Landscape Photography in Tuscany
San Quirico d'Orcia, Italy
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Meadows & hills
Join our experienced leader as we photograph classic Tuscan subjects - villages, architecture, markets and people - plus the Renaissance city of Siena. Whether you are a beginner wanting to learn more about basic camera settings, or an advanced photographer seeking new challenges, our expert leader will give you the encouragement and tuition you need to get the best out of your camera and that inspirational Tuscan vista. Suitable for all abilities.
- Visit inspirational vistas of beautiful Tuscany
- Spend most of the day outdoors seeking out the best light, colours and images
- Our professional photography leader will guide and encourage
Great Reasons to Join Us
- Great value: all prices include ensuite half-board accommodation, plus all transport to photography locations and tuition
- Expert leader: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure that you get the most out of your holiday
- Accommodation: enjoy good quality accommodation and excellent food
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together, relax together
The 3-star Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo is set in a peaceful location in the countryside surrounding the village of San Quirico, and is very convenient for the local amenities. This family owned hotel was originally an attractive farmhouse, extended on both sides to incorporate the bedrooms. This hotel has excellent views to the gentle hills of Montalcino. The hotel offers good standards of service and comfort and has a relaxing atmosphere after your day’s walking.
|The hotel has 42 comfortable bedrooms, all en-suite with shower.
All bedrooms also have:
|Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo facilities consists of:
Our holidays at Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.
The self-select continental breakfast includes cereal, cheese and cooked meats, bread, croissants and home-produced honey. Tea and coffee is available.
The five course set menu features many Tuscan specialities, using homemade pasta and locally-produced oil, meat and cheese. An alternative is available for vegetarians; however we recommend that those with special diets discuss their requirements with the manager or chef.
There is a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.
Lunch (payable locally)
You can buy a picnic lunch from the hotel (order the night before). Alternatively ingredients can be bought in local shops, including a supermarket five minutes' walk away. On some days it may be possible to eat in a café during a walk or excursion; your leaders will advise you of all the options.
The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues into the evening.
Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's activities, then join your fellow guests for a leisurely meal.
One evening our guests can learn more about olive oil and take part in a tasting session, very popular with our guests.
Your leader will be checking out for other local events going on nearby, or you may prefer to relax on the terrace enjoying the panoramic view or in the bar with a drink.
The laid-back charm of Tuscany is a perfect setting for a Landscape Photography holiday. Enjoy excursions to a variety of beautiful locations, accompanied by your professional and experienced Photography leader.
Every effort is made to adhere to this itinerary, however there may be circumstances beyond our control which could lead to a change in the programme.
Sunday: Taking in the immediate locality
After breakfast and a brief talk about capturing the landscape in photography we walk into the historic town of San Quirico and within its walls observe and capture images of the town square, church and its many narrow winding streets. We head to the eastern walls to observe and capture the unfolding landscape with its rolling hills and cypress lined roads. We will walk out of the village to explore the landscape and view the famous Belvedere Farmhouse perched on a small hilltop surrounded by cypress trees. We return to our hotel to examine our images and discuss relevant issues surrounding the capture of those pictures.
Monday: Seeing the landscape through the eye of the photographer
After breakfast, we drive to Pienza, a hilltop town that exudes history and charm. From the high walls, we capture views of the extensive Tuscan landscape including the Agriturismo a Terrapille made famous as the setting for part of the scene in the film ‘Galdiator’. We explore the old town and historic architecture before moving on to Montepulciano - a medieval and Renaissance hill town. On the outskirts is the beautiful San Biagio church which can be viewed from above and at ground level. The old square at the top of the town is surrounded by historic buildings all of which challenge the photographer to capture the best perspective. There will be some extensive walking up steep roads leading into the old town
Tuesday: Interpreting the landscape and exploring new skills
After breakfast, we head to La Foce from where we can observe and be challenged to capture the most famous twisting road in this area lined by cypress trees. After that we venture up to the small hilltop village of Monticchiello to explore its narrow streets and wonderful views of the rolling landscape of this region. From there we head back towards our hotel but stop en route for a walk across the landscape to visit the site of Cappella di Vitaleta – a small chapel in an isolated location on top of the Tuscan hills. The walk will probably take 30–45 minutes and hopefully we will be there as the late afternoon sun begins to offer its golden glow on the scene. From there we return to our coach and head back to the hotel.
Wednesday: a free day for you to relax and enjoy the facilities at the hotel, further explore the historic walled town or travel further afield sightseeing.
Thursday: The urban landscape - looking for the unusual
After breakfast we travel to Siena, a city in central Italy’s Tuscany region. It is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings. The fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, is the site of the Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall, and Torre del Mangia, a slender 14th-century tower with sweeping views from its distinctive white crown. The city’s 17 historic “contrade” (districts) extend outward from the piazza. From there the Dumo can be reached and if you climb the towers there are extensive views to be had. There are plenty of unusual sights and quirky detail to be captured including narrow streets traversed by numerous arches. Along these streets washing is found hanging from many of the old apartments and homes that occupy this area.
