Tuscany is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Birthplace of the Renaissance, the cradle of culture, home to historically important cities and old villages. When sightseeing Florence or Siena you can just feel the art and culture in the air. But it’s the idyllic Tuscan countryside that blows you away. Winding roads, rolling hills, rows of cypress trees and endless grapevines. Nothing beats those gorgeous and picturesque views.
No matter the season, this Italian region looks like somewhere straight from a painting…or a postcard or a photo. So where should you go to see the best photo locations in the Tuscan countryside and capture the Tuscan essence and paint something even da Vinci would be jealous of or take the next National Geographic magazine cover photo?
Where are the best photo locations in the Tuscan countryside?
Tuscany is beautiful all over, but there’s one region, that seems to be winning in “the place where everyone goes and takes the same pictures” contest and this region is called: Val d’Orcia.
Val d’Orcia is a valley located in southern Tuscany, that extends from the hills south of Siena even further south to Monte Amiata. And yes, it’s true, that everyone seems to go there, but as always, it’s totally justified. Val d’Orcia and its surroundings are just full of iconic photo locations of the Tuscan countryside.
Where are they and how to find them?
Well, but before we go any further, you won’t see all these locations without a car. So check out my guide to driving in Tuscany.
1. Agriturismo Baccoleno
This was the first Tuscan photo location that we visited and it still remains one of my favourites. Even though it was super windy when we were there, we liked it so much, that we came back later to have a little sunset-watching picnic. Because yes, not only is it an iconic spot, it’s also a perfect place to watch the sunset. Wine, pizza and sunset colours. What more can you want!
Where is it: This, 100%-must-visit place is located between Asciano and a small town called San Giovanni d’Asso.
How to get there: Type Agriturismo Baccoleno in your Google maps and follow the road SP60. There will be a few pull-ins along the road, all very close to the driveway of the Agriturismo, so stop there. You shouldn’t turn into the driveway if you’re not staying there.
2. Cipressi di San Quirico d’Orcia
Those trees! If you sense a little bit of annoyance in my “voice”, you’re right. We tried to reach this iconic Tuscan photo location for like an hour, but had to admit defeat in the end. Only because, during the time we were in Tuscany, the usual parking place for this landmark (or at least I think it was the correct parking place) was closed due to construction work. Google really wanting to take us there, sent us on some bumpy dirt roads, which was too much for our little car. So this is my only photo of the famous Cipressi.
Where is it: The trees are located on the SR2 road between San Quirico d’Orcia and Torrenieri.
How to get there: Park in lay-bys on either side of the road SR2. But be careful! SR2 is quite a busy road, where you can drive up to 70km/h. If the parking spot is still closed, you can’t just stop on the side of the road.
3. Genna Borborini Maria Eva Farmhouse
Aka: Gladiator House. Well, it’s of course someone else’s house, but this property, actually the road leading to this property, was featured in the movie “Gladiator”. So if you’re a fan, you can’t miss this spot.
Where is it: the farmhouse is located just outside San Quirico d’Orcia when driving towards Pienza.
How to get there: follow the SP146. If you’re driving from San Quirico d’Orcia towards Pienza, the house will be on your left side. There’s a little space to pull over and take pictures through the gate. Just be respectful, it’s private property.
4. Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta
Another iconic photo location in the Tuscan countryside. Whatever your religious beliefs are, this little chapel is a must-see spot. Located on a little hill in the middle of the fields, this mystical building surrounded by cypress trees will charm you with its beauty. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most photographed Tuscan landmarks.
Where is it: The chapel is located “along” the road SP146, between San Quirico d’Orcia and Pienza.
How to get there: There are actually two ways you can admire it: from afar and from close up.
From afar: When driving on SP146 from San Quirico d’Orcia towards Pienza there’s a lay-by on the right side, where you can stop and see it from far away.
To actually visit it: When driving on SP146 from San Quirico d’Orcia towards Pienza, there’s a small sign post on the right side directing you to the Cappella. You have to turn onto a side road and drive around 2,5 km until you reach Parcheggio per Cappella. From there, leave your car, follow the sign and walk to the chapel around 500-600 meters. There’s a gate at the beginning, but don’t be scared, you can walk there. I guess.
5. Pienza city walls
When you pass all the amazing sights on the SP146 and finally reach Pienza, you shouldn’t miss a walk along it’s city walls. Pienza, being a UNESCO Heritage Site is gorgeous itself, but the view of Val d’Orcia stretching out from the city walls into the distance will blow your mind.
Where is it: In Pienza, Tuscany. Ha!
How to get there: Park your car in Parcheggio Seminario Vescovile (free parking, at least on a Sunday) and walk literally 30 seconds towards the city walls.
6. Palazzo Massaini
Impressive villas and farmhouses are part of the Tuscan landscape. In recent years, many of them were transformed into hotels or “agriturismo”. So if you want to, you can, I’d even say you should, stay in one of them to have a full Tuscan experience. We actually didn’t stay in Palazzo Massaini, we just spotted it while driving from Pienza to Monteplulciano, and couldn’t resist taking a picture.
Where is it: A few km outside Pienza, on the road SP146 towards Montepulciano.
How to get there: By car! Surprise, surprise! When driving along SP146 towards Montepulciano it will be on your left side.
7. Serpentine road of cypress trees
There many serpentine roads flanked with cypress trees in Val d’Orcia. Duh! But this one, is one of the most famous and most photographed. It starts in Monticchiello and leads to Chianciano Terme. But to take this picture you obviously can’t be driving along it. There’s a perfect spot though, where you can capture its beauty.
Where is it: Just outside of Monticchiello.
How to get there: from Monticchiello head south on the SP88 and turn onto the Via Campo Alla Piana (towards Azienda Agricola Pacini Anelida). Drive slowly up the hill, when you reach the top of the hill you can see it on the left side. If you reached Azienda Agricola, you went too far.
8. Row of cypress trees leading to Agriturismo Poggio Covili
Another iconic photo location in the Tuscan countryside. This driveway bordered by cypress trees leading to Poggio Covili presents probably the greatest straight line of cypress trees in the whole Val d’Orcia. It looks incredible when you’re on it, but appears even more spectacular from a distance. You simply shouldn’t miss the opportunity to stop and take a photo. But get ready to stand in a line.
Where is it: Just outside Bagno Vignoni, along SR2.
How to get there: When driving on SR2 from Bagno Vignoni towards Gallina, it will be on the left side.
Those are my 8 picks of the iconic photo locations in the Tuscan countryside. It might all seem a little bit confusing at the moment: complicated town names, the road numbers, secret places to park, but I promise you, that when you spend a few hours driving in Tuscany it will all make a perfect sense. And you also shouldn’t take a whole day from your itinerary just to chase these iconic Tuscan photo locations. You will likely come across most of those places when exploring Val d’Orcia, its surroundings and beautiful Tuscan towns. But it’s always nice to have a little guide like that, isn’t it?
In preparation for the trip, don’t forget to check out my useful tips on driving in Tuscany.
And if you have any questions, hit me up on Instagram.
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