Tag Archives: San Quirico d’Orcia

Tuscany Road Trip

Tuscany Road Trip – Day 2

April 2016

The 2nd day of our Tuscan road trip, we are taking the country road to visit several Tuscan towns. This route will cover Pienza, Montefollonico, Montepulciano, La Foce, Radiocofini with Hotel Borgo Antico at Monteroni d’Arabia being the last stop for the day.

We left Hotel Garibaldi heading east to the town of Pienza. It’s a short 10km drive taking 15 minutes. Once we are on SP146, the Tuscan beauty begins to unfold. You will start to see the beautiful Tuscan countryside with cypress trees leading to farm houses. The SP146 offers several road shoulders for you to park to admire and take photos of the landscape.

Tuscany Road Trip

Route map of our day 2 Tuscany Road Trip. Click to enlarge.

Tuscany Road Trip

Heading east on SP146 there are several spots with ample road shoulder for you to park.

Tuscany Road Trip

Cypress trees leading to farm-house or in some instances to high end B&B.

Tuscany Road Trip

Mid April and green all around.

Tuscany Road Trip

A typical Tuscan country side view on SP146.

Pienza is a small town in the beautiful valley of Val d’Orcia amidst gentle undulating hills and wonderful natural landscapes. Pienza stands atop a hill with extraordinary views of the Orcia Valley. The town was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 and later in 2004, the entire Val d’Orcia was included on the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes. With two UNESCO’s list, you will naturally be rewarded with magnificent views upon views of the Tuscan countryside.

Tuscany Road Trip

sampaisudah.com reached Pienza.

Tuscany Road Trip

Edge of Pienza town.

Arriving Pienza from San Quirico d’OCrcia, drive straight to the parking lot as shown below. The parking lot is limited but do be patient for one. Thereafter, proceed to the viewing point as indicated. There are concrete benches for you to sit and take in the views. Here, you will be rewarded with the magnificent views of the Val d’Orcia valley right up to the mountains. This captivating views will be etched in your memory for some time. You will regret if you miss this.

If looking down the valley isn’t enough, drive down via SP18 for a reverse view of Pienza. We did just that. From down there, looking up you will see Pienza majestically atop of the hill. After more than an hour, we left Pienza for Montefollonico.

Tuscany Road Trip

View point of Val d’Orcia from Pienza town. Click for enlarged map.

Tuscany Road Trip

Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany. A Unesco world cultural landscape.

Tuscany Road Trip

Pienza town looking downhill.

Tuscany Road Trip

Magnificent views from atop of Pienza town.

Tuscany Road Trip

Another section of the country side from Pienza town towards the mountains..

Tuscany Road Trip

A typical sight around Tuscany. Cypress trees leading to farm-house.

Tuscany Road Trip

Agriculture activities not yet commenced in mid April. Views on SP18.

Tuscany Road Trip

Pienza town from below the hills on SP18.

From Pienze, we stayed on the SP146 towards Mantefollonico, another town on the hills 11km away. Halfway on the SP146, take a left into SP15 that will take you to Mantefollonico. There are also nice views here but the route from Mantefollonico to Montepulciano is what awed us. Take the country road Str. dei Colli until it meets the SP135. From the town, it’s all the way downhill and towards your left and right its pure Tuscan country sight with farms and vineyards. Awesome. Green as far as you can see.

Tuscany Road Trip

Town of Montefollonico.

Tuscany Road Trip

Country side view of Montefollonico.

Tuscany Road Trip

Rolling greens of Montefollonico.

Tuscany Road Trip

Country road Str. dei Colli that will meet SP135 to take us to the next town of Monteoulciano.

Once the country road meets SP135, turn right to head to Montepulciano, a medieval and renaissance hill town 9km away. Later when the SP135 meets SP17, take another right till you reach the town. Again nice views as the rest of the other towns but difficult to find a spot to enjoy it. Montepulciano by comparison is mush bigger and busier and you’ll find traffic lights here. It is a major producer of food and drink.

Tuscany Road Trip

Montepulciano.

Tuscany Road Trip

Town of Montepulciano on the hills.

Tuscany Road Trip

From the hills looking down to the farms below.

