About 30 miles south of Siena and stretching to Monte Amiata, the spectacular, unspoiled countryside of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looks like it’s been lifted out of a Renaissance painting. Dotted with farms, cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards, the gently rolling hills and fields offer the quintessential Italian landscape.
The area is home to Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s most lauded wines, as well as the Orcia Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. On top of fantastic wines and scenery, the picturesque towns of Castiglione d’Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d’Orcia boast artistic and cultural gems, making this destination a wine lover’s paradise.
When I first started covering Italian wine in the early 2000s, there wasn’t a whole lot of comfort—never mind luxury—in wine country. Digs were usually two- or three-star hotels in remote, quiet towns miles away from the vineyards, or a few rustic farm B&Bs in the country.
Fast-forward 15 years, and traveling around Italy’s wine denominations has become part of the famed Dolce Vita lifestyle (that quintessential Italian love of the good life), with sumptuous hotels near or in the vineyards that offer great food, memorable wines and world-class amenities.