My wife and I have just come back from Tuscany. We spent two of our three vacation weeks there. Seeing as we didn’t have to bring any kids, we brought our photo gear instead. Here are some of the images and experiences. Should you intend to go do a photography vacation in Tuscany I hope these proof helpful to you.
Although we have been to Italy a number of times, we had never seen Tuscany (other than two visits to Florence). Really it was the movies that created our interest: for my wife it was ‘Room with a View’ (with Helena Bonham Carter); for me it was Gladiator (with Russell Crowe). These movies, and many others, show the beautiful Tuscan landscape.
I suppose I should have done more advance research. My wife and I just packed up the car and went :-). We both have very busy lives and we figured we’d find our way around while there. We did — bit a little research would have been helpful.
For instance, we might have picked a different time of year. One reason Tuscany is so beautiful is the endless rolling hills with wheat fields. The wheat, however, is harvested in July. We were there in August. The acres were barren. Mind you, the rolling hills are still beautiful, but not quite in the way we had imagined.
Also, we did not realize how large Tuscany is. Like Italy, Holland has provinces. You can drive across each of these in about 45 minutes. Tuscany is a little bigger. Driving from one end to the other can take the better part of a day. There are highways, but most of the roads are two-lane and curve endlessly. Wonderful for sight seeing!
Given the size of Tuscany I would recommend you pick where you want to go. All over Tuscany there are cute villages and cities, but some places are more beautiful than others. The two most beautiful regions are Val d’Orcia (near Sienna and Pienza) and Chianty (around Florence)..
Speaking of roads: Italian roads are not in great condition. But the real beauty starts when you take your car of the main (tarmac) roads, on to the gravel roads. That’s when you get to the real beautiful places. Not great for your tires (somewhere in Italy I seem to have lost one of my hubcaps), but worth your while if you are after great images!
Let me end with a lens tip. Most landscape photographers work with wide-angle lenses. And while I brought my 14-24mm lens and used it a lot, I also used my 70-200mm/f2.8 and my 70-300mm/f5.6 a lot! There were every bit as useful.
I have put three image collections drom our holiday online:
Much of Tuscany looks like this: