San Quirico d’Orcia is an absolutely stellar location for touring south Tuscany! The Val d’Orcia wine road from Montalcino to Montepulciano comprises some of our favorite places in Italy. This 16th-century farmhouse that is the core of the Molino della Tuoma is ideal for quiet getaways, or to get the long-term vibe of the area.
We are an, ahem, mature couple who have traveled Europe extensively; this was our sixth(?) trip to Italy. We stayed from mid-May to mid-June, 2022, one full month, after having scouted the house in-person in Sept. 2021. We were Paola’s first monthly paying guests in a long time, maybe ever. We also used this trip to decide what we want in a longer-term house, and whether to rent or buy.
First and best, the views! It’s among the best in south Tuscany, postcard pretty. Beautiful sunsets from the bedrooms, the kitchen, the terrace in front of the house, while you drink your local wine and eat your antipasto. It’s where you share stories with cyclists from Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France; the Molino is along the Eroica bike tour route. The house is located in the Celamonti Wildlife Refuge, and is quiet except on Sundays when the adventure motorcyclists (polite, no Harleys or sport bikes) ride the trail in front of the house. Stores and restaurants are within a couple of kilometers. We experienced excellent communication with Paola and Stani (and very earnest dialog in Italian with Mimma, the housekeeper). I know that we were a thorn in their sides for trying to drag them up-market. They put an enormous amount of effort into the 2015 rebuild, and it shows. The mattresses are new, and the linen is professionally laundered offsite. The bed pillows are all huge and fluffy, not great for back-sleepers, but ideal for normal folks. There is a top-end dishwasher, a fireplace, and now a new wireless router and wi-fi range extender. I added some outlet strips and extension cords. There is enclosed, lockable storage for your bicycle or motorcycle. It’s an excellent value for long-term stays. And their dogs are just the dearest things!
There is no freezer or oven, so no gelato or pizza. No window or door screens, and no air-conditioning, so it’s difficult to keep the bugs out in June. July and August would be untenable. The driveway to the house was impossible for our Passat estate, and the car rental agency graciously traded us for a VW T-Cross. The hot and cold water plumbing is reversed, so the clothes washer cleans everything in hot water, and the dishwasher only has cold water. I showed Paola this during their week-long visit, and they promised to have this fixed. Similarly, Paola saw that the weeds were knee-high all around, so it was a safari to hang clothes on the line. They promised a new landscaping service. There’s a monstrous honeybee hive in the foundation of the end apartment very near the clotheslines. We didn’t bother them, and they didn’t bother us, but neither of us is allergic. For a night or two these aren’t issues, but ask about these before staying more than a few days.
Summary: Go! Go to the Barrino in Bagno Vignoni, fried fish night at Il Garibaldi, truffle season at di Ciacco. Sit in the lounge chairs and enjoy your grappa, limoncello, Moretti Rossa. Be a temporary Italian.