Tuscany  » Via del Pellegrino Estate
Overview of the Via del Pellegrino estate
Via del Pellegrino is the visionary project of the talented couple Giorgio and Ilaria Miani. In the late 80ies they started buying and renovating the most beautiful abandoned farmhouses in the Orcia valley, and their taste and sense of quality has taken rental houses to the next level. Giorgio and Ilaria’s houses in the Orcia valley are well known among the rich and famous and have been published in the most renowned interior design magazines all over the world (House&Garden, World of Interiors, Elle Decor, Coté Sud, etc.)
Giorgio and Ilaria have given their project the name Via del Pellegrino which means as much as Pilgrims’ way. In the year 957 the Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric crossed the Orcia valley on his way to Rome. The diary he kept during his travels contains the earliest reference to the Via Francigena, the great medieval road from France to Rome that led pilgrims to the heart of Christianity, passing through the Val d’Orcia.
Many castles, towers, rest houses or simple peasants houses fringe the road that stretches along the valley. Today, some of them have become vacation houses for aficionados of the Val d’Orcia.
Via del Pellegrino represents a real exception in our portfolio. It is not an estate, but we admire the vision of the project and the high level of restoration of the houses. Staying in one of these holiday rentals is an exceptional experience.
Ilaria Miani is a well established interior decorator, you can find out more about her work by visiting her website
- The nearest village with grocery, bakery, butcher and gas station is 5 to 15 minutes away (depending on the house).
- Hot springs and spas are 10 to 30 minutes
- S. Quirico is 15 to 20 minutes
- Pienza is 15 to 20 minutes
- Montepulciano is 15 to 20 minutes
- Sarteano is 15 to 20 minutes
- Train station: Chiusi is 25 minutes
- Montalcino is 30 minutes
- Siena 1 hour
- Arezzo is 1 hour
- Orvieto is 1 hour
- Perugia is 1 hour
- Assisi is 1 hour
- Florence is 1,5 hours
- Rome is 2 hours
Activities & Places of interest
- Montepulciano is a graceful Tuscan hill town, best known for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which was being praised by connoisseurs over 200 years ago and can certainly contend with Italy’s best today. The many churches and handsome palazzi, the steep cobbled alleys and vine-trailing stone bastions are essential viewing for anyone venturing south of Siena. On a clear day from the top of the town you have tremendous panoramic views across the countryside, stretching towards Assisi’s Monte Subasio, Monte Amiata, the Val d’Orcia, Pienza, and even the towers of Siena.
- Montalcino is beautifully situated on a hill inhabited since Etruscan times, swathed in vineyards and olive groves. It is a quiet, affluent, attractive town with pretty buildings and flower-filled squares, and many shops selling the Brunello di Montalcino.
- Pienza, the unfinished “utopian” city, was commissioned by Pope Pius II in 1459. In just three years the cathedral, the papal and bishop’s palaces and the central part of the town were completed, but the extensive project ended abruptly when Pius died only two years after the consacration of the cathedral.
- After having bought the estate of La Foce in 1924, Antonio and Iris Origo commissioned the English architect Cecil Ross Pinsent, who had previously done extensive work on Bernard Berenson’s Villa I Tatti in Florence, to restructure the main buildings and create a large garden. The latter was conceived to enhance the Renaissance house, built in 1498 as an inn for the travellers to Rome on the Via Francigena. The garden is open every Wednesday afternoon, guided tours every 30 minutes.
- The Val d’Orcia is a wide valley south of Siena through which the old Via Francigena (the chief route linking Rome with the north) used to lead, passing castles and fortified towns, some of them dating back as far as the eighth century. In San Quirico make sure you see the Horti Leonini, an early Renaissance garden, as well as the western door in the city wall and the Collegiata (main church).
- Florence et Rome can be reached by train in one and a half hours from the nearby station Chiusi.
- Monte Oliveto Maggiore Two great treasures are housed in the abbey. Lining the main cloister is a fresco cycle of the life of St Benedict by Luca Signorelli and Il Sodoma. Less famous, less sensational, but perhaps of finer quality, are the wooden intarsia choir stalls by Fra’ Giovanni da Verona. It is home to a dozen monks who specialize in restoring old books, and make wine, honey and olive oil.
- Sant’Anna in Camprena is a rambling monastery on the road between Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia. A very romantic setting which served as location for the film The English Patient. In the refectory there is a fresco by the renaissance painter Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known as Il Sodoma.
- Sant’Antimo is surely one of the loveliest Romanesque buildings in all of Italy. It is hard to imagine a more sympathetic combination of architectural grace and natural setting. Originally founded by Charlemagne in 800, the abbey was once home to a prominent Benedictine community. Creamy stone bricks, luminous Volterran alabaster, playful carvings and frescoes of animals give it a peculiarly sunny air. A group of French Cistercian monks now runs the abbey, celebrating Mass with Gregorian chants several times a day.
- Tuscany is famous for its hot springs, belonging to a geothermical system that more or less encircles Monte Amiata, the most spectacular being Saturnia in the south west of the region. Close to La Foce is Bagno Vignoni which has been popular since Etruscan times. St Catherine of Siena is said to have appreciated its therapeutic qualities, as is Lorenzo the Magnificent, whose family built the splendid arcaded pool – a kind of flooded, bubbling piazza, famously used by Tarkovsky for some of the more surreal passages of his film Nostalgia. Bagni San Filippo may go into the books as the world’s smallest thermal spa – a telephone booth, a few old houses, an outdoor spring in the middle of the woods with glistening limestone formations, and one small hotel with a public pool.
- Fashion addicts can splurge out at the famous Prada factory outlet, which lies on to road to Florence.
- Golf at 30 minutes.
- Biking from Pienza, with Cicloposse.