A road trip in the hills of Tuscany is one of the best ways to experience this Italian gem. By doing so, you may just find the perfect avenue to “follow your bliss” on your next holiday abroad.
There’s a reason why this area features so prominently in calendars and coffee table books, not to mention fiction and film. Images of Tuscany’s manicured landscapes, window shutters and flowerboxes spark the imagination as few places can. So do what the artists do who have come here to find inspiration by ditching the organized tours and charting your own path.
Walking Along Montalcino’s Walls / Brian Bragdon
You can hardly go wrong in designing your own itinerary. For example, the drive from Montalcino to Montepulciano is classic Tuscany that draws one’s attention to wheat fields, vineyards, distant villages and castles. And the SR2 from Buonconvento is a landscape characterized by cypress trees and farmhouses.
Or let your itinerary unfold day by day, as Tuscany’s little pleasures come by way of an openness to what lies around the next bend. Many smaller roads intersect with the main ones that offer much to be explored.
Simply put—getting lost here can be a delight. Either way, ask around, as many locals are happy to point out places on your map that are worth exploring.
For my experience, I took the SR2 southeast out of Siena in the late morning. I stopped at the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, a beautiful Benedictine monastery. There’s a patio café on site where I had lunch before exploring the grounds and renowned frescoes.
Later in the afternoon, I made for the medieval walled hilltown of Montalcino, where I stayed for the evening. It’s noted for its Bruno di Montalcino red wine, and has commanding views of the region surrounding it.
The next morning, I eventually made my way northward into Asciano, and then up into the Chianti region exploring vineyards in the afternoon. Late in the day I cut west for my accommodation—a farmstay between San Gimignano and Pongibonsi—a perfect way to cap off a couple of days of wandering through Tuscany..
Exploring Tuscany’s Chianti Region / Brian Bragdon
Rent a car
The larger towns of Florence, Siena, and Pisa are popular gateways for beginning your journey, and for renting a car—though you’ll probably want to avoid picking up your car until you leave as the frenetic pace and narrow streets in these cities are very stressful to navigate for the unaccustomed. Also, the smaller the car rented the better, as the country roads are also narrow, and many scenic stops alongside them were not designed as pullouts.
Of course, there are other popular ways to explore Tuscany, too: by bicycle, motorcycle, and even walking (both guided and self-guided).
With spring officially here, many Orlando residents are planning a trip abroad. And Tuscany will be a popular offering, well into the shoulder season this fall.
Book your airfare now for a Tuscan holiday.
© 2010 Brian Bragdon for beepwire.com.
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