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Visit Some of the Most Photographed Places in Tuscany with VBT

Tuscany landscape

Tuscany is one of the most heralded regions in Italy and is known for beautiful scenery, artistic history and amazing cuisine and local vineyards. Between its Mediterranean coast, historic architecture, hilltop villages, medieval cities and rolling hills, there are plenty of chances to take some amazing pictures of Tuscany while on your vacation. With 5 tours in the region, VBT takes travelers on a variety of adventures and there will be plenty of photo ops along the way—so don’t leave your camera back at the hotel!  Here are a few of the most photographed places in Tuscany.

Val D’Orcia + Siena (found on Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​)
A7 31008 T2033TUPAX, Tuscany Italy
Between the rolling hills and chalk plains of Val D’Orcia—Orcia River Valley—is where you’ll find a lot of iconic agricultural landscapes seen in many Renaissance paintings. The cypress trees, poppy blooms and hilltop castles and villas that dot the region make for some breathtaking imagery. The area is also close to some amazing medieval villages like San Gimignano. With VBT, you’ll also visit Siena, which is the embodiment of a medieval city. Throughout history, the town has preserved its Gothic appearance, which was developed between the 12th and 15th centuries. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was created as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. Don’t miss the Siena Cathedral as the façade alone is worth the visit.

Florence (found on both The Tuscan Coast​ & Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany)
Florence Italy

Four of our Tuscan vacations begin with an optional pre-extension spending two magical days in Florence, the art lover’s paradise. Tuscany boasts more classified historical monuments than any other region in the world, and the most dazzling are in Florence. The Renaissance began here, and the period’s great works of art are on display throughout the city. Florence is a great city to explore on foot and has many attractions concentrated in the relatively small historic center stretching from Piazza del Duomo south to the Arno River. At night try heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which has a great view overlooking the city.

Lucca + Pisa (found on Cycling Italy’s Middle Ages: Lucca to Pisa​)Pisa
During our stay in Lucca, we’ll ride atop the city’s famous Renaissance city walls with their large and well-beaten avenues created for pedestrians and bikers. Photographers will rejoice in the views inward towards the city as well as outward towards the Apuan Alps—not too far from where Michelangelo used to personally choose the big blocks of marble that he used to craft his iconic sculptures. You’ll also spend an afternoon in Pisa at one of the most outstanding piazzas in the world: Campo dei Miracoli. Here you can get some great shots of the famous leaning tower, the cathedral, baptistery and cemetery.

Giglio Island (found on Tuscany by the Sea)
View from Giglio Castello
For classic coastal scenery, we’ll board a ferry to Giglio Island, arriving in the village of Giglio Porto. During our afternoon stay take some photos in the walled hilltop town of Giglio Castello, dominated by a fortress called the Rocca Pisana. This town is the oldest inhabited center on the island and still retains much of its medieval atmosphere. For dramatic coastal views, be sure to bring your camera to Campese Beach where we’ll eat lunch and spend some free time swimming or relaxing on the beach. Ample photography chances await you on an optional hike along the Faraglione cliffs, where some 700 different species of wildflowers and plants grow in this remote little corner of Tuscany.

These are just a few examples of the spectacular places to take photographs in Tuscany while on tour with VBT. To read more about our Italian vacations, please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

The Food of the Italian Lakes

Dinner on lake Como
The Italian Lakes region is known for its beautiful alpine scenery as well as the luxurious villas that dot the shores of Lake Como. On our Walking the Italian Lakes vacation, travelers will walk amazing mountain paths, visit colorful gardens andCaprese Salad also explore some of the most picturesque towns in Italy. Of course the cuisine in Italy is worth a trip alone and the lakes region is no different. The food of Lake Como, Lake Orta, and Lake Maggiore tends to be a hearty mix of meat, pasta, fish and bountiful produce in the summer months. On this vacation we’ll get to dine at lakeside restaurants and local trattorias, sample wines, enjoy a hosted lunch on a family farm, peruse a bustling summer market and even eat fresh fish on the aptly named Isola dei Pescatori—translated as ‘Fisherman’s Island’—which is just a short boat ride from our hotel in Stresa.

Local Restaurants
Lakeside Restaurant Bellagio
As with any VBT vacation, there are a mix of group meals as well as time to venture into town on your own. During a lunch stopover, you can find one of the amazing restaurants in Bellagio, Italy to try. Known for its 12th-century basilica, Meat and Cheese plate Italycobblestone streets and stone staircases, Bellagio also has many delicious places to eat, often right on the lake. We recommend sampling some of the local cheeses made from goat or sheep milk as well as Parma ham, which is dry-cured and served uncooked in thin slices. If you’d like to try some pasta, this region is known for some heartier dishes like gnocchi and ravioli.  If you’d like a recommendation, our local Trip Leaders always have the inside information on some of the best restaurants to try.

Later in the trip we’ll have a great meal at one of the trattorias of Stresa, Italy on the aforementioned Isola dei Pescatori,Lake Perch where fresh seafood is the specialty. Trout and perch are very common in Lake Maggiore and both smoked and fried options are common at the trattorias on the island. The sunsets are especially lovely here, imagine soaking in the view while sipping a glass of local wine before our lakeside dinner.

Farm to Table
Enoteca in Orta san Gulio
Of course VBT vacations also come with included tastings and home-hosted meals. On this vacation we’ll stop for lunch at an enoteca—Italian wine bars which usually pair local wines and food— in Orta San Gulio. Here we’ll treat our taste buds with Piedmontese wines and local dishes like bagna cauda, a fondue-like dip made with butter, garlic and anchovies and served with crostini, truffles and vegetables. We’ll also visit a small farm in Coiromonte known for producing excellent cheese, which we’ll have the opportunity to sample during a picnic lunch prepared for us by the farm’s owners. Our feast also includes local specialties made with organic vegetables grown in the owners’ garden.

Markets Lenno Market
Summertime in the Italian Lakes is a wonderful time to eat fresh. Local producers often bring their wares to village centers for weekly markets. We’ll have a chance to explore one of Lake Como’s most vibrant markets during a stop in Lenno. Here, the weekly market is held every Tuesday and provides a colorful snapshot of local life. Take in the sweeping views of the area wile perusing for anything from local fruits and vegetables to meats and cheese to clothing and jewelry!

Island in the Lake ItalyTo read more about our Walking the Italian Lakes vacation please click here. To request a walking catalog or learn more about any of our other exciting walking destinations from New Zealand to Yellowstone National Park to Provence and beyond, please visit http://bit.ly/VBTWalking2014. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

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