The whole landscape of the Val d'Orcia, valley of the river of the same name, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. During the 14th and 15th centuries the region was a Sienese dominion and the city-state cultivated and redesigned the landscape according to ideals of beauty and aesthetics during the Renaissance period in order to create an example of good government. The particular aesthetics of the landscape with its flat plains and almost conical hills has inspired many artists. Their paintings show the beauty of agricultural landscape during the Renaissance period.
The first cultural evidence is of Etruscan origin. Archeological discoveries such as alabaster vessels, wall paintings and monumental tombs in particular give an idea of the Etruscan period.
The Romans, too, left their trace. The romantic Gothic period was followed by Renaissance, one of the most fertile periods of Tuscan architecture, and it was the city-state of Florence that gave the first impulse for a revival of the classical period at the beginning of the 15th Century. The indissoluble connection between Renaissance and Pope Pius II is visible everywhere in Val d'Orcia as he is known as one of the major promoters of arts during that period.
The passion for arts and culture is still present in Italy and many people consider it an expression of lifestyle and their philosophy of life. The same is true for many Tuscan traditions, Tuscan cuisine and the strong family-based social structures. The meals, especially in company of several relatives and friends, are very important for Italian culture and demonstrate regional and national pride.