within that of Grosseto, in the north and east of Mount Amiata and near the border with Umbria. Crossed by the river Orcia, the center, which gives it its name, is characterized by pleasant landscaped panoramas and a number of medieval villages, two of which are well known as Pienza and Montalcino. Characteristic tree cypress, food and wines Pici, the Cinta Senese, Pecorino di Pienza, Brunello di Montalcino and the new name of the Orcia DOC wine.

The municipalities that are part of the Val d'Orcia Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani, and San Quirico d'Orcia. Other important towns are Contignano, Montichiello, Bagno Vignoni, Rocca d'Orcia, Campiglia d'Orcia, Bagni San Filippo, Vivo d'Orcia. They are located in the Val d'Orcia also some places in the province of Grosseto as Montenero d'Orcia and Montegiovi, surroundings of the town of Casteldelpiano. Many farms, houses and fortresses with steep towers are dispersed in the isolated and peaceful landscape.


The valley is also an important park, natural, artistic and cultural heritage, and from 2 July 2004, he was recognized World Heritage Site by UNESCO, for the excellent state of preservation of the landscape, as produced by an intelligent work of human , which has had a significant influence on many artists of the Renaissance. The committee thus justified the inclusion in the list:

  • "Criterion (iv): The Val d'Orcia is an exceptional example of the way the landscape was re-written in Renaissance times to reflect the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing;

  • Criterion (vi): The landscape of the Val d'Orcia was celebrated by painters from the Scuola Senese, which flourished during the Renaissance. Images of the Val d'Orcia, and particularly depictions of landscapes where people are depicted as living in harmony with nature, have become icons of the Renaissance and have profoundly influenced the development of landscape thinking in future years. »

The nature conservation area 

The protection of UNESCO adds protection as Italian Natural Protected Area of ​​Local Interest (ANPIL) "Val d'Orcia" since 1999, covering an area of ​​18,500 hectares. In part, including the ANPIL is also the site of regional interest, proposed as a Site of Community Importance (SCI), "Volcanic Cone of Mount Amiata" (code IT51A0017).

SIR "volcanic cone of Mount Amiata" 
The volcanic cone of Mount Amiata is characterized by a high mountain landscape with continuous forest matrix.

Volcanic cone of Mount Amiata
The main critical elements within the site are:

  • Silvicultural practices that cause a lowering of standards of naturalness.

  • Presence, to the peak of tourist facilities (especially skiing) and their development, giving rise to high loads tourist winter and summer, the human settlement and fragmentation of habitat, disturbance to wildlife, water pollution, the spread of plants belonging to different species or non-local ecotypes, with the risk of genetic pollution, and the onset of erosion.

The main critical factors external to the site are:

  • Towns and populated areas to the limits of the site.

The main conservation objectives are to be taken:

  • Conservation of forest matrix and increase the ecological characterization and maturity of the teams woodlands (E).

  • Anthropization control, minimizing any possible further increases in tourist facilities and roads (M).

  • Protection and rational management of very little open areas, which constitute the habitat of several endemic or threatened species (M).

Guidelines for the conservation measures:

  • Coordination of forest planning, the entire site, and its adaptation to the objectives of conservation, so as to ensure the maintenance of forest trees and chestnut woods, the increase of the maturity of the forests in the stations most suitable and protection phases of mature and senescent, safeguarding the trees large and rotting (E).

  • Control infrastructure and the impact caused by the activities and tourist resorts, in general, with respect to any proposed development and the environmental restoration (choice of species and ecotypes to use, works of grassing of the slopes and escarpments, etc.. ) (E).

  • Management measures or regulations to ensure the conservation and proper management of very little open areas (M).


The type of environment prevailing on the volcanic cone of Mount Amiata is the presence of fitocenotiche very representative types (forests and chestnut coppices), and peculiar (beech mesotrofiche ipsofile) for isolation and ecological topography of the volcano. Discreet, at times very good, the state of preservation. Other types are the relevant environmental grasslands secondary.


The bird, little known, includes some rare and endangered species related to the few open areas, as well as various species of birds of prey. Present the harrier (Circaetus gallicus), probabibilmente with more nesting pairs.
To signal the presence of the predator Felis silvestris silvestris and among the amphibians, Triturus carnifex, Italian endemism. Invertebrates are also rare, localized and endemic.
Among the reptiles: the four-lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata) and Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni).


Major emergencies in the plant communities: Beech altitude of Monte Amiata (Monotropo-Fagetum sylvaticae (Arrigoni et Nardi) Ubaldi). Among the plant species: the bivonea Savi Jonopsidium savianum, rare species present at some stations in Tuscany hills subcoastal Livorno and a station at the foot of M. Amiata, the elleborine of Persia (Epipactis persica subsp. Pontica), very rare entity in Italy, famous in Tuscany for two localities of Monte Amiata.


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