Landscape photography help in Val d'Orcia


Hi everyone. I've been planning my Italy trip in May, and this forum has been very helpful, especially Lourdes. I will be spending 4 nights in 3rd week of May in the Val d'Orcia region with a rental car. As a landscape photography enthusiast, I plan to drive around the region to capture photos of the landscape. I should think the landscapes will look the best around sunrise, sunset and golden hour ( after sunrise and before sunset). Mid-day the light will be quite harsh, and might not make for the best pictures ( though of course the countryside is still beautiful).

I need some help from you to advise me on which areas will look the best at different times of the day. For example, Podere Belvedere at sunrise is iconic, but other places around the region could also look good. For sunset, I have read that the sun disappears behind Montalcino fairly early, so I can't really get a sunset with nice foreground, except if there are colours in the sky after the sun sets. Baccoleno would look good before sunset with the golden light? The towns themselves would look good in blue hour, with the lights contrasting against the blue sky. Hope people here can help with their tips! Thank you so much.
Val d'Orcia photography app and/or photo safari

I have two suggestions for you. One is really inexpensive, but I've been told it has some useful information such as what you are talking about--and that is this app for your phone:

The second suggestion: there is a photographer in Pienza who I know, who takes people on Photo Safaris in the Val d'Orcia. The idea is NOT to teach them/show them how to take photos--but to take them at the right places at the right time of day to catch the best light for landscape shots. His name is Jarek. Contact him and ask him about his photo safari. I have no idea how much it costs--but there's nothing like being with a local photographer who lives here to know where and when to be at the perfect spot to catch a fabulous shot.



The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Shank,

You've already done a fair amount on research on the top spots, you're right about the times of the day that are the best. The ones you've cited are the most iconic and for sure try to get those in. Most of the sites are around San Quirico so I think you'll be spending a good amount of time there. The Collegiata there (main church) is also quite splendid, make sure to get it at blue hour ;-). I also think Pienza is a good site, the city itself as well as the view from Via dell'Amore of the surroundings.
A great winding road with cypress trees is as you arrive to Monticchiello from Pienza.
The Abbey of Sant'Antimo is also a great site to photograph. It is hard to describe specific points from which to shoot at, so I recommend in the first hours you get to the area to spend them driving around. Get a sense of good angles at each place, then return at more appropriate times for light.

As Clauduccia has also recommended, a local photographer that obviously offers insight would be invaluable but if the budget doesn't allow it, study their photographs and try to identify the vantage points from where they were taken. Many of the countryside would not be recognizable in the day and are transformed at the right time of the day.