Tuscany Scenic Drive Recommendation

Discussion in 'Travel' started by bobby_ho, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    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?
  2. 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.
  3. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. Once again, thank you very much for the information. One last question, does anyone know what the road condition is (the small roads)? Could a regular sedan handle the work?
  12. The roads are no problem. You won't need an SUV, and a smaller call will be better as some of the roads are quite narrow. If your in for adventure, get a sport convertible and enjoy zipping around :) Watch out the for the bikers as Italians love these roads too.
    For maps, get an Italian map (Touring Club are great), I made the mistake and got one in Germany, the towns had German names and had to use a dictionary with the road signs. Better yet, use a navigation system.
  13. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    A regular sedan will handle it easily. One point. Don't get a black or nearly black one. They aren't called the "Stradi Bianchi " for nothing.
  14. I think it all depends upon what you want to see. One option is to tour in a car and to try and visit as much as possible. Another is to spend less time in a car and to use it mainly to get you to a few villages or towns where you can spend several days, or a week or so, in each, to get to absorb something of the life and people and make walks or short car trips into the picturesque surroundings. After three trips to rural France (different regions), which is probably not unlike Italy in many ways, we have found the second option much more of a real vacation from our reguar life, and the photographic opportunities (including village life) no less than those of trying to see too much in one trip. It does help to speak a bit of the vernacular when staying closer to the people in rural areas.
  15. The roads are narrow but the real problem are the drivers in Italy!! I found it rather disconcerting to be on a narrow, nominally "two-lane" road when a car is approaching you from the other direction and a third car either behind you or behind the approaching car decides to pass at the same time that the cars are meeting with the expectation that both of the other drivers will edge close to their sides of the road to enable 3 cars to fit across the narrow road. All of this while the cars are going at high speed. This happened on more than one occasion.
    I recommend Urbino as a wonderful medieval town to visit.
  16. Tom, the same driving problem occurs in Portugal, but I haven't yet met it in rural France, although it can be a bit hairy when you are pushed from behind by impatient drivers when doing posted speeds on cliffside rural roads. Probably a good reason to stay in one place for several days, enjoy the life and sightsee on foot or bicycle.
  17. Just seeing if anyone had any further suggestions for great vistas/drives in the Tuscany region... :)
  18. Hi Bobby,
    You'll find some detailed driving route suggestions for Tuscany and Umbria at this road trips website.

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