Colors of Tuscany

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Tuscany is a land of warm honey-toned light where countryside and townscapes blend in an idyllic setting. This premier region of central Italy has remained virtually unchanged for centuries—blessed by nature, and renowned for its art and history, picturesque medieval hilltop villages, and bucolic pastoral landscapes that are some of the most photogenic in the world. In Tuscany, where timeless vistas are enveloped in gossamer light, exceptional imagery is always close at hand.
"​Wandering the hill towns of Tuscany lends a charm of its own. While this is a photography trip, it also gave us a broader Tuscan experience with the tours of the vineyards, slowing down over leisurely meals and enjoying the dreamy light of a Tuscan autumn. Expect enchanting scenes, brilliant fall colors, and hearty and sometimes elegant dining. "
- J. Menard
In late autumn, the Tuscan landscape of gentle hills, vineyards, fields and woodlands glows with warm tones of yellow and orange. This is not the obvious “in your face” fall-color riot of northeastern US hardwood trees. Tuscany exudes watercolor hues that blend from shade to shadow. Tuscany is woven tapestries of vineyard rows that sweep over rounded hills combined with silver-gray olive trees, and slender columns of deep green cypress trees that punch skyward. Tuscany is soft, mellow light on weathered brick, terra cotta tile roof, and the golden limestone of medieval hilltop towns—Tuscany has some of the most beautiful stone buildings, constructed over many centuries, in the world.

Following the busy grape harvest, in the cooler days at the end of October and into November, vineyards unveil their autumn-cured shades of yellow, orange and red and olives reach their purple-black prime. It is time to settle in before the beginning of winter, enjoying the fruits of the woodlands—chestnuts, porcini mushrooms and truffles. 
This trip can be combined with our Italy's Dolomite Mountains in Autumn Photo Tour October 9 - 20, 2021.
From the rounded hills of the Chianti region, dense with vineyards, olive groves and woodlands to the photogenic rolling landscapes near Pienza—all inspire our photography. In Pisa’s Piazza del Duomo, the Pisan-Romanesque cathedral with its white-gray façade—along with that unmistakable campanile, the Leaning Tower—is a lens-catching masterpiece. The thirteen prominent stone towers rise high above the skyline of San Gimignano and the beautifully-preserved walled city of Monteriggioni prompt striking imagery. Dark green cypress trees pierce the blue Tuscan skies and stand as sentinels beside isolated rustic stone farmhouses. On hilltops, brick-red or limestone-golden hued abbeys offer options for panoramic and close-up photography. Graphic patterns created by terraced vineyards, vine-laced ancient walls, and tiers of tiled rooftops stir countless abstract compositions.

