We wanted to see what an agriturismo holiday in Tuscany is like. This post will show you our farm stay in the beautiful setting of the UNESCO listed Val d’Orcia.
For a long time already, staying on a Tuscan farm had been in my thoughts. Then, one May, we took a week off and went ahead.
Flights to Italy, a rental car and a room in a Tuscan farmhouse. We went to Tuscany!
One of the many Tuscan farmhouses: Agriturismo Casalpiano
After investigating we found out that our dream place could be the valley of Val d’Orcia in Central Tuscany. South of Siena, surrounded by the hill towns of Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano.
See the map for the location of the valley:
Our Agriturismo Holiday in Tuscany: the Map
Tuscany and Argiturismo Casalpiano on the map
The agriturismo we stayed at is marked on the map, Agriturismo Casalpiano.
Zoom in the map to see what the landscape is like. Typical Tuscan landscape with rolling hills and hill villages. Briefly, Val d’Orcia is Italian countryside at its best.
There is a lot of nature beauty, and as distances within the valley are short, the region is easy to explore either by foot, bike or car.
Our Agriturismo in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany
An italian agriturismo
Booking an Agriturismo in Tuscany
Finding an agriturismo turned out to be a pretty tough job. I had a dream about what the farm should roughly look like.
There would have to be a pool and of course a big garden, and a good breakfast should be included. We came by car, but in addition we wanted to use bikes.
There were websites listing farmhouses so you could get in touch with the owners. Most of the best websites were made for Italian visitors only and not all shown agriturismos had an online booking option.
To book I had to contact the farm house owners in Italian. So far English is not really spoken in the Italian countryside.
Inner court of a Tuscan agriturismo
Agriturismo Casalpiano in Pienza
After many efforts I finally found my dream accommodation, the one you can see in this post. The one we chose was Agriturismo Casalpiano in Pienza.
The agriturismo is located in the valley, 6 km downhill from Pienza. In addition to Pienza there are other postcard-pretty hilltop villages nearby, such as Montepulciano, Montalcino and Monticchiello.
However, our point was not only to see hill towns but also to explore the famous Tuscan countryside as a whole – and to get to know the countryside you need to stay at an agriturismo.
Our agriturismo, Val d’Orcia and Pienza
We soon noticed we had made a good choice. Casalpiano turned out to be a living farm with wine and olive oil production. There was a lot of farm work being done at all times of the day.
La Famiglia Grande
The three generations living on the farm were all so kind and friendly. They were very curious about us who came from the far north. Discussions with them were a mixture of Italian, Spanish, English and hands. But, definitely there were no problems at all, we completely understood each other.
The whole famiglia grande was sitting in the breakfast room and waiting for us to come and they stayed there until we finished. As they only have two guest rooms there were practically no other guests around. Those we saw there were from another part of Italy and regular visitors to the farmhouse.
An Italian farmhouse, Val d’Orcia
Our room was in the little side building, ideally facing to the pool and the garden. Perfect!
Above you can see our Val d’Orcia agriturismo from the road and below is their hand-made road sign.
Road sign to our agriturismo
How did we find this place? I found it on an Italian website but noticed afterwards that it can also be booked on booking.com.
Day Trips from our Tuscan Agriturismo
Agriturismo holiday in Tuscany: living in a painting
On our Tuscan agriturismo holiday we never got get tired of the views. The farmhouse atmosphere with super rich Italian breakfasts and dinners was also just what we wanted.
But as we we also needed some physical activity we made short day trips to the Tuscan countryside around us, every day.
On the first day we decided to go and explore the vineyards north of our agriturismo. So we took a vineyard walk.
Val d’Orcia Vineyard Walk
Hiking in Val d’Orcia: a vineyard gate
We took the first small country road uphill north, and started walking. The road was beautiful, lined with poppies.
Tuscan poppy lined roads are even prettier than you would think. We walked past vineyard after another. We stopped and talked with wine growers and sometimes with their grandmothers who were curious about us.
Hiking along narrow Tuscan roads
In between there were meadows and steep hills up and down.
At some point, a big white dog started following us and we tried to chase him back home. After all he came with us all the way to Pienza, and was happy to stay there and have a nap on church stairs right on the market place.
That was a good walk, more than 15 km in all. After stopping so much we almost spent the whole day on the paths. At the end we had a late lunch in Pienza before walking the last 6 km downhill to our agriturismo.
Vineyards around Pienza, a good place to hike
Some more photos from our first day’s walk:
Clas hiking in Tuscan landscape
Tuscany is an ideal destination for this kind of short unplanned walks. It all looks just perfect in the spring and it must be as pretty in the autumn as well – when everything that’s green in these photos has turned brown and yellow.
