What to see when you visit the charming town of San Quirico Val d’Orcia

San Quirico Val d'Orcia Tuscany Italy

La Collegiata, the beautiful romanesque church on the main piazza of San Quirico

San Quirico Val d’Orcia is a town of great charm that is often overlooked by visitors to the Val d’Orcia. San Quirico is of Etruscan origin and its present appearance, with its almost intact walls incorporating fourteen towers, dates mainly from mediaeval times when it was an important stop on the Via Francigena pilgrimage and trade route.

La Collegiata is a beautiful romanesque church. It was once a rural parish church (pieve) and dates from the 8 C. The original structure had a baptismal font since moved but the outline of which can still be seen on the floor of the church as it is today. La Collegiata was rebuilt in the 12 C in the romanesque style which it retains until the present day. The back of the church was altered in 1663 to add the choir. The church has a Latin cross plan, with a single nave and side chapels. The main portal repays close attention. It’s in Lombard style, consisting in a decorated protiro in sandstone, with columns supported by lions. The arch includes ten columns, whose capitals are decorated with animals and plants, while the architrave features two crocodiles facing each other. The lunette has a high-relief sculpture allegedly portraying St. Damasus, though likely to be identified with St. Quiricus. A side portal, added in the 13 C, is attributed to Giovanni Pisano, who was in Sienna at the time. Most of the interior decoration date to the 17 C, while the bell tower was rebuilt in 1798-1806.

Nearby to La Collegiata are the Horti Leonini, laid out by Diomede Leoni in 1580, a rather minor example of a classic italianate garden but still worth a stroll.

There are a number of other churches worth visiting in San Quirico. These include the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (late 11 C) and the Church of the Madonna di Vitaleta, housing a Madonna attributed to Andrea della Robbia.

There are also town gates and a number of palazzi to seek out and San Quirico is well-provided with restaurants.

Worth a visit. More about San Quirico in the Val d’Orcia.

Elena Spolaor

Elena Spolaor

About Elena Spolaor

Although Elena was born in Venice, she was brought up in Tuscany and is a historian and frequent contributor to online articles about life in Tuscany and Umbria. Her specialities are Tuscan and Umbrian local history and folklore.

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