You Can't Believe How Green It Is In Tuscany Now. Here's Why.

One of the many reasons we like coming to Tuscany, and especially the Val D'Orcia and Montalcino in spring, is that the rolling hills explode with green. The main agricultural crop in this area is wheat and there is nothing quite as green as a new wheat field in spring.

Lone oak tree and cumulous clouds near Pienza.
A lone oak tree in a new wheat field near Pienza right after a passing shower.

The Val D'Orcia around Pienza is a major wheat growing area. Since this is all dry farming there is no irrigation. So the wheat crops rely on the frequent spring thunderstorms that form on the east side of Monte Amiata just to the west. On many spring afternoons thunderclouds form and bring light rains to the area. Perfect for growing wheat.

And wine. The reason Montalcino is a renowned wine growing region is because of the spring rains that irrigate the vineyards. Brunello vines cannot be irrigated, by regulation, so without Monte Amiata there is likely no Brunello.

Thunder clouds building over the Val D'Orcia and Monte Amiata.
This is the view from Pienza the same day the photo above was made, but a little earlier. You can see the clouds building over Monte Amiata which rises almost 4500 feet above sea level. Rainfall from Monte Amiata is also what makes the regions wine to good. Lots of spring rain, then warm dry summers.

And of course, those of you who follow my photography know that clouds are one of my photographic passions. So these clouds are not only good for wheat (think pasta, pizza and breads) and wine, but they also make for some wonderful photographic opportunities. Pretty good combo if you ask me.