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My favorite towns are Montepulciano and Pienza. Both are on hilltops with amazing views and oozing with character! The surrounding area can only be described as very comfortable, but heart-stopping beauty. Unlike scenery in the Alps or big cities, this area has a calmness about it that makes this a terrible place to make a living as a psychiatrist. One exception to sanity is the local Italian drivers. They will ride your tail like they want to crawl in your trunk, then pass you whenever the road straightens for 3-4 car lengths. There are, quite often, “unofficial” pull-over areas. When you see one, you can bet the view is spectacular! As you pull in, any driver behind you will be grateful that he can do his normal 100+ km/hr (60) mph) in a very twisty 60km/hr zone (36 mph).
I found out the hard way that the soil in the southern regions of Tuscany is mostly clay as opposed to the Chianti region, which has better soil for wine. For one photo, I walked to get the best shooting angle of a tree in a field. When I got back to the car, I felt like I was wearing lead shoe and two inches taller from the clay. It was very difficult to remove and the rental car got a little messy. Every so often, the clay hills are dotted with rocky protuberances where villages clung tightly--reeking of charm.
This wasn't Tuscany’s peak season of beauty. The trees were still barren, as were the vineyards, but some fruit trees were budding. The grass, however, was a bright green! Very lush looking. And I can’t forget the signature cypress trees that say to you, “dude, you are in Italy”!
I hope you enjoy the photos!