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Farmhouse among Tuscan hills during harvest period (Shutterstock.com/Stefano Termanini)
If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that the Gods reside right above Tuscany, Italy.
While that statement may seem a little far-fetched to you, I can attest to the region’s magnificence. I expected a ten out of ten travel experience, but came home with a 12.
Beginning the journey from Florence and taking the SR2 route (via Francigena), it takes approximately 90 to 120 minutes by car to reach Val D’orcia, a UNESCO world heritage site. The whole area of Val D’orcia consists of rolling hills and cypress trees in an exuberant hue of orange, yellow and green. Many stupendous little villages dot the region.
Explore the area for two days and you are in for the adventure of a lifetime. Some of the most picturesque villages are Asciano, Montalcino, Pienza and Monticchiello.
Asciano, the chillest town you’ll ever visit
The medieval village of Asciano is located in the heart of the Crete Senesi in Tuscany. (Shutterstock.com/Simona Bottone)
Countless rows of cypress trees will greet you as you set foot in Asciano, the peak point of the region. I think it is safe to say every car stopped every five minutes to capture the beauty of the area.
Every spot offers vistas that come straight out of postcards. It is so grand that standing on top of Asciano will make you feel so small. Stopping by the town center to grab some lunch – a cold cuts platter – prior to the much-awaited wine tasting, you will come to realize how the people of Tuscany are the epitome of slow living.
If it takes your breath away that Florence has no skyscrapers, people in Montalcino, Montapulcino, San Gimignano and Chianti rely on winemaking for a living. What a dream, right? Living in one of the most scenic spots on Earth with one of the most relaxing occupations.
Read also: 5 tips to enjoy Tuscany at its best
Montalcino, where you want to drink wine and save water
Surrounded by humongous vineyards bringing forth some of the most luscious grapes, Montalcino offers a magnificent wine-tasting experience.
The true delicacy of Montalcino is the Brunello – a rich, intense and full-bodied wine that goes well with steak. The wine-tasting started with one glass of white wine and ended with five glasses of red ones, served in the order of body: from light to full-bodied.
The weather in Tuscany is generally sunny with cool, breezy air. Being under the Tuscan sun is one of the most rewarding things you will experience.
Pienza, the culmination of the rolling hills
Pienza is a town in the province of Siena in Tuscany's Val d'Orcia. (Shutterstock.com/Viliam.M)
Before Pienza, looking for the exact photo spot that perfectly captures the beauty of Val D’orcia was quite a challenge. You may have done research beforehand, or even saved the exact coordinates on your phone, but in reality it is hard to find the exact spot.
Luckily, your wanders will come to a close the moment you arrive at Pienza. Pienza is one of the villages located at the top. From there, the whole Val D’orcia lies at your feet like a bed of gold. It was almost 7 p.m., but the sun shone so brightly it blinded the eye. Be prepared to be completely spellbound and bewitched.
So many authentic Italian restaurants are found in Pienza, and you will realize here that every region of Italy has its own “native” pasta.
Apart from fettuccine or at most tagliatelle, do you know there is a kind of pasta called “pici”? It is native to Siena. And of course, a scoop or two of gelato won’t hurt. The texture is silky-smooth, with the perfect amount of sweet. If you are bored with regular flavors or even the good ol’ favorite of pistachio, resort to unique ones, such as fig or walnut.
Monticchiello, lively and lush
View on the little town of Monticchiello (Shutterstock.com/hipproductions)
En route to Monticchiello, if you are seeking another great spot to capture the view of cypresses and the rolling hills, La Foce is the place to go. Parking is not an issue, as La Foce provides quite a spacious parking area.
Monticchiello shines at daytime. If Pienza is very much glorified for its orange-ness, Monticchiello is green and lush. If you are lucky, you can get rather cool weather that matches the green color palette of this tranquil village. (kes)
Natasha Wahyudihardjo is a 27-year-old language enthusiast working in the field of content and SEO. She has penchants for anagrams, Scrabble and wine. In her leisure time, she casually answers questions on Quora.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.