Friday: Blending village and towns into our landscape images
After breakfast we travel to Montalcino, a hilltop town capped with a castle (now a wine merchants) where we can enjoy and capture views across the town and the surrounding landscape. Along its main street are many narrow streets offering enticing views waiting to be captured in camera. From there we travel to the Abbazia di Sant’Antimo, an old Abbey nestling in the surrounding hills and surrounded by old olive trees and with extensive views of local vineyards occupying the rolling hills. We then pay a visit to our final location of the week, the lovely small spa village of Bagni Vignoni. The village is well known for its hot springs and there is a central bath in the village around which are clustered homes, hotels and cafes. On the edge of the village the hot springs can be enjoyed as they cascade over the cliff edge to the valley below.
What to bring
- digital camera, DSLR, CSC (mirrorless), Bridge or Compact.
- memory cards
- battery* and charger (essential)
- your camera’s instruction manual
- appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear, ideally walking boots
- bag or rucksack for your camera equipment, spare clothing, lunch, water, sunscreen etc
- notebook and pencil (pencils work better should it rain!)
Optional camera accessories (remember you will have to carry some of these and possibly also pay extra for them if you exceed your luggage allowance)
- spare memory cards
- spare camera battery*
- spare camera (you never know)
- small selection of lenses: wide angle, telephoto, macro, for example
- laptop plus accessories for viewing, editing and sharing images (whilst it’s not absolutely essential, bringing your own laptop will mean you get more from your photography holiday if you shoot digital)
- memory stick or CD for storing images
- camera rain-protector—a shower cap or plastic bag, or something more expensive if you prefer
- filters: neutral density and graduated, polarising
- tripod or monopod if you feel more comfortable with one
* Spare batteries must be protected from damage or short circuit before and during flights. Please check with your airline before travel regarding any restrictions.
An introduction to the area
The historic fortified village of San Quirico lies in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, in a wonderful landscape of green and golden hills for which Tuscany is famous. San Quirico is probably of Etruscan origin and is situated about 40km south of Siena, on the hills that divide the two river valleys of the Asso and Orcia. Because of its position in the middle of the main Francegen pilgrimage route, the town has long been a staging post for wayfarers, pilgrims and merchants on the way to Rome. Wandering through the narrow streets of the old town, you will encounter many historic sights such as the Santa Maria Assunta Church, the Collegiata, the Rose Garden, Cappuccini Town Gate the ancient city walls.
San Gimignano - A fascinating hill-town with a breathtaking skyline of towers. Upon arrival we can enter the town through the Porta S. Giovanni and then head to the Piazza del Duomo. The Duomo has an exotic interior containing fresco cycles of the Old and New Testament stories. It is worthwhile to visit the Rocca and ramparts which offer extensive views across the countryside. The church of St. Augustine is well away from the crowds and has frescoes on the life of Saint Francis.
On the return to San Quirico a stop could be made at the heavily fortified small town of Monteriggioni which was once the border of the Florence and Siena republics.
Assisi - This beautiful city is dominated by its Basilica and is famous as the birthplace of St Francis. The Basilica consists of the upper church which is the setting of the world famous Giotto cycle of frescoes on the life of Francis, the lower church with its frescoes by Lorenzetti, and below that the crypt containing the tomb of St Francis.
A visit to Assisi could be combined with a stop at Cortona a very fine hill top town with commanding views. A short walk could take you to the Piazza della Republica, then to the Piazza Garibaldi, from where there is an extensive view looking across Lago Trasimeno.
Both these options involve hiring a coach and there needs to be a significant number of guests interested to make the economics worthwhile. Alternatives include:
- Visiting the nearby Villa La Foce and its Gardens, made famous by Iris Origo’s book War in the Val d’Orcia – An Italian Diary
- Visiting the hot springs at nearby Bagno Vignoni on foot or on the local bus. These have been known since the Etruscan era and were developed by the Medici family.
Shops & facilities
There are plenty of shops, small mini-markets for picnic provisions and also several bars to visit on a stroll after dinner.
We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.
‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option
Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick and Manchester flights to Pisa airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 2 hours 30 minutes to the Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo.
‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option
Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.
If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:
Transfers must be pre-booked. Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details
* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach
Graham is a full time professional photographer with 37 years experience based on the southern edge of the Cotswolds and a qualified member of The British Institute of Professional Photography. Over the years he has been commissioned to photograph royal events through to countless weddings, family portraits, commercial photography and has lead numerous courses in photography both at home and overseas. He is a tutor for a distance learning Diploma in Professional Photography and the author of a book 'The Wonder and Beauty of Westonbirt', the National Arboretum. In addition to this Graham regularly takes on commercial assignments for a variety of clients as well as personal tuition in photography. His work has been used around the world in a variety of publications. He believes photography should be fun and he aims to encourage his students to appreciate all they observe and see how they might record it in an imaginative and creative way.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Double room for sole occupancy: £15 per night (2016), £16 per night (2017)
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person