Increasingly mild temperatures and sunny days that are getting longer are the pleasant signs of the winter now behind us and the imminent return of the joys of life in the open air. These first tastes of spring invite you to plan weekends and escapes outside the cities to appreciate the wonder of nature that is blooming again. If you want to organize a three-day mini holiday and plan to enjoy Easter in a farmhouse in Tuscany, here are some ideas for visiting Val D'Orcia and Val Di Cornia among landscapes, cities of art and excellent wine.
Val D'Orcia in three days
For lovers of the countryside and small, ancient and silent villages, to be discovered in slow mode, Val D'Orcia is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating destinations.
Along a three-day itinerary it will be possible to switch off and leave the stress of everyday life behind to be conquered by the quiet of the landscapes that frame medieval towns such as Montepulciano, Montalcino and Pienza, without forgetting the iconic views of Siena: our first itinerary three-day Easter starts right here, from the city known throughout the world for the historic Palio.
Art, trekking and spas between Siena and Montepulciano
The ideal starting point for a short itinerary in Val D'Orcia is Siena with its small town and the historic center that revolves around the famous Piazza del Campo, where every year, in July and August, thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world gather to attend the Palio.
In the suggestive perimeter of the square, which describes a very particular shell shape, it is possible to admire the Fonte Gaia, the Palazzo comunale and the superb Torre del Mangia.
A walk up to Piazza del Duomo, which houses the beuatiful Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also gives the opportunity to visit the Monumental complex of Santa Maria alla Scala: the structure, built in the 12th century, has undergone various architectural stratifications that over time have enriched functionality and aesthetics. The complex, spread over seven levels, is today an important cultural container that hosts permanent exhibitions and collections.
For lovers of aristocratic residences there is the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of Palazzo Chigi Saracini which houses masterpieces by Botticelli, Sodoma, Sassetta, Beccafumi and Cassioli. The visits take place from Thursday to Saturday from 11.30 to 16.00.
Montepulciano is one of the essential stops for lovers of the Tuscan countryside and that enveloping intertwining of landscape, small towns and good wine.
Here, in the land of Vino Nobile, it is possible to visit the splendid medieval village which has its beating heart in Piazza Grande with the fourteenth-century Palazzo comunale, the Cathedral and the Torre di Pulcinella.
Montepulciano is also the ideal place for trekking fans who can plan an excursion to the lake here to visit the natural park that surrounds it and maybe engage in birdwatching.
To carve out a few hours, or perhaps a day, dedicated to relaxation and well-being, the town also offers a spa where you can experience healthy baths in the sulphurous salsobromoiodic waters.
A stop at Fattoria del Cerro
Moving along an itinerary in Val D'Orcia, it is worth planning a stop at Fattoria del Cerro, the historic wine producer in the locality of Acquaviva.
The estate offers the perfect solution to spend three days in a farmhouse for Easter: the elegant rooms with a view of the Relais Villa Grazianella, 11 in all, welcome guests in an intimate and refined atmosphere.
Furthermore, the formula of the estate will also conquer lovers of good food thanks to the chef of Villa Grazianella and his typical Tuscan dishes, to be tasted at dinner and, why not, to be tried directly in the kitchen during a cooking lesson.
During a stay at Fattoria del Cerro it is also possible to explore the vineyards of the estate riding an e-bike to get in touch with the intimate and rural dimension of the Tuscan territory.
Pienza, San Quirico D'Orcia and Montalcino
Another perfect stop for an Easter mini-tour is Pienza. The small village declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco is known to all as the "ideal city" of the Renaissance. To discover its preciousness and atmosphere, just take a quiet walk between Piazza San Pio II and the Palazzo Ducale and then reach the spectacular hanging garden of Palazzo Piccolomini which offers an unmissable view of the Val d'Orcia.
Those who love the quiet of small historic centers will fall in love with the village of San Quirico D'Orcia: the splendid medieval town along the Via Francigena is a real condensation of suggestive places, including the Collegiata di San Quirico d'Orcia and Giuditta and the Horti Leonini, the gardens created by Diomede Leoni in 1540.
Before getting back to the next stop, by car or perhaps by motorbike, it is worth stopping to admire the iconic cypresses of San Quirico that dominate the hill and have become the symbol of the Tuscan landscape.
A short itinerary among the Tuscan villages cannot be separated from a stop in Montalcino, home of the prized Brunello, a town nestled in the Val D'Orcia Natural Park that Unesco has included in its list of World Heritage sites. Here, surrounded by the hills that in the summer are dressed in red and yellow flowers, it is possible to immerse yourself in the medieval atmospheres that has survived intact. To do this, after a quiet walk through the alleys that wind up to the historic center dominated by the Rocca, just reach the Abbey of Sant'Antimo: here, during the mass, you can listen to the Gregorian chants that the French monks still sing today.
Staying at Tenuta "La Poderina"
For those wishing to make Montalcino their base for touring the Val D'Orcia, one of the most comfortable and welcoming solutions coincides with the choice of a small apartment, perhaps surrounded by nature: this is what the Tenuta "La Poderina" offers, in Castelnuovo dell'Abate, in front of the abbey of Sant'Antimo, where you can dedicate yourself to many experiences, such as the opportunity to explore the vineyards during an off-road ride.
This charming place is perfect as a base for a long weekend thanks to the two apartments that the estate offers to guests.
