Which 2 out of 3? - Chianti, Val d'Orcia or San Gimignano

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aks_

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My husband and I are visiting Tuscany on a 4 day trip (1st to 4th of May 2010), and have decided to spend a day and a half in Florence, half-day trip to Pisa, and the remaining two days in the Tuscan countryside.

Our goal is to see and photograph the beautiful Tuscan countryside on these two days. However, we have three things in mind, and only two days to do it all, so need your valuable suggestions. Which two of the following three day-trips out of Florence should we go for ?

Day trip to the Chianti region and a couple of vineyards along with wine-tasting
Day trip to the Val d'Orcia region - Montalcino or Pienza
Day trip to the towns of Siena and San Gimignano

My husband is an avid photographer and capturing the rolling hills of Tuscany with white trails and Cypress trees, old villas on top of hills and the endless vineyards and olive groves will be like a dream come true for him.

We would love any suggestions that could help us have a great time.

Thanks!
Aks
 

Valentina

Well-known member
What to visit in 3 days in Tuscany

Dear aks_,

It's a very difficult choice, I have to say.

Your 3 options are all worth visiting and all 3 are perfect for being photographed.

Instead of excluding one of the three, I have a different suggestion, that might fit your plans. I suggest you divide your 2 days as follows:

- Chianti and San Gimignano - 1 day: you can do both on the same day. Departing from Florence you can take the Chiantigiana road and stop at Greve in Chianti and then Panzano. Along the way you find many wineries. On the way back to Florence, take the Firenze-Siena motorway to Poggibonsi and on to San Gimignano. At sunset, it will be gorgeous!
I recommend you read these articles so that you can have a better idea on planning a day out in Chianti and where to do wine tastings in Chianti.

- Siena and Val D'Orcia 1 day - I suggest you spend the morning in Siena and then drive through the Val D'Orcia. Montalcino, Montepulciano and Pienza aren't too far from Siena and the road is amazing. You drive through a stunning countryside and your husband will find many spots to picture.

Of course, you won't see all the things that these regions and cities have to offer but still you will take great pictures. It will probably be a challenge and very tiring, but I guarantee it's worth it :D

I hope my suggestions help you plan your holidays in Tuscany and you'll share your experience with us!
 

aks_

New member
Dear Valentina,

Thanks a lot for your lovely suggestions. They make a lot of sense and we will plan exactly as you suggested.

Thanks again, I will surely come back and post our experiences soon.

Best Regards
Aks_
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Dear Aks,

The itinerary Valentina proposes is doable but keep in mind it focuses on you dashing through the countryside with the goal of seeing as much as possible to take photographs, not really to stop and enjoy each place you visit. As long as you're fine with that, then the itinerary will work out fine.

Some tips to make the driving and stopping for photographs "stress-free":

- roads in Tuscany and Valdorcia are all two lane and curvy. Italian drivers like to pretend they are on a race track and like to go fast - slow down and let them pass you (they'll pass you even on curves as long as they have some space). It also gives you more room to have time to stop on the spur of a moment to take some photographs.

- the roads don't often have banks on the side where you can stop, but there are a lot of houses and farms with access off the main road into which you can turn into and stop... you can walk back a little way to get your shots.

- some of the best photographs are not taken from the main road... so take small detours and head onto unpaved roads and get out and walk a little ways in (without trespassing, of course). Some of the best shots in chianti: park in the village, then walk out of the village, take shots of the medieval towers and vineyards all around from a higher vantage point.

- lastly, remember to stay flexible with your schedule and enjoy each stop along the way! :) and buy a good road map of Tuscany before setting out, or bring along/rent a GPS!

Hope you have fun on your trip :)
 

q_olivia

New member
Dear Aks,

The itinerary Valentina proposes is doable but keep in mind it focuses on you dashing through the countryside with the goal of seeing as much as possible to take photographs, not really to stop and enjoy each place you visit. As long as you're fine with that, then the itinerary will work out fine.

Some tips to make the driving and stopping for photographs "stress-free":

- roads in Tuscany and Valdorcia are all two lane and curvy. Italian drivers like to pretend they are on a race track and like to go fast - slow down and let them pass you (they'll pass you even on curves as long as they have some space). It also gives you more room to have time to stop on the spur of a moment to take some photographs.

- the roads don't often have banks on the side where you can stop, but there are a lot of houses and farms with access off the main road into which you can turn into and stop... you can walk back a little way to get your shots.

- some of the best photographs are not taken from the main road... so take small detours and head onto unpaved roads and get out and walk a little ways in (without trespassing, of course). Some of the best shots in chianti: park in the village, then walk out of the village, take shots of the medieval towers and vineyards all around from a higher vantage point.

- lastly, remember to stay flexible with your schedule and enjoy each stop along the way! :) and buy a good road map of Tuscany before setting out, or bring along/rent a GPS!

Hope you have fun on your trip :)


Hi. May I know, if we are not planning to drive around, is there any other alternatives? Would we be able to complete the above itinerary via public transport or guided tour? If so, will you be able to recommend any private tour?
 
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