Mills Park in Bagno Vignoni
in the Val d’Orcia – Artistic, Natural and Cultural Park
an enthralling tour to see the mills carved into the rock
Visit with us this protected natural area, immersed in the Mediterranean maquis and
framed by the splendid landscape of Castiglione d’Orcia and its fortress. Book the tour and immerse yourself in the scenario shaped by man: nature and history are intertwined in an indissoluble bond
The history, the thermal waters
Bagno Vignoni is characterized by the presence of a large sixteenth-century tub, with thermal water that flows from the underlying natural spring. The tub was already used in Roman times and, subsequently, by illustrious personalities of the caliber of Pope Pius II, Catherine of Siena and Lorenzo de’ Medici, due to the extraordinary beneficial and curative properties of the waters. In fact, the thermal water is composed of calcium and iron carbonate, sodium chloride, calcium sulphate, magnesium and sodium. It has a temperature of 38°C and is particularly suitable for the treatment of osteoarticular disorders, arthrorheumatic diseases, bronchopulmonary problems.
The waters that flow into the tank are now made to flow towards the Parco dei Mulini, among streams of water, tanks and collection cisterns.
and its mills
The Parco dei Mulini is an archaeological itinerary that can be visited, commissioned by the Municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia in 1999. Of medieval origin, the system was abandoned in the 1950s, after having been one of the main production centers in the area. The route winds along the edge of the village of Bagno Vignoni and begins with the tanks and cisterns for collecting the waste water, coming from the main thermal bath of the town. From the tanks located on the top of the hill, the water begins its descent towards the valley floor, feeding the ancient mills arranged at degrading heights. These are four mills dug into the rock, a very complex hydraulic engineering work which allowed them to function even in the summer, because they were fed by a thermal spring which flowed with a constant flow.
In the company of our expert guides, you can book a visit to the Parco dei Mulini. It will be an unmissable opportunity to get to know the Val d’Orcia up close, with its peculiarities and traditions. Here in Bagno Vignoni, a natural element with great beneficial properties has been used, since the Middle Ages, with a large hydraulic engineering work, very complex and unique in its kind.
The first two water mills, called Mulino di Sopra and Mulino Buca, are entirely underground, i.e. underground; the other two, the Mulino di Mezzo and the Mulino da Piedi, are partly above ground – the rooms for the millstones – and partly underground – the rooms for the wheels. The entrances and interiors of the mills, dug into the rock, have been restored and made safe to allow an easy visit.
The milling technique, common to all southern Europe, is that of the horizontal wheel mill: a relatively simple technology, with the driving wheels connected directly to the millstones via a vertical shaft and activated by a high pressure water jet, generated by an accumulation tank placed on a higher level.
visit the Park of the Mills:
ancient customs and traditions intertwine
Where possible, the existing equipment was recovered, otherwise instruments were made from scratch to give an idea of their original size.
Some millstones have been placed in front of the entrances to the underground mills.
Also dug out of the rock are the water pipes, the accumulation tanks and the access roads.
We do not know precise information about their construction. It is believed that it was the work of the feudal lords, perhaps of the Tignosi themselves, a family of vassals of the Aldobrandeschi counts, masters of the Rocca di Tentennano (now Rocca d’Orcia). The mills remained active until the mid-1950s; degradation followed until 1999, with the acquisition by the Municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia and their recovery.
Book a 2-hour trekking tour with us. Our environmental guides will be able to lead you on a visit to this natural park, with a landscape and historical introduction, to get to know the peculiarities of the area and of this great work. Our staff is made up of local people, who for years have made love for our land and its protection their main prerogative.
Create a customized package to fully enjoy your holiday in Val d’Orcia. And book with us: an e-bike tour with the Teatro Ciclofficine; a visit to the Ermicciolo Springs in Vivo d’Orcia; a minivan excursion with NarraTerra; a trekking among the most renowned locations; a lunch or tasting at our restaurants; and what I didn’t want you to lose!
Mills Park and Teatro Povero di Monticchiello and Parco Vivo are, above all, meeting places where people, traditions and knowledge exchange to enrich each other. We suggest that you rely on us to approach this culture and become part of it, thanks to authentic experiences. Guided tours, excursions, demonstrations, cooking classes, workshops for children, and much more.