Tuscany: Day 4 – Tuesday, May 9

Today’s Shooting Agenda

  • Dawn views of Val d’Orcia
  • Abbazia di Sant’Antimo
  • Montisi
  • San Biagio church at Montepulciano

Dawn Views of Val d’Orcia

Our group met at 5:15AM again this morning for another dawn shoot. This morning we will be capturing the stately Belvedere (house) in the Val d’Orica. The Belvedere is an old stone farmhouse that has been completely renovated to modern conveniences. There are three independent apartments: the owners live in one of them, while the other two are for guests.

We wrapped up our shoot and returned to the hotel for a 7:45 breakfast.

Abbazia di Sant’Antimo

After breakfast we regrouped at the van to make our way through the twisty Italian roads to reach the Abbazia di Sant’Antimo (Sant’Antimo Abbey). Sant’Antimo is an ancient abbey inhabited over the centuries by Benedictine monks and founded, according to legend, by the emperor Charlemagne. The church, built in the 12th century, is considered one of the masterpieces of medieval architecture:


Leaving the Abbey, we travelled to the ancient village of Montisi. Montisi represents everything special about villages in this area. Unspoiled by tourism it is full of history and tradition yet offers a modern outlook on the world. I loved this location and felt very inspired and impressed by this village; there was plenty to photograph (click image for full size display):

While in Montisi our team had a satisfying and delicious lunch at the restaurant Il Barrino e l’Ombelico Del Mondo.

It was getting late in the afternoon so, leaving Montisi behind, we returned to the hotel for a bit of rest and free time.

San Biagio Church at Montepulciano

At 5:30 we met in our usual spot and climbed into the van for the short journey ahead. Our objective was to capture some dusk shots of the San Biagio church which is nestled in the hillside below the town of Montepulciano.

The Temple of San Biagio is one of the masterpieces of Italian Renaissance architecture, built between 1518 and 1548 to a design by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder:

Evening Meal

With mission accomplished we returned to the hotel, regrouping later for an 8:00PM meal at Trattoria Ossena in San Quirico d’Orcia. Although this restaurant receives some unfavourable reviews on TripAdvisor, I found it to be one of my favourite restaurants of the trip. They had a unique way of ordering: the menu was only available on iPads which were distributed to the diners so they could select their choices. The wait staff then recorded the order into their iPhones.

We walked back to our hotel from the village of San Quirico d’Oricia, said our “good nights” and retired to bed for the day.

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