Each year, the picturesque town of Bagno Vignoni in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia comes alive with an exciting array of cultural events to mark the arrival of Spring and welcome the first tourists of the season. With its gently-rolling hills dotted with cypress trees, medieval churches and hilltop towns, this cherished landscape has inspired countless artists over the centuries. The Val d’Orcia has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004 for its harmony between man and nature and a recent tourism initiative not only honors but exalts this unique connection.
As the Tuscan countryside awakens from its winter slumber, the towns of Montalcino, Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia serve as the backdrop for wine festivals, art exhibitions, bicycle rides and literary seminars that celebrate the region’s rich heritage.
“The events that we present here are a reflection of our land,” explains Ugo Sani, the Cultural Advisor of San Quirico d’Orcia. “They transmit the beauty, the flavors, the atmosphere of the region. These landscapes are made of history, art, music and soul: they are part of humanity. And living here means sharing a special relationship between nature and art. This is the spirit that guides our artistic heritage – the Val d’Orcia is a place where wellbeing reigns supreme, where time seems to stand still.”
The charming town of Bagno Vignoni is a focal point for art events in the region. Located along the Orcia River and surrounded by hot springs, Bagno Vignoni has long attracted popes and notable figures including Saint Catherine and Lorenzo de’ Medici to soak in its mineral-rich waters. And each Spring, the town hosts a contemporary art exhibit in its splendid “piazza d’acqua” – a monumental basin of thermal waters set in the center of town – as a tribute to the synergy between art and nature.
In 2019, sculptor Davide Dall’Osso has been selected to showcase his figurative works of art in Bagno Vignoni. The picturesque pool serves as the site of his installation, “The Giardino Segreto” (“The Secret Garden”), in which dancing figures and two centaurs float above the water of the basin. Dall’Osso works with polycarbonate and polymer plastics, lending his sculptures transparency and fluidity. With the changing light over the course of the day, the figures are in constant movement, continuously revealing a different side of their personality.
The “Secret Garden” was curated by Dall’Osso’s wife and partner Maria Vittoria Gozio and it extends from the central pool into the three hotels in Bagno Vignoni, creating a cohesive narrative that accompanies the traveler throughout his/her stay in town. It was on view until June 30, 2019.
Where To Stay
Set at the edge of town with views of the towering Rocca d’Orcia on the horizon, the delightful Albergo Posta Marcucci is a perfect base to enjoy Bagno Vignoni and explore the surrounding region. Originally a grocery store that offered a postal service, the Marcucci family transformed the property into a hotel in the 1950s. It was recently purchased by the Costa family, who also own the luxurious La Perla and Berghotel Ladina in the Dolomites, and maintains a retro-charm that is quintessentially Italian.
The Posta Marcucci is part of Italy’s Luxury Bike Hotels and strategically located for exploring the Val d’Orcia on two wheels, cycling on the so-called “white roads” while enjoying views of cypress trees and patchwork fields. Bike enthusiasts will want to take part in the “Eroica Bicycle Festival” in the region where it was born. In 2019, Eroica Montalcino took place on May 26th and along a 209km (130mi) route in the hills of the Val d’Arbia, the Crete Senesi and the Val d’Orcia.