July is sunflower season in central Italy. The regions of Le Marche, Tuscany, and Umbria are teeming with bright yellow fields of sunflowers. Sadly, sunflower season in Italy is short lived, lasting only six weeks. Despite the tight time frame, however, hunting for sunflowers in Italy is definitely a worthwhile pursuit, especially when combined with a wine tasting in the countryside or a visit to a charming hill town, or two.
Here are three of my tried-and-tested sunflower itineraries:
Road Trip Through Tuscany
This is a classic itinerary that combines the best of Tuscany’s gorgeous natural scenery and some of the regions most charming and historic towns. From Florence you head south towards the ruins of a Medieval Abbey, San Galgano, before bouncing from historic town to town, and then ending in the famed Val d’Orcia. This route can also be expanded into a two-day trip.
Wine Tasting and a Sunflower Picnic
This year I opted for a more relaxed day in the sunflower-filled Tuscan countryside. From Florence we headed south (the best fields are always closer to Siena than Florence) to the quaint Medieval town of Buonconvento. The regional highway, the SR2, is surrounded by fields of sunflowers. After a quick visit to Buonconvento, we headed to a nearby winery, Casali di Bibbiano. Again, the road connecting this country estate to the nearby town is lined with sunflowers. It was here that we opted for a sunflower picnic before sampling delicious Tuscan wines. After our wine tasting we hit the road once more and headed towards Pienza. We found more gorgeous fields and selected the best for some frolicking.
Umbrian Hill Towns
While I am typically in Tuscany during sunflower season, I know that Umbria puts on an equally gorgeous display of sunflower blooms. If your in Umbria in July, I suggest exploring the countryside near the Villa Louise and the charming hill towns of Todi, Spoleto, and Spello. All are surrounded by gorgeous yellow blooms.