Tuscany is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. The picturesque and beautiful landscapes make this place really special. But there are many different places to see and it can be hard to pick only some of them to visit during your trip!
If you’ve seen postcards and travel brochures for Itlay, you can’t have missed the pictures of rolling hills, charming villages, vineyards for miles, and fields of blazing red poppies?! The scenery is unlike anywhere else and is deserving a spot on the front cover of any Italy guidebook.
The culture here is more laid back than you’ll find in the big cities or the coastal towns. Life is slower and more peaceful in Tuscany.
Ow to go
Florence is the largest city in Tuscany and is also the most central so it would make sense to start your road trip here. You could do a loop and end here or end in Pisa or Rome
From the Val D’ Orcia, you are 2 hours away from both Florence and Rome so you can choose to fly out of either airport or Pisa as we did.
As with anywhere in Italy, you could easily enjoy long lazy days enjoying Italian food, drinking wine, and taking long country strolls for many weeks at a time…
But if you only have 5 days in Tuscany then yes, this Tuscany itinerary will showcase many of Tuscany’s highlights
If you have longer than 5 days in Tuscany then I would suggest allocating extra time to explore Pisa, Florence, Lucca or pop across to Elba island for some beautiful beach scenery.
When to go
Italy can get both hot and crowded in the summer months. Whilst you might not notice many crowds in the smaller towns in Tuscany, cities like Florence and towns like Pisa can become very busy.
Therefore the best time to visit Tuscany will be in the shoulder seasons Spring and Autumn. Visiting In April-May and September-October will allow you to explore without the crowds
Where to stay
We stayed in 2 Agriturismo central by the 2 spots we definitely want to photograph if you have more time you can spend of course time in Pisa and Florence both great cities but we been there before and it can crowd.
We had a flight from Amsterdam to Pisa and booked a rental car at Expedia, book your rental car far before I twill save you lots of money. If you just go to the airport they will charge you 1000 Euro and if you book before it cost around 300 euro for 6 days.
The first 3 nights we stay in an Agriturismo Mocine 20 minutes drive from the hills we want to photograph during sunset Agriturismo Baccoleno. The Agriturismo Mocine was nice with a huge room and we booked a dinner in the evening which was nice with the view over the hills during a romantic dinner.
After 3 days we moved to Agriturismo Le Cascatelle which was within walking distance to the hot springs in Toscane. They even have their own hot spring water where you can enjoy the sun by the river. The room was very clean and the breakfast was good. The best point is, it was so near the hot springs so we can go early in the morning to photograph during sunrise
· Saturnia is a small village located at 2 hours' driving from the Val d’Orcia. It is famous for the beautiful cascade di Saturnia hot springs. The famous cascade is not the same place as the Terme di Saturnia resort. When searching on the internet, it’s easy to make a confusion, but these places are totally different. The first one is a public place and the other one is a resort. The cascade di Saturnia is open to the public. It is located only 5 minutes from the Agriturismo Le Cascatelle.
This place is totally free and is open 24/7. However, since this place became famous on social media, it’s really crowded even late at night. Tip: If you want to visit this cascade and avoid the crowd, you need to wake up very early! We woke up around 6:00 but it was really worthing it. We had the chance to admire this beautiful place for the sunrise and spend a good time before the crowd arrive.
Val d’Orcia is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy and for many people, it is the highlight of every Tuscany tour. Endless fields, fantastic viewpoints, picturesque cypress avenues, beautiful panoramic roads, and lovely villages with Renaissance buildings here you will find classic Tuscany, known from all the famous pictures, which make its visitors speechless. In addition to the countless impressive places and attractions in Val d’Orcia, you will also be spoiled by culinary delights. And the many fantastic Agriturismo accommodations make a vacation perfect.
Val d’Orcia is located in the south of the province of Siena and in the northeast of the volcanic mountain Monte Amiata. The name Val d’Orcia derives from the river Orcia, which runs through the valley and flows for about 70 kilometers through Tuscany. Covering an area of about 60,000 hectares, this region offers a unique combination of art, history, cuisine, and nature. Since 2004, this area has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its special features.
The best time to visit Val d’Orcia is not easy to define. In spring, the area is particularly green and the red poppy is in bloom. In summer, however, the wheat fields are golden yellow and there are also sunflower fields to admire. In autumn, Val d’Orcia appears partly dry, but this gives the landscape an extraordinary soft facet. Some people also visit Val d’Orcia in winter, when this region shows its mystical side.
