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.
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.