Yesterday we loaded up the 9 passenger van with the 6 of us and all our luggage and camera gear and hit the autostrada for the 3 hour journey from Pisa to Pienza. Stopping only once along way for a very modern Italian experience: A quick panini at an Autogrill, which is a large restaurant/shopping complex, straddling the Autostrada.

After checking into our B&B, Camere Andrei, we took a guided tour of the Papal Palace in Pienza, the family home of a former pope. We had an opportunity to photograph the beautiful open courtyard and garden of the palace . Later we went to one of the most panoramic coffee bars in all of Italy (I think that we can safely say, “All of the world”), for cappucinos and sun and fantastic quintessentially Tuscan views.

We still had a couple of hours before sunset so we piled into the van for the short drive to Terrapile,  a farmhouse just below Pienza that was the location for some of the scenes from the movie “Gladiator.” After a couple of hours it was time to head back to Pienza for our dinner reservations but we were not going to budge Frits and Cacky from this location as there was still half an hour of light available. So I dropped Stephanie, Elaine, and Magrit at the restaurant in Pienza and then returned to Terrapile to collect Frits and Cacky who were still shooting even though the sun had dipped below the horizon. We had to threaten Frits with spending the night in a wheat field if he didn’t collect his gear and get into the van. I also think that thoughts of a nice Brunello at dinner helped as well.

Off to San Gimignano today. The weather is stellar!

Elaine in Pienza

Stephanie in Pienza

Cacky @ Terrapile

Frits @ Terrapile

Frits & Cappucino

Magrit in Pienza