San Quirico D'Orcia
"An old town on the old pilgrims' route to Rome"
The existance of this small town is largely due to the pilgrims route from Northern Europe to Rome, known as the Via Francigena. The mediaeval town centre is built along the road, with a few smaller streets, enclosed in the old town wall.
The town is very picturesque, but modest, without the grandeur (admittedly on a small scale) of nearby Pienza to the east, or the drama of Montalcino to the West. As a result, the tourists are not as thick on the ground (or between the ears) and the shops, unobtrusively embedded into the old buildings, cater more for locals.
"The city walls"
The mediaeval part of the town is enclosed by these walls, and for some reason, a reconstructed ballista sat just outside the west gate.
The old town is car-free except for the occasional, inevitable, Piaggio making deliveries. Local shopkeepers gather in the cafes during siesta, but otherwise the town is relatively quiet.
"Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta"
There are 3 churches along the main street, starting with the Collegiata at the Northern gate, past the San Francesco half way down in the small piazza, and finally, and by a long way the most modest, the church of Santa Maria Assumta at the southern end.
The simplicity of this little chapel, with signs of an active worshipping community, is somehow more encouraging than its more frozen but genuinely beautiful and historic companions. Next to the chapel is a little rose garden, again simple and peaceful, and unexpected.