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is that you’re within easy distance of civilisation, in Maremma, you have the woodlands and the forest—it’s different from the rest of Tuscany.’ Prices can vary as wildly as the


scenery in this vast area. Mr Fawcett reports that villas on Monte Argent- ario can go for more than €10,000


per square metre with peaks of up to €15,000 for exclusive villas. By con- trast, restored country homes range from €2,000 to €3,500 per square metre, according to Elisa Biglia of Chesterton Humberts. Maremma ends at the western foot


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The Val d’Orcia attracts food lovers and wine connoisseurs— its vintages are world renowned —and is also known for the beauty of its villages


of Mount Amiata, a soaring dome that was once a volcano. East of the mountain’s verdant bulk stretches another prime property destination, Val d’Orcia. Compared to Maremma, this is tamer


countryside, a mosaic of fields and vineyards, rich meadows and olive trees that captures the essence of the Tuscan dream. Cypresses cluster on gentle hilltops, standing sentinel over time-worn farmhouses with terra- cotta-tiled roofs and weather-beaten shutters. Ancient roads meander up and down this sinuous landscape,


leading to tiny medieval villages lined with honey-hued palazzi. Take San Quirico D’Orcia, for


example. Sheltered behind fortified walls, this hilltop village was a wel- come stop for pilgrims walking down the Via Francigena—the route that linked France to Rome—in the Middle Ages. This strategic location gave small San Quirico grand palazzi, an exquisite Romanesque church and the geometric perfection of the Horti Leonini gardens. Nearby Bagno Vignoni is even more scenic, despite being even tinier.➢


Country Life International, Spring 2014 41


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