From Montepulciano, take the SP88 heading to La Foce. This route is a bit tricky. After 7.5km, the road branches to the right, still called SP88. Drive straight and you will hit a dirt road which is still SP88 where at some spot, it is too narrow for two vehicles to pass. The ground is hard so you don’t need a 4-wheel. Keep on this road for about 4km until you reach the intersection with SP40. Cross over to the other side straight ahead and you’ll see this famed photographed cypress trees. At this view-point, you’ll need to crop your photo to avoid power lines.

Take the SP40 downhill for about 600m and to your left is a parking lot where again you will be able to photograph the cypress tress and the winding road. Opposite the parking lot is the Dopolavoro restaurant & bar. Drive down for another 900m and to your right is the entrance to road leading up to the cypress tress and that winding road.

Tuscany Road Trip

La Foce. Another popularly photographed Tuscan spot, Strada di Valoresi. Cypress trees, winding road and farm-house.

Tuscany Road Trip

Strada di Valoresi photographed from below the hills.

Tuscany Road Trip

Clay Hills and Olive trees of La Foce.

Staying on the SP40 we then took a left onto SR2 onwards to Radiocofani, another town up on the hills. This section of the SR2 is a sigle carriage motorway. About 5km ahead, after a petrol station turn left onto SS478 that will lead up to Radicofani. This will be an uphill drive with fantastic mountain views as you get further up. We actually stopped by the roadside that has a picnic bench and had our lunch under the ble sky with endless view to the mountains.

Tuscany Road Trip

The rolling hills of Radiocofani.

Tuscany Road Trip

Farm house by the hill-side.

Tuscany Road Trip

Views on the way to Radiocofani.

Radiocofani was the last town we visited and we are then off to our hotel in Monteroni d’Arabia. For our 2nd day, we had travelled a distance of 122km and were truly amazed at the beautiful sights Tuscany has to offer. To enjoy this, you have to drive. We are pretty sure there is no similar tour package itinerary similar to what we’ve enjoyed and have experienced.

Tuscany Road Trip

Cyrpess trees leading to ‘Poggio Covili’, an upscale resort.

Tuscany Road Trip

Located at Castiglione d’Orcia on the route to our hotel at Monteroni d’Arabia.

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Tuscany Road Trip Tuscany Road Trip

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Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

Hotel Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d’Orcia

April 2016

Our hotel for the 1st night of our day trip is ‘Il Garibaldi‘ at San Quirico d’Orcia. It is located just off the SR2 and adjoining a Tamoil petrol station. Although just by SR2, the little traffic and properly sealed window kept outside noise away. We did get a good night’s sleep even though our room is facing the SR2. It’s a small hotel with 6 rooms facing the SR2 and another 6 facing the country side. The hotel also has its own restaurant albeit during our stay it’s almost empty.

Il Garibaldi does not have a lift and you do need to climb more than 20 flights of stairs. Something tough for the elderly with laggage.The rooms are adequate in size but fixtures are a little dated. Although highly rated in Tripadvisor, I find this hotel basic and satisfactory. However, their wi-fi is superbly strong and stable. No lagging on downloads or on facetime half way across the world. Free parking available within the hotel compound.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

Hotel Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d’Orcia.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

Hallway to the rooms.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

One Queen and a non requested single bed.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

Closet in the room.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

A non working CTV in the room.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

Bathroom.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

The hotel adjoining to the petrol station.

Il Garibaldi, San Quirico d'Orcia

How close are the pumps? Picture taken from the window of our room. The SR2 regional road in-front.

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Tuscany Road Trip

Tuscany Road Trip – Day 1

April 2016

Straight out of the parking lot of the rent a car at Florence airport, we drove with the assistance of HERE Maps mobile app to our final destination for the day, hotel ‘Il Garibaldi’ at San Quirico d’Orcia. It is a 130km drive, through the E35 highway, SR222 & SR2. The E35 highway runs from Amsterdam to Rome and SR refers to Strada Regionale or regional road. The usage of E35 will incur toll while the SR222 & SR2 has no toll. Both the E & SR are left hand drive, the E being a dual carriageway whilst the SR is single carriageway (at some point a little narrow). Sad to say, the SR has few spots you can park to enjoy the beautiful and breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside as it basically has no road shoulder. That being said, you just have to register the views to your memory instead of your SD card.

