Val d'Orcia

The cypresses of the Val d’Orcia
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Discover the most famous cypresses of the Val d’Orcia

A true symbol of our region, the cypress is one of the protagonists of the Tuscan countryside. We find it in many areas of Tuscany but it is the Val d’Orcia which, with its gentle and sinuous hills, has been able to best enhance the beauty of the cypresses.

In recent years there has been a real rediscovery of the Tuscan countryside and its breathtaking views. Many people from all over the world visit Tuscany just to enjoy the beauty of its countryside. The most popular areas are those of Chianti, the Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia.

In this article we talk about the Val d’Orcia and its cypresses. Immortalized in endless photographic shots that fill travel stories on social networks. If you use Instagram, you may have seen one or more photos depicting the cypresses of the Val d’Orcia. If you want to go and see these cypresses, you are in the right place: in this guide I will show you where the most famous cypresses of the Val d’Orcia are and how to reach them.

Where are the cypresses of the Val d’Orcia

There are various places to see the cypresses in Val d’Orcia. The most famous are those that make up a grove located near San Quirico. In addition to these there are other well-known viewpoints where there are other cypresses such as the Vitaleta Chapel, the Gladiator’s “Elysian Fields” and the Monticchiello Road.

Let’s see them all:

Cypress forest in San Quirico d’Orcia

Cypresses are usually used to delimit the boundaries of properties and farms or to give shade to the roads and paths leading to the houses, but the most famous cypresses in the entire Val d’Orcia are those that make up a small wood. You have already seen them: they are a small group of cypresses arranged to form a grove, located in I Triboli halfway between San Quirico d’Orcia and Torrenieri. The famous cypress wood of the Val d’Orcia was probably born as a hunting “roccolo”, or a grove created by hunters to attract birds. Today this group of cypresses no longer has anything to do with hunting, if not the most beautiful photo shoot!

How to get to the cypresses: reaching them is very easy. Just take the SR2 Cassia between San Quirico d’Orcia and Torrenieri. They are clearly visible from the road and when you reach their height there is also a little space to park.

Geographical coordinates: 43°03′45.62 ″N 11°33′31.86″E

what to see in san quirico d'orcia Cypresses
Cypresses near San Quirico d’Orcia (Photo by lo.tangeliniCC BY)

Circle of cypresses in San Quirico d’Orcia

The second group of cypresses is always in the same area as the group of cypresses, indeed it is right on the same hill! This group of cypresses has been planted to form a circle, or rather two semicircles that are separated only by a dirt road that crosses them. Like the first group, this too is able to offer truly unique views! They are beautiful to photograph both from the outside and from the center of the circle.

How to reach them: after leaving the car at the parking lot along the SR2 Cassia, you have to take the dirt road that goes up the hill; a few hundred meters and you will have arrived.

Geographical coordinates: 43°03′38.99″N 11°33′30.49″E

Cypress avenue in Poggio Covili

I was saying that we often find cypresses along the access roads to the properties. One of the best examples of cypress avenues in Val d’Orcia is that of Poggio Covili. Here are two rows of perfectly aligned and well-kept cypress trees that create a decidedly remarkable scenic effect. From the road, from the hill or with the drone, but especially at sunset or sunrise, this road with cypresses is always appreciated!

How to get to the avenue of cypresses in the Val d’Orcia: starting from San Quirico d’Orcia you will have to take the SR2 heading south and pass Bagno Vignoni, when you see the sign indicating Poggio Covili, you have arrived.

Geographical coordinates: 43°01’19.4″N 11°38’13.0″E

Cypress avenue of Poggio Covili
Cypress avenue of Poggio Covili

Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta

The small and charming Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta is one of the undisputed symbols of the Val d’Orcia. This is also one of the most photographed monuments in the whole area and probably also in all of Tuscany.

It is true, here the cypresses are not the protagonists, but the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta would not be the same if it did not have its cypresses to act as squires.

How to reach the Vitaleta chapel: the chapel is located along a country road between San Quirico d’Orcia and Pienza. To reach it you will have to take the SP 146 which connects the two cities and then turn onto the dirt road when you find the sign indicating Vitaleta. Along the dirt road, not far from the chapel, there is also a car park.

Geographical coordinates: 43°04’14.6″N 11°38’03.6″E

what to see in san quirico d'orcia Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta
Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta (Photo by Massimo TelòCC BY)

Cypresses of the gladiator

The Gladiator was one of the most epic and iconic films in history and the Val d’Orcia was the protagonist of one of the most touching scenes of the entire film: the Elysian Fields. I don’t think we need to remind you of that scene, the images of Maximus Decimus Meridius walking in the Elysian Fields are practically indelible. And once again, here and there, we can see the inevitable cypresses of the Val d’Orcia. By visiting this location, you will find it just as you remember it.

Where? The Elysian fields with the Gladiator’s cypresses are located in Terrapille, just south of Pienza. To reach them you will have to take the Terrapille road which starts in front of the Pieve di Corsignano in Pienza. It is a very pleasant and not at all demanding walk. The view is truly amazing and I am sure that being in these places will give you a great emotion.

Geographical coordinates: 43°04’22.2″N 11°40’03.6″E

Elysian Field Tuscany
Cypresses in the Gladiator’s Elysian Fields (Photo by Enrico Pighetti / CC BY)

Cypresses of Monticchiello

From Pienza we move to Monticchiello to reach a winding road that with its cypresses gives us another truly special panorama. This is the provincial road 88, in the south-east section of Monticchiello. At this point the road is characterized by a series of very accentuated curves along which we find the inevitable cypresses. The final effect is truly remarkable: a snake of cypresses that runs up the hill. This is also one of the most photographed and “instagrammed” places in the entire Val d’Orcia; especially at sunset the scenery is really a lot of stuff.

Attention: the best viewpoint is located on the opposite hill which can be reached from Monticchiello along the SP88 in the direction of Pienza and then after 1 km turn onto the dirt road.

Geographical coordinates: 43°03’46.8″N 11°44’02.7″E
Panoramic point: 43°03’42.6″N 11°43’22.1″E
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