I experienced the magic of  Bagno Vignoni with a friend from Florence. She raced her motorcycle on the weekends with the guys and ended up here. She found love, then and stayed on in this little village of 40 inhabitants, outside of Siena. In those days not yet famous Val d’Orcia was a secret.  We both fell hard. Bagno Vignoni ci ha stregato. Mesmerized all  of us instantly.


There was something in the water, that’s what we had to tell ourselves, at least in the intimate circle.

It can still be  a captivating little jewel, especially when it’s quiet, more so in the winter when not so many weary invaders come looking for reprieve from the over stimulation of the big tourist cities.  In the cold season, when  the steam from the healing waters crystallizes  in the cold sun, then you should come here. Perfect for making photos, making love.

When Tarkovsky took these pictures in the 80’s he was working on his film Nostalgia and used this little paese, with it’s gorgeous vasca burbling hot thermal water, as one of his outposts. If you go to the Albergo le Terme, where judging from the angle I assume he took the window picture, there are mementos and signed photographs on the wall.  Tarkovsky and the not yet grumpy owners of the hotel. No one really seems to care too much except Tarkovsky aficionados.  On occasion I have noticed the older Italians, still full of ambition and not yet bitter about the state of things three decades ago, look at the pics with nostalgia.  Once in a while you will hear one or two of them ruminating  or pontificating to some bored soul,  on the meaning of it all, the films, Russia, the communists, il bel paese,  alienation and so on, while smoking Marlboro ciggies and drinking Prosecco in the Loggia overlooking a magic pool of fog.


I found Gwarlingo, where these pictures were presented through Harun Mehmedinovic who is the author of BloodHoney.

{More from  Gwarlingo: Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids }