Jason was certainly not thrilled about the idea of sunrise but with extra encouragement, he got dressed in a few layers and walked out with me. We went to the viewing spot where we took photos of the sunset yesterday and disappointingly, there was no fog covering the fields underneath Pienza; it wasn’t like what I saw on online photos. It was very chilly out too so we quickly walked back to the hotel to continue with our sleep.
After an extra hour of sleep or so, we got up for breakfast. The hotel breakfast was bad that they don’t even have croissants! I noticed the cakes and pies were leftovers from the previous day…who knows how many days prior yikes! The cherries were the small ones and the sliced pineapples were sour. I managed to take some bites of the tasteless scrambled eggs and drink a glass of milk then we took off to explore the heart of Tuscany.
The outdoor seatings where we had breakfast.
We took the SP18 from Pienza to the famous Val d’Orcia. Along on SP18, there were a few picturesque spots that we stopped for photos. There was literally no one except us so we drove slowly and whenever we saw something interesting, we look for a safe spot to park and take some photos. Those are the spots we found:
We walked over to this field with Pienza as the backdrop and set up the tripod to take a photo of us:
Then, we saw this wavy-patterned field.
Jason ran down the hill….this showed you the size of this massive wheat field!
On the opposite side is once again Pienza on the background. For this photo, Jason has to climb up to this field of wheat (haven’t harvest and the house looked abandoned).
From this higher perspective, you can see the hilltop town and the surrounding fields.
We continued driving on SP18 and almost near the end before turning onto SP53, we spotted the “golden” hills.
This one with what I called “marshmallows” and a lone tree.
Instead of turning left to Val d’Orcia, we continued and then turned right onto SP53 to SR2 to one of the famous photo spot – Poggio Covili. It’s a farmhouse with a road of cypress trees.
We saw a few cars pulled over on each side of the road…SR2 is quite busy compared to the other roads. There is a little road that you can walk down for this angle of the trees.
Straight on doesn’t look as good and it’s a private road!
After Poggio Covili, we turned back to SP53 to Val d’Orcia. I have to say there was no pull over openings along Val d’Orcia so be careful when you want to make a stop for photos. I found the scenic spot where surprisingly is marked on Google Maps as “Photo Spot Toscana”. The coordinates lead us to a little hill that we can drove in and park our car so we can walk out for the view of the curvy road.
In reality, we were that far away and partially blocked by this wheat field so I zoomed in all the way with my 24-70 mm lens to get the above shot.
On the same hill, you can get a nice photo of the village of Monticchiello:
Luckily, we were there a few minutes early and got the photo of the curvy road before they started to harvest the wheat and created this cloud of dust 😀
We got back to our car and continued with our drive where we passed by beautiful vineyards and hilltop towns as the backdrop.
Next, we drove to Montepulciano, one of the bigger towns in the area and they do have a few parking lots just beneath the town center. The rate was €4.50 for 2.5 hours. Montepulciano:
From the parking lot, it took a flight of long stairs to get up to the town center where we had lunch at Trattoria di Cagnano, a seafood restaurant as we were so sick of cheesy pasta and salty and dry meat. We got there just before they open so we had to wait for a few minutes. Jason found a spot to sit down and wait haha!
Their seafood spaghetti was acceptable considered the location, I would take this anytime over those cheesy pastas.
Also, we ordered calamari and it was pretty good.
The seafood lunch was €34.50. I wish there’s a seafood restaurant in Pienza; that was the only negative to stay in Pienza – limited food selection and just not the type we like.
After lunch, we checked out Montepulciano but unfortunately, their souvenirs are quite expensive – ceramics and arts.
At one of the lookout point up from the hilltown town:
The houses are typical Italian village style.
Then, we drove down to the Church of San Biagio; it’s huge for a small town.
The scenery beneath the church:
I couldn’t get the full church with the 24-70 mm lens, opps again!
We saw a photo of this church overlooking the surrounding hills but we couldn’t locate the spot. The closest was this where we parked up by the entrance of the town. Even here, the view was partially blocked by trees so wondered where those photos were taken at.
Continued on with our adventure, the next photo spot and probably the most scenic was Baccoleno…..a 40 minutes drive away. On the way, there are more rolling hills but nothing jumped out.
As it turned out to get the postcard spot of Agriturismo Baccoleno, you have to either trespass their private road or pull over on the main road just next to the private road entrance and then climb a hill from there. The hill to get there…there’s actually a path:
The most scenic photo spot in Tuscany, in my opinion, so it was really worth the 40 minutes drive for the pictures!
I wish we stay near here so we can come here for sunrise/sunset photos 🙁
After that spot, we headed back to Pienza as it was getting late. More rolling hills on the way:
Once we got back to the hotel, we took a short rest before heading out for dinner. I did some looking at TripAdvisor and found a grill restaurant – Toscana Grill. Jason ordered lamb racks and he said those were good, not much lamby taste, tender, and juicy!
I got a hamburger which turned out to be better than I expected, I much preferred this than the salty and dry roasted pig/duck! It was a quick dinner for €38 so we can make it to take sunset photos.
This time, we chose to go back to Chapel Vitaleta as that’s the nearest picturesque spot with an open field and the sun setting behind the church. Open fields and rolling hills with Pienza as the backdrop.
We walked quickly to the church after we parked our car – it was a good 10 minutes walk or so to reach there and the sun was setting! Warning…….there were a lot of annoying small flies and I didn’t bring the insect repellent 🙁 We had to keep moving our hands to keep them out of our face grrrr! The sunset, although not colorful, was very summer-like so it made the whole atmosphere very golden.
We were the only ones there facing this side with the sun setting on the back.
After the sunset, we went to the front side of the church where a few photographers and visitors were on, I don’t think this side looks as interesting as facing the sun, what do you think?
We didn’t stay for long since it was a long way to walk back to our car and we don’t want to be eaten alive by those annoying flies. There is another lone tree, Jason asked if I want to walk down there, I said no thanks! I handed him the camera so he’ll go down to take some photos while I waited on the road.
This was the closest he got to before turning back…it was a much further walk away and the perspective wasn’t what he thought of…..lone tree with the town as the backdrop.
With a full day of searching for the best photo spots in Tuscany, we were super tired! We couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and sleep! Of all the photo spots, my favorite is Agriturismo Baccoleno!