Podere Valdorcia is a well-loved, Tuscan villa with classic country style, spectacular views, an enticing pool, lush orchard and vegetable garden. The village of Castiglioncello sul Trinoro is a walk away and has delightful concerts during the summer as well as good drinks and coffee. It is little wonder that it attracts repeat bookings from our regulars who grow fond of it over the years.
We interviewed the owner of Podere Valdorcia to find out more about the house, the area and his recommendations for making the most of your stay there. Translated from the original italian.
The farm was bought in 1972 and restored in 1974 by us, 4 brothers. We wanted to make a peaceful house for the family to get away and relax in a shared property. For many years the house provided just that for us. Then life intervened and in 1989 I became the sole owner, keeping it for our future generations, children and grandchildren.
We fell in love with the unique and evocative view over the Val D’Orcia, a valley protected by UNESCO that still carries the magic of the landscapes in Renaissance paintings. Every season has a different and magical mix of colours, perfumes and sounds, and each is a delight in its own right.
During the ploughing season the colours shift to different hues of brown and grey, in Autumn the forests bring a palette from bright yellows to deep browns, with patches of sharp reds, all punctuated by the deep dark green of the cypresses. Springtime brings an explosion of greens, of flowers, or perfumes together with the fast flying swallows; lastly Summer to the rhythm of the crickets hiding in the golden wheat that waves in the breeze.
Until last November there was an enormous oak tree on the lawn in front of the house. It was a wonderful focal point, particularly in summer as it spread welcome shade that made even the hottest part of the day pleasant. In the shade of this tree we had the typical country festival of “Ferragosto” where family and farm workers came together: good food, good wine and dancing and singing until sundown.
The oak had been there for 106 years but last November, in 2018, during a storm that ran the length of Italy, it was felled entirely, still with its crown intact. It was a moment of great sadness for all of us and most of all for my two granddaughters who had made amongst it’s branches, as all of us had before, their very own tree house.
“Valdorcia” is set in a wonderful position overlooking a valley rich with historical places and towns: Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia, Montepulciano, Bagno Vignoni and further to Montalcino, (home to “Brunello” wine) and north to Siena, one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Italy. Not to mention the many smaller and lesser known villages that are dotted around the area. Yet even more simply, ancient forests, close to the old farmhouse, have preserved a magic all of their own. There is a very special wood close to the hosue, called “Faggeta di Pietraporciana” that is an excellent example of these simple yet very special places.
When one is lucky enough to own something beautiful, from jewellery to paintings, there is a real pleasure in showing them, not to boast, but to share with others the pleasure of their beauty.
I consider “Valdorcia” and the surrounding landscape to be like a beautiful painting that gives pleasure to share, and to allow others to appreciate its natural beauty.
Our favourite restaurants are “Santa Chiara“, a place in the higher area of Sarteano, beautiful in summer for eating in the open. The second is towards La Foce, and Monticchiello: “Dopolavoro“, offering an evening meal in the simple Tuscan culinary tradition.