Virtual Photo Tour 2 | La Bella Toscana

We decided to create these Virtual Photo Tours to keep us all connected to the places and friends we love in Europe or, alternatively, would love to meet someday. We do this visually through our own images and through drone footage if we can find it online to give you a sense of the lay of the land. We also add our personal experiences and introduce you to unique regional cuisine and music — touching on all the aspects that make traveling so tasty and exciting.

Join us this week to celebrate our tenth anniversary of guiding photo tours in Europe all of which started with 4 courageous souls who joined us on our very first tour in Tuscany.

DAY 1 (May 8 and Oct 20 | 2021)

Today, we meet you at the airport in Pisa. Shouldn’t be a problem to squeeze all of you into our two 9-passenger vans and then take off for the 3-hour drive from Pisa to Pienza in the beautiful Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This charming hill town in the heart of Tuscany will be our home for the next week. Most of the iconic images we’ll be photographing are within a radius of a 30-minute drive.

From our base in Pienza, we will visit the medieval hill towns of Montepulciano, Montalcino, Monticchiello, San Quirico d’ Orcia, and Castiglione d’ Orcia and venture south to the ancient Etruscan town of Pitigliano.

On some days, you will have the option to rise (very) early to capture images such as a quintessential Tuscan farmhouse at blue hour and in the early morning light with mist rising in the valley before enjoying your first well-deserved cappuccino.

After settling into our cozy hotel and being welcomed by the owners, Marco and Paola, we’ll take a first stroll through Pienza, our all-time favorite hill town. It doesn’t get any more romantic than the tiny “Via dell’Amore” (street of love) and “Via del Bacio” (street of the kiss). And walking along Pienza’s main street, the Via Rosselini, we get a whiff of the famous local Pecorino cheese floating out of many small specialty food stores.

Charming Pienza in the Val d”Orcia

We like to think of ourselves as travelers rather than tourists and our approach to this photo tour reflects our slow travel philosophy. By spending 7 nights based in one location, we will be able to experience the daily rhythms of life in a small Tuscan town.

Before dinner, we’ll venture outside of the city walls and photograph our first sunset at the nearby “Terrapille” farmhouse. This is one of the most photogenic scenes in Tuscany and was even featured in the movie Gladiator (for a second or 2). Still love Russel Crowe’s acting but he sure ain’t the Gladiator anymore (but I digress).

Quintessential cypresses on the way to the photogenic Terrapille farmhouse

And where would you like to go for our first dinner? To Sylvana’s Ristorante Dal Falco, or maybe to Trattoria La Buca delle Fate, or the Trattoria Latte di Luna? And there are many more to choose from. Regardless, we’re looking forward to our first taste of pasta with wild boar ragu.

Terapile without the Gladiator

RECIPE for DAY 1

Wild boar are a nuisance especially in wine country where they can cause some serious damage rooting around the grapes. However, as poetic justice will have it, they’re also quite tasty in a stew or made into pasta sauce. Towns like Montalcino have organized boar hunts where hunters chase down the creatures together and then divide up the meat. In case you have some wild boar threatening your victory garden, check out the recipe for wild boar ragu here. » 

Here’s a short slideshow showcasing some of our favorite locations to photograph in this area:

We hope to see you for the next installment tomorrow — ci vediamo domani!