Malaysian drivers would require an International Driving Permit to drive in Italy. The IDP cost RM150 valid for 1 year that covers many other countries as well. You can apply for an IDP at your JPJ office by filling a simple form. You need to produce your driving licence (valid for another 1 year), ID & 2 copies of passport size photo. The IDP is issued on the spot and is a 5 minutes process but waiting for your queue number to be called, is entirely a different matter.

We have no specific itineraries for our road trip, but just to drive and take in the Tuscan views as what we have seen in TV, magazines and internet. Naturally visiting the Tuscan region at different time of the year, you will see different vegetation but by mid April the Tuscan is already green.

So, is Tuscany a town? Italy is composed of 20 regions, Tuscany is one of them. Tuscany is made up of ten provinces i.e. Florence, Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena. It is in central Italy with a land area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million. In Italian, Tuscany is Toscana and its capital is Florence. Though Tuscany is referred as a region in Italy, it is equivalent to a state elsewhere.

Tuscany is famous for its picturesque landscapes, medieval villages, historical towns, castles, churches and abbeys. It is famous for its wine and the wine growing region of Chianti is in Tuscany. Whilst we took numerous pictures, some of it we are not sure of its location. So, excuse us if the pictures has no caption.

Tuscany Road Trip

Definitely on SR222 as stated on the board.

Tuscany Road Trip

Another section of SR222. Narrow road with little opportunity to park by the road shoulder.

Tuscany Road Trip

Day 1 of our Tuscany Road trip from Florence to San Quirico d’Orcia. Click to enlarge.

Tuscany Road Trip

Hillside view. Location : La Presura.

Tuscany Road Trip

Farmhouse in vineyard. Location : Chiocchio

Tuscany Road Trip

Entrane to Castello Vicchiomaggio at Le Bolle. An upscale hotel with infinity pool.

Tuscany Road Trip

Location : La Bolle.

Tuscany Road Trip

Location : La Bolle.

Tuscany Road Trip

Fattoria Montagliari is a small family owned and run farm producing wine. Location : Greve in Chianti.

Tuscany Road Trip

On the hilltop by SR222 overlooking Montagliari.

Tuscany Road Trip

Same spot above, different area.

Tuscany Road Trip

Vineyard by the roadside. Location : Panzano.

Tuscany Road Trip

Unknown location.

Tuscany Road Trip

This most photographed cypress trees is just off the SR2 after a bridge on your right. About 9km heading into San Quirico d’Orcia town.

Tuscany Road Trip

San Quirico d’Orcia seen from behind our hotel.

We started our drive from Florence airport at 10:30 and reached our hotel ‘II Garibaldi’ in San Quirico d’Orcia at 16:40. Once checked-in, we did an evening drive as indicated in the map below. We back tracked onto SR2 and then onto SP137 (Strada Provinciale abbreviated as SP meaning provincial road) until we reached the village of Torrenieri 7.5kms away. Along the route, you will be rewarded with beautiful country side views. If you are not intending to venture further than San Quirico, this route itself is worth the drive. This route do not incur tolls.

From the village, we then drove onto SP14 which leads us back onto SR2 which earlier we were on it coming from Florence. On this SR2, 4km before reaching San Quirico, on your right after crossing a bridge, you will see the famed spot of Cypress trees (photo above & below) is located. There is space after the bridge on the road shoulder for 4-5 cars to park.

Tuscany Road Trip

Our route map around San Quirico d’Orcia. That famed spot for cypress trees is marked. Click to enlarge map.

Tuscany Road Trip

That cypress trees again.

Tuscany Road Trip

The bridge as seen from the spot of the cypress trees.

Tuscany Road Trip

Farmhouse on a hill slope.

Tuscany Road Trip

Lone tree by the SP137

Tuscany Road Trip

It’s green in Tuscany in mid April.

Tuscany Road Trip

Another farmhouse on a hill slope.

Tuscany Road Trip

Hill slope bathe in the evening sunlight.

Tuscany Road Trip

Village by the SP137.

Tuscany Road Trip

A small vineyard along the route.

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