This panorama is just one of the breathtaking views in Val d’ Orcia a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sienna Tuscany. We were driving from Cortona to Montepulciano to meet a friend. The views were what you imagine when you think of Tuscany.
In person the views are so classic and overwhelming it is hard to believe it is real.
Driving in Tuscany is not difficult as long as you know how to drive a standard shift. I thanked my Dad multiple times for insisting I learn to drive a stick. I had my Garmin GPS from home with an SD card for Italy and also used my cell phone with google maps. Next time I will just use the phone because google warned us when there were traffic restrictions in places like Montepuliciano. Montepulciano was actually small but both it and Cortona restrict driving in certain areas during the middle of the day.
Back in Cortona where we had rented an apartment we were surprised and delighted when the piazza suddenly went from this….to the scene below.
You can’t hear the band playing or watch them throw the flags up and catch them because my wordpress plan does not support video (I am too cheap.) We stayed within the walls of the medieval city of Cortona which sits high on a hill and overlooks Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana.
This is Via San Sebastian and our place is mid-way up on the left. We enjoyed our courtyard but not the pigeons and the bombs they dropped. Later we changed our spot to a table under a balcony safe from the pigeons.
This smiley stone in the pavement said ciao (hello and goodbye) as we both remembered each other from my visit to Cortona 4 years earlier. He knows I will be back to this charming hill town which was the setting for the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.