The best things to do in Val d’Orcia
The picturesque Val d’Orcia in Tuscany offers countless attractions, highlights, and hidden places. Photographers also enjoy the countless ingenious photo spots and viewpoints. If you don’t want to lose track of all the amazing places to visit, we have summarized the most beautiful sights, viewpoints, and things to see at a glance.
Pienza The small town of Pienza is probably one of the most beautiful places in Val d’Orcia. Built as an ideal city of the Renaissance, this historical jewel is now on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The picturesque old town center with its uniquely beautiful Piazza Pio II and the surrounding palaces and churches is particularly fascinating. But Pienza is also famous for its pecorino cheese, which is considered the best in Tuscany and which you should definitely taste during your visit.
Baccoleno Farmhouse sunset 15 min from Agriturismo Mocine Tip: If you want to visit the famous way with the Tuscany trees and the house it is called Agriturismo Baccaleno. You can visit the countryside and the vineyards during the day and visit agriturismo Baccaleno for the sunset. It is the best moment to visit this place. But be prepared to see many photographers waiting for the sunset
The old town of Siena 45 min drive If you visit Siena, you should see the Piazza del Campo, the Duomo Cathedral, and the beautiful streets of the Old Town. The historic center of Siena is a UNESCO site and the town is one of the most visited places in Italy. Once you arrive, spend the day walking around the medieval city and marveling at the architecture. Two must-sees in the area are Piazza del Campo and Duomo di Siena Siena Cathedral.
Podere belvedere famous photo spot near the small church A real highlight in Val d’Orcia, especially for those who love taking pictures, is the viewpoint of Podere Belvedere. This is the place where the world-famous pictures are taken and it’s the very first thing that comes to your mind when you think of beautiful Tuscany. This is an old farmhouse, surrounded by cypresses, in a beautiful hilly landscape with olive groves and vineyards. The atmosphere here is particularly beautiful early in the morning or towards evening when a light mist covers the fields. Tip: The viewpoint of Podere Belvedere is located near San Quirico panoramic road Strada Provinciale 146 towards Pienza.
Cappella Madonna Di Vitaleta One of the most famous photo spots in Val d’Orcia is the beautiful Cappella Madonna di Vitaleta, a small chapel nestled in a picturesque landscape like in a fairy tale. This church had already been built in the 12th century and was restored in 1884. Thanks to the charming scenery that surrounds it, this attraction became a landmark in the Orcia Valley and one of the most popular photo spots in Tuscany. The panorama here is particularly magical in the early morning and in the evening at sunset. Tip: One of the most amazing viewpoints of the chapel is located on Strada Provinciale 146, a famous panoramic road in Val d’Orcia.
Cypress Avenue Poggio Covili Another characteristic feature of Val d’Orcia is the countless photogenic avenues of cypress trees that lead to the respective farms, wineries, or estates. One of the most popular photo spots in the long, picturesque avenue of the Poggio Covili farm, which is located on the SR2 road. Some of the coolest Instagram pictures of Tuscany are taken here. This avenue is one of the most beautiful in the region and is definitely worth a stop if you are exploring Val d’Orcia by car or bike!
Gladiator Avenue The picturesque Gladiator Avenue is scenic and probably one of the most beautiful places in Val d’Orcia. Some of the most famous scenes from the movie Gladiator were shot here and also in reality this place is really magical. The so-called De Cypresses Gladiator Point is located a little below the old town of Pienza and is, thanks to the exceptionally romantic scenery, one of the most beautiful photo spots!
Cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia An absolutely wonderful place and especially popular with photographers are the cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia, also known as Cipressi di San Quirico d’Orcia. This is a small circular cypress forest that seems to have been left in the middle of a field. This fantastic viewpoint is located in a field next to the SR2 road if you drive from Montalcino or Siena to San Quirico d’Orcia.
When to visit
Spring: Intensive green colors and beautiful flowers, chances of morning fog.
Summer: Best weather, the main season for regular tourists.
Autumn: Earth tones define the landscape, best chances of morning fog.
Winter: Nearly no tourists, no leaves at the trees, perfect for bird photography.
To conclude, Tuscany is definitely a must-see in Italy! If you are planning a trip next spring/summer, you should include Tuscany! You will not be disappointed by the beauty of the big cities, but also the charm of the countryside. My favorite places were Florence, Val d’Orcia, and Saturnia. Also, did I mention that the food is amazing in Tuscany? If you love homemade pasta and Pomodoro sauce, you will love your stay!