Inclusion in the World Heritage List: Suzhou (China), 28 June-7 July 2004
The landscape of the Val d'Orcia is part of Siena's agricultural hinterland, redesigned and developed at the time of its integration into the Sienese Republic, during the 14th and 15th centuries, with the aim of reflecting the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically impressive panorama. Its distinctive features, and particularly the expanse of its clay plains on which cone-shaped hills stand, with fortified villages on top of them, have inspired many artists over the centuries, so much so that they have become excellent examples of the beauty of the appropriately managed agricultural landscapes of the Renaissance period.
The perimeter includes: an agricultural and pastoral landscape that illustrates innovative systems of agricultural production and land management; a series of fortified towns and villages and isolated farms and rustic holdings; an ancient communication and pilgrimage road to Rome, the Via Francigena, with its abbeys and sanctuaries, inns and post houses, service equipment and bridges.
Criterion IV - Constituting an extraordinary example of a building category, of an architectural or technological ensemble, or of a landscape, that illustrates one or more important phases in human history.
Val d'Orcia is an exceptional example of pre-Renaissance redesign of the landscape, which illustrates the ideals of good governance and the aesthetic research that guided its conception.
Criterion VI - Being directly or materially linked to living occurrences or traditions, ideas or beliefs, artistic or literary works, endowed with an exceptional universal meaning.
Celebrated by the painters of the Sienese school, the Val d'Orcia has become an icon of the landscape that has profoundly influenced the development of landscape thinking.