The Val d’Orcia, is a region of Tuscany, central Italy, which extends from the hills south of Siena to Monte Amiata. It is characterised by gentle, carefully cultivated hills occasionally broken by gullies and by picturesque towns and villages such as Pienza (rebuilt as an “ideal town” in the 15th century under the patronage of Pope Pius II), Radicofani (home to the notorious brigand-hero Ghino di Tacco) and Montalcino (the Brunello di Montalcino is counted among the most prestigious of Italian wines). The impressive views of Val d’Orcia, which inspired so many Renaissance painters, is dotted with many little villages, castles, abbeys and hamlets, each telling a fascinating ancient history. This region is very rich in high quality local products such as the “pecorino” cheese of Pienza (a typical cheese made with sheep’s milk), the genuine olive oil, the gorgeous wine resulting from a long and ancient tradition, saffron, mushrooms, chestnuts, truffles, game and a lot of other specialties. In 2004 the Val d’Orcia was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites Images: © Attilio Brancaccio, 2015. All rights reserved.