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Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

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Connecticut
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115 posts
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Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

My 17 year old daughter and I are traveling for her school break, she is in school in Italy. We have 6 days together and I wanted to spend it in Tuscany. We are on a budget, so I am driving, etc. without the help of tour guides. Can anyone recommend a hotel in Montepulciano and a great restaurant. Which winery should we not miss. Is there a castle to see? A cheese or olive oil tasting. We are there on Jan 6, will everything be closed? Should we try to do a spa thing that day?

I read about all the great things there are to do, but budget has me trying to recreate it on a more simple level. I thought we should stay "in town" so we don't have to drive at night. Good idea?

Any help, towns, sights to see will be helpful.

Thanks.

sydney
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1. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a lovely town with many good restaurants. My favourite is borgobuio-maybe not to all tastes. I have reviewed this restaurant...

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

An inexpensive hotel just inside the walls of Montepulciano is Il Marzocco. A little old fashioned but it has the magic parking and the rooms have nice terraces. Breakfast is quite substantial too.

I really recommend making a stay in just one place and driving out from there to see the rest of Tuscany. It is easy to do and much better than changing hotels all the time.

Connecticut
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3. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

I just read about Marzocco and I think it sounds great. Do you have any sense of whether things will be closed on Jan 6th? Also, do you have any favorite wineries? Towns? Thanks for your help.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

I can't help re closures. I imagine many places will be closed, not museums etc but people do tend to take breaks during the off season in restaurants and even some hotels.

The Epiphany feast is listed as a public holiday so even more may be closed. You may need a local's help on this.

Note that Il Marzocco is not at all a "spa" type hotel, just a family type business such as you will find all over Italy. You might look to Montecatini Terme (Terme means thermal baths) for some of those experiences, though I am not sure what is good there.

For a more upmarket experience consider Il Chiostro in Pienza.

You could consider the Uffizi Gallery in Florence for the 6th, though drive somewhere near and take a train in. Driving in Florence is fraught with difficulties and fines.

This is the official Uffizi site (there are heaps of ones selling tickets at higher prices)

www.firenzemusei.it

and it is not the best in terms of access. You are better to call during Italian office hours and book tickets by phone. Without tickets, even in winter, queues are long.

Our blog incorporating Montepulciano

…blogspot.com/2009/09/tuscany-beautiful.html

Montepulciano, Italy
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5. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

Places won't be closed, on the contrary, everyone opens up to try and catch the last bit of tourist traffic (primarily Italian) before Easter. The Epifania holiday is big and, historically, big business too. For a nice hotel in Montepulciano, consider the Locanda di San Francesco for it's perfectly positioned, even provides parking and is very well appointed. Good wineries everywhere with dozens of wine stores in the town, some are starting to say far too many! We especially like the cantine at Contucci (on Piazza Grande) but there are many, many others - you're spoilt for choice. Out of town, a pretty estate with a good tour and excellent wines (drank a bottle of their Desidero merlot just last night) is Avignonesi. It's in the countryside as you head towards Cortona about 20 mins east of Montepulciano.

Edited: 11:26 pm, November 03, 2011
Montepulciano
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6. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

Hi NelliCT,

some of the shops and restaurant will close after January 6, which is considered the last day of the high season in winter.

On January I would choose an accomodation in town more than in the countryside. On a budget, with beautiful location and good reviews, I would consider Albergo Duomo, Meublé Il Riccio, Evoé. Palazzo Bellarmino offers apartments in the main square, and it could be an interesting and not very expensive option.

Good restaurants on a budget : Osteria Acqua Cheta, Trattoria di Cagnano, Osteria del Conte.

Montepulciano is famous also for the historical wine cellars, having also an high architectural value, like Cantina Contucci ( in the main square) or Cantina del Redi. Both are from the 16th century, and they are a must see. I would visit also Cantina Gattavecchi, not so far from them.

Most of the wineriesare in the countryside: Avignonesi is a beautiful estate, run by a Belgian family. Amongst the most known producers of Vino Nobile: Poliziano, Tenuta Valdipiatta, Poderi Boscarelli. A very small property, offering high quality wine, is Il Macchione. Wine tasting can be arranged also by Enoteca del Consorzio, in Piazza Grande. Most of the wine producers can offer also olive oil tasting.

For cheese tasting you can contact Podere il Casale, an organic farm between Montepulciano and Pienza.

The “castle” of Montepulciano, la Fortezza, has been recently renewed and it’s used only for temporary exhibitions or special events, it’s not a must-see.

Typical itineraries from Montepulciano :

- Pienza, San Quirico, Bagno Vignoni, Montalcino and Sant'Antimo's Abbey

- Cortona and Arezzo

- Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Crete Senesi area ( villages of Montisi, san Giovanni D'Asso..)

You can reach Siena or Perugia in about 50 minutes.

Enjoy your holiday in Tuscany!

PS. thanks Lastraniera for the beautiful words about our property!

Connecticut
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115 posts
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7. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

Thank you all for your replies. I think staying within the walls is a good idea.

My daughter is much more in to the cheese and olive oil rather than the wine.

Shopping is key on her list, so I am hopeful for some interesting finds a long the way. My brother has a vineyard in California, so we are well acquainted with tastings and tours. She would love to see the Abbey when the monks are singing. Do you know when that might be? She also LOVES food! She is tiny but eats like a horse! So any wonderful restaurant ideas would also be welcomed. It is our mother/daughter week, as she is in school there and they travel around to museums, etc. she said..."no museums!"

Shop, eat, taste, view...drop!

thanks.

Bay Village, Ohio
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8. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

We just visited the abbey at Sant'Antima in early October. There is a Gregorian chanting at 12:45pm that lasts about 10-15 minutes each weekday. Quite lovely. I believe the next weekday chanting is at 2:45pm. I am not sure about the hours on the weekend. Here is the list of hours on the website for the abbey.

http://www.antimo.it/pagine_en/00FRAME.html

Montepulciano, Italy
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9. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

There's chanting at Sant'Antimo several times every day as the link above explains. Weekdays it starts with Matins around dawn and continues at regular intervals (Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers) until before bed prays at Compline. Sunday it's almost the same but without the Matins and inclues a high Mass in Latin at 11. The Abbey is open for general visits in between (highlighted in yellow on the link) but if you're respectful of the service, you won't be turned away during any of the chants and/or Mass. Note: 11 am Sunday Mass is quite busy even in winter so get there 10.40 ish to guarantee a seat. Lots of good shops in Montepulciano for clothes, shoes, bags. For cheese, head to Pienza only 10/12 mins away by car to taste the various different varieties of ewes' milk cheese, pecorino. There isn't a "bad" restaurant in Montepulciano so wherever you decide to eat, you should be pleased.

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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10. Re: Help me Make a Memory in Montepulciano

I just got back from Montepulciano. We prefered staying just outside the city in an apartment. I did get a brochure from Vicolo dell Oste. Great location and seemed reasonable to me. I did not check out the rooms though. Seems to get good reviews.