San Quirico d’Orcia is a village of Etruscan origins but its earliest written record dates back to 712 AD. From the 11th century the village grew in importance thanks to its particular geographical position and also its situation on the Via Francigena. In 1155 Frederick I known as Barbarossa camped here to meet representatives of Pope Adriano IV. In 1559 after the fall of the Siennese Republic the village swore its allegiance to Cosimo I dei Medici. In 1667 Cardinal Flavio Chigi was nominated Marquis of San Quirico by the Grand Duke Cosimo III dei Medici. Its territory is at the heart of the Val d’Orcia, a cultural landscape recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
San Quirico is one of the most noteworthy examples of medieval architecture in the province of Siena. The Collegiate Church or Collegiata has three doorways, the first is a magnificent example of Romanesque style. The Romanesque taste is still evident in the southern doorway attributed to Giovanni Pisano while the third doorway is an admirable balance between Romanesque and Gothic styles. Inside, as well as a triptych dating from the 1400s by Sano di Pietro, there are some Baroque elements and a fine wooden choir inlaid by Antonio Barili between 1482 and 1502.
Next to the Collegiata we find Palazzo Chigi, now home to the Town Hall. Cardinal Flavio Chigi had the building constructed in the second half of the 17th century, it was designed by the Architect Carlo Fontana. In the center of the village are the splendid Horti Leonini, gardens created around 1575 by Diomede Leoni. From here we reach the «giardino delle rose», which is next to the church of S. Maria Assunta, also in Romanesque style mentioned in records dating from 1014.
The church dedicated to San Francesco, faces onto the main square, it is also known as the Chiesa della Madonna. Inside is the beautiful Madonna by Andrea della Robbia, moved here from the Chapel of Vitaleta situated between San Quirico and Pienza, as well as two wooden polychrome statues attributed to Francesco di Valdambrino.
Four kilometers south of San Quirico is Bagno Vignoni, a spa village famous for its «square of water». Bagno Vignoni was well known in medieval times and famous figures such as Saint Catherine and Lorenzo dei Medici came to stay here. The Roman pools and the mill park overlook the Val d’Orcia. In a dominating position over the valley we find the medieval stronghold of Vignoni with its Romanesque parish church. In splendid isolation, today it is a real oasis of peace and tranquility.