Join us as we follow the ancient rhythms of the season and take time to enjoy a Chianti Classico or a Brunello di Montalcino and the bounty of a Tuscan autumn—bruschetta with freshly-pressed olive oil, a hearty boar stew, and wild porcini mushrooms.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart on flights from the US.
Day 2 (Oct 22)
Arrive in Pisa, Italy, and transfer from the airport by hotel shuttle on your own. We meet in the hotel lobby at 7 PM and walk to a local restaurant for dinner.  (D)  
Day 3
A full day to explore the cathedral city of Pisa. Our centrally-located hotel is only a short walk from the Piazza del Duomo (Piazza dei Miracoli) and Pisa’s iconic Leaning Tower.  (BLD)
Day 4
We travel to Radda in the Chianti region of Tuscany, stopping for photography en route—this area boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The region encompasses nearly 9,000 square miles where most of the land is rolling hills. Vineyards cover about 160,000 acres, interspersed with medieval towns on hilltops and demarcated by cypress-lined roads. Autumn is at its peak and, in the cooler weather, the vineyards and woodlands have turned from green to yellow and orange, and olives have ripened to a deep purple-black against silvery-gray foliage.  (BLD) 
Days 5–7
For these three days we focus on the gently rounded hills draped with the rows of autumn-hued vineyards of the Chianti area. Colorful red vines cling to walls of weathered stone and brick, and olive groves provide a silvery contrast. From our convenient and comfortable hotel situated in the hills near Radda, we make daily excursions throughout the Chianti region. We photograph the castle and town of San Gimignano, the walled town of Monteriggioni, and travel to the hilltop towns of Radda, Panzano and Montefioralle. On one day we visit the Rampini Ceramics workshop, located in an old Tuscan farmhouse among vineyards and olive groves, for an opportunity to photograph the artists at work.  (BLD)
Day 8
We drive to Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the renowned Val d’Orcia, with time for afternoon photography after checking into our hotel. The entire valley in this iconic area has been designated a UNESCO World Cultural Landscape. Open vistas of agricultural land—ochre and tawny brown at this time of the year—stretch over low hills off into the far horizon, punctuated by serpentine rows or small groupings of dark green cypress and isolated farmhouses. Our four nights in one convenient hotel situated only a few steps from the historical center of Pienza allow us ample time for photography in the area.  (BLD)
Day 9
We explore Pienza, built as a utopian town in the 15th century, including the Duomo with its light-flooded interior, and Palazzo Piccolomini, where the spectacular view from its loggia overlooks the Val d’Orcia and the extinct volcano Monte Amiata. Photogenic hilltop towns, including car-free Montepulciano high on a limestone ridge overlooking the Val di Chiana, and Lucignano, a remarkable example of medieval town planning with its elliptical concentric rings of brick and stone buildings and narrow streets, are our focus today.  (BLD)
Day 10
In the morning we photograph at the beautiful Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo near Montalcino. We visit Castello Banfi, a family-owned estate and winery in the Brunello region. Photography of the extensive vineyards, opportunities for images of the cask and barrel rooms—racks of oak barrels create surprising patterns against warm woodwork and rustic tiled floors—and a delicious wine lunch highlight our day. In Montelcino at this time of the year the Sangiovese grapes for the area’s noted Brunnello di Montalcino have already been harvested and the vineyards draw our lenses with the autumn hues of the season.  (BLD)
Day 11
En route to Chiusure our road travels through the textured gray clay “badland” landscapes of the Crete Senesi region. The town of Asciano lies in the midst of these Sienese clay hills and the winding roads in this area are spectacular. The brick-red Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore stands out in exquisite contrast on a hill green with cypress trees. To reach the photogenically-isolated hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio we must walk a steep one-quarter-mile-long footbridge to a 2,500-year-old Etruscan gateway. Civita—stunningly-sited high on an ever-eroding tuff plateau—glows golden in the warm afternoon light. We follow crooked cobblestone lanes that wind among stone houses—a perfect setting to capture architectural details of stairways, doors and brilliant red of ivy-clad ancient stone walls and arches.  (BLD)
Day 12
We have one last morning to photograph in Pienza before we return to Pisa for an overnight at a convenient airport hotel.  (BLD)
Day 13 (Nov 2)
Depart for home.  (B)
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Colors of Tuscany

Oct 21, 2021 - Nov 02, 2021


A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposit only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Colors of Tuscany: Moderate Activity Level

Van transportation.  Photography from near the vans as well as walking on medieval cobblestone streets and occasionally across uneven ground.  Walking as much as one to three miles per day (total) on a few days.  Midday lunch breaks at restaurants and country inns.

Trip Details
Oct 21 - Nov 02, 2021
Fee: $6,695 from Pisa, Italy
Deposit: $800
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate
  • The perfect combination of iconic landscapes and timeless medieval hilltop towns—at the peak of autumn color
  • A tapestry of photogenic vineyards, cypress-lined roads, ancient stone and brick—all suffused with the incomparable glow of Tuscan light
  • Four nights in Pienza allow ample time to explore the expansive countryside and dramatically-sited towns and abbeys.
  • A full day to explore the cathedral city of Pisa and its Leaning Tower
Tuscany is beautiful and especially during the period of fall color. The Italians are welcoming and very helpful. Most of the towns and villages we visited and the restaurants where we dined were built before Columbus sailed in search of the New World so there is a great sense of history as you travel the area.
—G. Wrenn