The two apartments, designed to guarantee guests maximum privacy and autonomy, are developed over an area of 50 square meters and offer a suggestive view over the vineyards. The two structures have also a fully equipped kitchen, TV and wifi and offer the opportunity to spend the days of vacation even in the company of your four-legged friends.
Relax on the beach in Val di Cornia
Every self-respecting holiday brings with it the desire to concentrate many different experiences, even in a few days. From this point of view, Tuscany is perfect: with its history, art, and different landscapes, it is the perfect destination for those who want to relax in the countryside to combine a few hours by the sea.
The right combination for this type of route is that offered by Val Di Cornia, a land of mineral deposits, halfway between Livorno and Grosseto, on the border between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Metalliferous Hills: here along the coasts of the Etruscan Coast, at the point where the landscape meets important archaeological traces, Tuscany shows its wildest face offering the opportunity for a regenerating spring break and, temperatures permitting, also to enjoy a taste of summer to be caught on the fly.
Let's find out together the main stages of our second three-day itinerary between history and relaxation on the beach
The Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro and Campiglia Marittima
Spread over an area of 450 hectares, the San Silvestro Archaeological Mines Park offers an immersive experience in the mining history of the area: between mining tunnels and historical-naturalistic paths it is possible to visit the Museum of Archeology and Minerals, the Temperino Mine and the Museums of Mining Machines and Miners.
One of the most interesting aspects of the visit is a train route that leads from the Temperino Valley to the lifts of the Valle dei Lanzi: from here you can admire the splendid medieval fortress of San Silvestro.
Those who do not want to give up the pleasant sensation of the sand under their feet can take a stop in Campiglia Marittima: the small town of Etruscan origin divided between the hillside and the nearby sea is the ideal destination for a walk on the beach
To continue along an itinerary dedicated to the sea and relaxation, the Etruscan Coast offers wonderful beaches where you can let yourself be enveloped by the heady sea breeze: from the white beaches of Rosignano, to the Gulf of Baratti and the Lido of San Vincenzo, the coast is a spectacular succession of crystal clear waters and breathtaking views.
Do not miss Castiglioncello with its coves, a glimpse of the coast to discover by following the traces of the Macchiaioli who drew inspiration from this land, or savoring the magic of cinema: in the 70s the great Italian actors were at home here, from Paolo Panelli to Marcello Mastroianni to Alberto Sordi, whose villa in Punta Righini has become a museum (now open by appointment).
Spend the night at Tenuta di Monterufoli, in the heart of the natural park
To complete your journey between Val D'Orcia and Val Di Cornia, a stop at the Monterufoli estate is ideal. A few kilometers from the Etruscan Coast, the estate covers an area of one thousand hectares in the heart of the homonymous Natural Park. The ancient structure, historically linked to Count Ugolino della Gherardesca (character placed by Dante in the Divine Comedy) is immersed in the Mediterranean scrub and offers the opportunity to enrich your itinerary with a range of experiences in the heart of the natural park: starting from the estate it is possible to plan a walk to the lignite and magnesite mines or a visit by off-road vehicle to reach the chalcedony deposits.
Bicycle enthusiasts can also immerse themselves in nature by following a bike tour through the vineyards.
For those wishing to stay in Val Di Cornia for the whole weekend, the Monterufoli Estate also has three accommodation facilities designed to meet the tastes and needs of guests: there are the nine rooms of the Miniera and the six Tuscan-style apartments of the Scuderie and the Casa delle Guardie. All solutions are complete with air conditioning, satellite TV and internet connection.
Sport enthusiasts in Monterufoli will also have a swimming pool and a multipurpose sports field at their disposal, while those who appreciate the gastronomic specialties of the area can enjoy them in the restaurant of the estate.
On the wine roads
Whether you opt for Val D'Orcia, Val di Cornia, or a mixed itinerary, perhaps starting from Pienza and Montalcino and then moving to the Etruscan Coast and ending your journey in Val Di Cornia, the most authentic soul of Tuscany should be discovered in the cellar, tasting aromas and flavors of the territory in a good glass of wine.
Those who choose to stop at Fattoria del Cerro will have the opportunity to appreciate the precious Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: the winery of the estate, immersed in the vineyards of Prugnolo Gentile, is ready to open the doors of its production site during a guided tour with tasting in the cellar, an unmissable opportunity to appreciate the precious Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG which is produced here in the “Riserva DOCG", “Silineo" and “Antica Chiusina" versions.
Those who include a stop at "La Poderina" along their itinerary have the opportunity to discover how Brunello di Montalcino is born: here, in the cellar of the estate, enthusiasts of this special wine can observe all the production phases and taste it pairing with local cheeses and cold cuts.
Four wines are offered for tasting: the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, the "Poggio Abate Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG", the "Rosso di Montalcino DOC", and the "Moscadello di Montalcino DOC".
In the cellar it is also possible to book a Sangiovese tasting.
Along the wine roads between Val D'Orcia and Val Di Cornia you arrive at the Monterufoli Estate: those who decide to stop here can enjoy a tasting experience in the cellar to discover and appreciate the Vermentino di Toscana IGT and the Poggio Miniera Val di Cornia DOCG red.
If these two itineraries made you want to leave, you are only at the beginning: a little taste of Tuscany is always the starting point for a long journey to discover its thousand treasures, don't you think?