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The Val d’Orcia comes as a shock to the stranger driving south from Chianciano toward the Via Cassia. The traveller suddenly reaches the top of a pass overlooking a wide valley below: this is La Foce. Everything that can be seen from here appears conceived on a larger scale, very different from any other place in Tuscany. The wide valley is dominated on the horizon by the towering presence of Monte Amiata, a long-extinct volcano that rises in solitary majesty above the valley.
In 1920s, the Origo family came to live here, Antonio was an Italian nobleman from Florence and his wife Iris an anglo-american writer.
The main points of the Origo plan to develop the Val d’Orcia were: set up an eight-year crop rotation; drain and build sustaining dams on the clay hills to prevent erosion; increase the arable land; rebuild the existing farms and the fattoria; plant grapevines and olive trees; build new roads; increase the livestock and create more pastures; suspend the cutting down of woods; increase facilities for education and medical care. After Antonio and Iris’s death, their daughters Benedetta and Donata inherited the property. Now the once-abandoned farmhouses have been renovated and turned into holiday homes. In recent years, five communes in the valley have agreed to develop a park, that will ensure that the valley is preserved in its present state and prevent the carrying out of such horrors as highways, factories, and new buildings, or the destruction of the crete, in order to obtain more arable land.
There is also a chamber music festival here in July, the "Incontri in Terra di Siena" and various cultural activities take place here during the rest of the year. The garden is open to the public and La Foce is now visited every year by thousands of people from all over the world.