For autumn photos from the same pretty valley, check out the post Italy by Train and Car: Rome, Florence and Tuscany
UNESCO listed heritage landscape of Val d’Orcia
Look at the bright green may landscape! The next day was a walking day as well:
Agriturismo Holiday in Tuscany: Walk to Monticchiello
Hiking in Tuscany
The next day was a bit colder and we only took a short walk, this time towards south. We walked to the nearby village of Monticchiello.
Montichiello is located on the top of the hill next to the farmhouse so we could see the town from our room window.
We took the winding country road south and after a 1,5 km easy walk uphill we were at the gate of Monticchiello.
Agriturismo Santa Maria, Val d’Orcia
On the way to Monticchiello is another farmhouse, Agriturismo Santa Maria, looking very much like the one we stayed at. They, too, had a nice hand made road sign.
Hard to choose from all this farmhouses!
A pretty agriturismo road sign
Monticchiello has a defence wall around it and many of the ancient lanes within the walls are super narrow. We walked up and down those lanes.
A narrow alley at Monticchiello, Tuscany
It was a sunny, sleepy day and there were not many locals around, and even less tourists. It was a quiet and peaceful mid-week day.
Monticchiello, Tuscany, in photos
As we are in Italy, you could tell from the wash hanging everywhere that it had been a laundry day.
Italian laundry day
After we had seen enough of Monticchiello it was time to head back to our agriturismo. So we left Monticchiello through this narrow town gate.
Green landscape of Val d’Orcia
Now we had been walking two days, what about taking the car the next day?
Agriturismo Holiday in Tuscany: Drive to Pienza
Driving on Tuscan roads
The next day was a driving day with our rental Fiat and we went to three nearby hill towns: Montepulciano, Montalcino and Pienza. All of them are like from a fairy tale. First Pienza:
The hilltop town of Pienza
Pienza was the place where we mainly went for dinner so this was not the only time in the hilltop town. We also had some fantastic Italian dinners in various Pienza trattorias.
In Pienza you can spend long whiles just observing all small details. l especially liked tile roofs:.
Tiled roofs of Pienza
We went to see the Pienza market place where we had left the white dog two days ago. No chance to find him anymore, probably he had gone back to his vineyard home.
Agriturismo holiday in Tuscany: walking in Pienza
Below some typical Pienza townhouses and lower down Tuscan scenery seen from Pienza city walls.
Typical homes of Pienza, Val d’Orcia
The UNESCO listed Val d’Orcia
The next day was a biking day.
Bike Trip to Bagno Vignoni
Biking in Tuscany
Our agriturismo had bikes that the guests could use, and the next day we took two of them to make a loop trip to the former Roman spa town of Bagno Vignoni.
Bagno Vignoni was about 15 km one way from where we stayed. It was partly small gravel roads and partly busy main roads like the Siena to Rome road. Biking is a great way to see Tuscany, but try to avoid main roads if you can, biking between trucks and buses was not fun. But Bagno Vignoni was a nice experience.
The Roman spa town of Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni is a small medieval spa village with a big stone pool on the piazza.
It’s a hot stone pool and has been used for healing treatmens for centuries. The water is sulphurous and comes from an underground volcano.
It was first used by the Romans and then became a public pool. Today swimming is no more possible but the Bagno pool is nice to look at.
Bagno Vignoni scenery
Bagno Vignoni is an exceptional place to be found in Tuscany, it’s in a forest, not in an open landscape. The Romans left the place, but there are still some of the old aqueducts left from their time.
Antipasti and vino rosso
As this small remote village is a popular destination for tourists, there exist a few restaurants where you can get a meal.
We sat here for a while. Antipasti and a glass of vino rosso helped us make our way back to the agriturismo.
A quiet street in Bagno Vignoni
After the thick forest of Bagno Vignoni we were back in the open, green landscape:
In the rolling landscpe of Tuscany
The biking day was the last day on our agriturismo holiday in Tuscany. The days had passed quickly and it was time to say goodbye, arrivederci.
We hoped to be back one day, and our dream fulfilled. We returned to the UNESCO listed Val d’Orcia, and this time stayed at another agriturismo, Agriturismo Casa Nuova in Castelmuzio. Read about it here: Italy by Train and Car: Rome, Florence and Tuscany
Agriturismo La Casa Nuova in Castelmuzio, Tuscany
More about Tuscany
- To drive around Tuscany, check out how to take a Tuscany Scenic Drive.
- Italy by Train and Car: Rome, Florence and Tuscany will show you the two cities and Val d’Orcia
Cinque Terre has five old fishing villages:
Rome is not far away from Tuscany:
What to see in North Italy: