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Tuscany Scenic Drive Recommendation

Bobby Ho , Dec 16, 2009; 08:10 p.m.

I am planning to visit Tuscany in June 2010 and I would like to photograph the Tuscan landscape (vineyard, cypress trees.....) Does anyone has any recommendation on which road to take?


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P C Headland , Dec 17, 2009; 03:24 a.m.

The small ones :-)

Really, you can pick out some of the tourist landmarks, and just drive on the small back roads, you'll find heaps. You'll probably come across the non-tourist places that way, many of which are just as gorgeous. Don't forget to head into the surrounding hills too.

David Henderson , Dec 17, 2009; 06:09 a.m.

Get a really good map- the Touring Club of Italy ones are good. Note the collection of small roads in the area bounded by Asciano, Montepulciano. Radicofani, Montalcino, and Monteroni d'Arbia. See all those little white roads? Thats where the photographs of bright stone farmhouses sitting next to cypress trees and olive groves on open hillsides are. The towns of Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and San Quirico d'Orcia are interesting too. The area is known as the Crete.

North and west of here, the Tuscan landscape is altogether different. More trees, more vineyards. IMO not as photogenic though many people take holidays there.

By the way, ifyou could turn your June into mid May, you'll get a getter climate and much better photographs. The crops will still have a touch of green - all those lovely velvety green fields you see aren't grass, its wheat in springtime. You'll also see some wildflowers in May. Even in mid May, I'm up and out by 5am to photograph at dawn. By mid June it'd hardly be worthwhile going to bed.

Cornfield near Pienza, Tuscany

Santo Giorno , Dec 17, 2009; 08:53 a.m.

I agree with David. We've been in this area twice in early May, and it's just beautiful. It's also less crowded since schools are still in session. We were able to stop along the side of the roads without having to worry about traffic.

The town of Pienza is a great place to use as a base.

The SlowTravel website http://slowtrav.com/ is one of the best travel site I've found, and it has a large section for Italy. I think it started as an Italy only site. There are many trip reports, restaurant and hotel reviews, trip planning tips, etc. If you're looking for specific itineraries, the link below, about the iconic cypress-lined roads, is just one of many you'll find there.

It's a spectacular area, you won't be disappointed..... but do try to go in May if you can.


Farmhouse near Pienza, Italy

Charles Stobbs , Dec 17, 2009; 09:12 a.m.

We spent two weeks just outside the small city of Lucca. Put it near the end of your list because you won't leave once you've ben there.

Bobby Ho , Dec 18, 2009; 12:17 a.m.

Thank you very much for the information. Much appreciated! I was thinking to visit San Gimignano as it looks quite amazing from some photos. However, it sounds like that region is quite touristy. Is there any great photo opportunities there?

Santo Giorno , Dec 18, 2009; 09:52 a.m.

We've been to San Gimignano on both visits. It is heavily touristed, with far too many souvenir shops, but it's a very interesting and photogenic town, well worth a visit. Most of the tourists in SG are daytrippers, so if you can stay for a day or two at one of the local hotels, mornings and evenings are magic.
How much time do you have? The area around Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano, San Quirco d"Orcia, has enough to keep you engaged for weeks on end. Cortona and Lucca are also worthwhile to visit.
You could save SG for a second trip?

David Henderson , Dec 18, 2009; 11:22 a.m.

San Gimignano is very touristy though actually some of the views of if from the vineyards a mile of two away are attractive. For me it might depend on which airport I was using. If I were travelling from Pisa in the direction of Siena and the Crete I'd be inclined to stop there - and at Volterra- on the way. If OTOH I was travelling up from Rome I might think it somewhat out of the way.

Stefan T. , Dec 22, 2009; 04:44 a.m.

If you have 2 or 3 days fur Umbria, it's really worth going there. Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Spello, Gubio...are all very beautiful places and (maybe apart from Assisi, which is a must) Umbria is not half as crowded as Tuscany.

Deidre Zuck , Dec 23, 2009; 08:46 p.m.

We also will be visiting this region in the springtime and are looking for some specific roads that are exceptionally picturesque. Aka some fantastic series of hills for early mornings mists, etc.

Thanks much!

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