Month: September 2016

The 10 best spots in Tuscany for a photographer

1. The cities from above

The view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo takes your breath away. You can reach by car and you can park (for a fee).

To grasp the particular shape of Piazza del Campo in Siena you have to climb the steps (for a fee) of the Mangia Tower, adjacent to the town hall. From there you can take a look at the whole city and the surrounding countryside.

You can also admire Arezzo from the Municipal Tower (only with guided tour on Saturday). On one side it overlooks the impressive Cathedral, while on the other you have a view over the red rooftops of the city, interrupted every so often by the domes and bell towers of the churches.

The cities of Pisa and Lucca have a different conformation of the territory, mostly flat. The best way to see them is from above thanks to the walkways on the walls (for a fee)

2. Postcards from Val D’Orcia: the grove of cypresses and the Chapel of Vitaleta

Perhaps one of the most photographed icons of Tuscany. The grove is visible from SR2, between San Quirico d’Orcia and Torrenieri. A comfortable pitch allows you to stop in the vicinity, and a path allows you to walk on the road that surrounds the hill and then to photograph the grove from different angles. To reach the chapel of Vitaleta you must take a little detour on the road from Pienza to San Quirico D’Orcia.

3. The Tuscan countryside

From spring to autumn our countryside always has something to show:
– In May green wheat
– In June, the golden wheat
– In July / August sunflowers
– The round bales in August
– The grape ripens in September
– The foliage and autumn colors in October

4. The Crete Senesi

The best way to visit the Crete Senesi is to get lost in the myriad of dirt roads that wind through Taverne d’Arbia and Rapolano.
On found several indications on the way ahead.

5. The view of Lake Trasimeno seen from the hill of Cortona

Cortona is surrounded by olive groves that slowly descend to the lake. It is an idyllic landscape that should not be very different from what they saw the Etruscans more than two thousand years ago.
In winter, when there is fog it seems to observe a cotton sea.
The vantage point is to Piazza Garibaldi, before entering the pedestrian area. Who wants to can climb higher, to the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita.

6. Hot air ballooning over the Val d’Orcia

It starts very early in the morning, when the wind is calmer, and then climb slowly up to 1000 mt. The very slow time of this ascent and descent, allow to portray the landscape from different points of view.
For information

7. The carpet of cultivated fields

The Tuscan countryside is very tidy, despite the difficulties that sometimes meet with the hilly terrain. It is so organized that it looks like a carpet sewed with pieces of different colors and patterns. This type of landscape can be admired all year long from the top of the hills of Montalcino, Montepulciano and Pienza.

8. San Galgano

The church without roof, beautiful during the day (especially in spring, when the games of the clouds offer special lighting effects), but even at night, thanks to a wise lighting. There’s an entrance fee to visit the interior, otherwise you can walk in the surrounding countryside.

9. The pool of Bagno Vignoni

At the center of the small village of Bagno Vignoni is this old tank that collects the source of the thermal waters. It is said that where the gushing water can support a pan and cook an egg.
Are very beautiful colors of the stone during the several hours a day, but also night lighting gives the evocative images.

10. San Gimignano and its towers

One of the points from which to have a broad view of the towers and the countryside, is the Cortenanno road, which runs parallel to the hill where lies the city. You can stop at several points and take pictures from different distances and angles.

Shopaholic in Tuscany

After a trip to Tuscany you can not go home without taking away a memory of this land, there are those who choose the crafts, some who prefers natural products and those who needs to renew their wardrobe. All are satisfied:

1. Shopping outlets

The Valdichiana Outlet Village, is five-minute drive from La Lisa. On rainy days you can enjoy waking by the shops’ windows, thanks to the paths of the village that are covered by canopies. You will find many sports shops and lots of clothing brands.
The Prada Outlet is located in the town of Levanella near Montevarchi. There you can find almost everything: shoes, bags, leather goods and clothing, all by Prada, and more or less affordable.
The Mall is an upscale outlet in Leccio, near Reggello. There are the most prestigious brands, obviously at outlet prices.
Barberino Designer Outlet is a nice stop in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. It is suitable to the shopping of the whole family because there are so many brands of clothing and accessories.

2. The Factory Shop of UnoAErre

The showroom of the historic goldsmith brand, is located in San Zeno, near Arezzo. You can also visit the adjoining Gold Museum which houses masterpieces of jewelry from art nouveau to the present day.

3. The Casentino Whool

The factory that produces the beautiful coats in wool of the Casentino is in Stia, in the province of Arezzo, in the Casentino landscape. Annexed to the factory there is the direct sales where you can buy coats, capes, hats and woolen bags in Casentino whool, with its typical colors ranging from orange to turquoise to green to bright red and brick .
For information:

4. The Leather products in San Lorenzo market in Florence

Sometimes we can not recognize what is really produced in Tuscany and what does not, what is truly of the workshop and what cakes from the shed full underpaid workers. The fact remains that one of the most fun things to do in Florence, is walking around the market of San Lorenzo, surrounded by the scent of leather dangling from the stalls in the form of jackets and bags.

5. The Busatti’s linens for the home

Busatti is the historical brand that produces fine home textiles. Their products are famous all over the world but in Anghiari is still possible to visit their shop in Via Mazzini.
For information:

6. The natural products, pharmaceutical and beauty

In Tuscany we are still accustomed to the remedy “of the monk”, so sometimes we go up in the pharmacies of the monasteries to buy those natural elixir that make us feel good. In the pharmacies of the monasteries in Camaldoli and Vallombrosa it is possible to find a bit of everything, syrups, beauty products, perfumes, but also jams and liqueurs.
But the most important reality in the area is Aboca, the leading natural cosmetics production. Its headquarters is located in a stately building in Sansepolcro, which also houses the Museum of Herbs and Health in the Centuries. Not far from the town there is the farm where herbs are grown.

7. The Petroio terracotta and Montelupo ceramics

For centuries in Petroio they produce top-quality pottery: jars, vases and decorations that go to adorn our gardens. These are not colored earthenware, they remain with their characteristic reddish color and are suitable for furnishing outdoor environments.
In Petroio is also possible to visit the Museo della Terracotta.
In Montelupo the ceramics are processed and colored with beautiful shades of blue, green and yellow. There are lots of artisans offering objects in ancient or contemporary style, the shops are overflowing with dishes, pots and decorations for the home.
In Montelupo is also possible to visit the Museo della Ceramica.

8. Volterra alabaster

Volterra countryside is rich in Alabaster and each of the slots is able to provide a different type of stone. Inside the city you can buy many alabaster artifacts, manufactured by expert craftsmen of the area.

9. The antiques and modern art

Lovers of antiques and modern art can not miss the Antique Fair in Arezzo which is held every first Sunday of the month (and the Saturday before it). Dozens of exhibitors are located in the city center: walking by the fair you can see furniture, paintings, old books, modern antiques, collectibles, ethnic decor and many curious objects.

10. Chocolate

After all this shopping, you need to take a break with a little bit of chocolate…
A mandatory step is the chocolate of Venchi in Florence, in front of the Porcellino market.
In Arezzo you can stop at chocolate Vestri, which will show you many types of chocolate, processed in the most imaginative ways.

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