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My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

Pittsburgh...
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My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

As someone said in the forum: See less but see better. BUT in our group of 6 I'm responsible for one day out of our week in Tuscany and picked M&M. Since Pienza's between them, it seems foolish to skip it. But I also want to taste the wines in both villages, maybe visit the abbey Sant'Antimo. Am I being too ambitious? If so, what could we skip? We probably won't be back to this area on this trip.

Montepulciano, Italy
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1. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

You're staying near Sinalunga, right? In which case this is perfectly possible and you're not be overly ambitious at all. As I've just written on another post, it would be interesting to know where more precisely you're staying as "Sinalunga" is a fairly big place. If you're on the southern side of town, it's easy to get to both Montepulciano and Pienza and the added bonus is it's a sensational drive along quiet little lanes through glorious countryside. If it were me, I'd hit Montepulciano first. You don't say when you're coming but the town can be quite busy in August with parking lots filling quickly so arrive early if you can. You might want to consider parking at car park 8 (signposted) up near the fortress as from here you're on flat ground and very close to the main square at the highest point of the hill. (This avoids the long walk up a hot, crowded, narrow corso.) Then head on to Montalcino driving through Pienza as you can stop here on your way home. In Montalcino, visit the fortress as it affords great views and you can also wine taste here / lunch. Alternatively, stroll into town and eat there, the choice is wide, it's impossible to eat badly. If we're looking for just something light, we often have a glass of wine and a plate of crostini at Osticcio. If you'd like to do an estate tour and you're coming in summer it's best to pre-book. I'm taking my Easter house guests to Barbi, which has tours on weekday afternoons between 12.00 / 15.00, link below, as it's on the road to Sant'Antimo and is also home to the very interesting Brunello museum. You can eat here too, there's an Osteria, but opinion is divided as to whether it's worth the money. After our tour, we're going to listen to the chanting at Sant'Antimo at 14.45, after which we'll stay on to tour the abbey once it's officially open again at 15.00. (I've posted link for that too.) You could then drive back to Pienza. From Sant'Antimo, I often drive home the other way to which you've come, ie south out of Castelnuovo down to Monte Amiata Stazione (a picturesque time warp station) and up the hill and over to Castelnuovo. This is one of the region's truly great drives. Pienza can be busy in the afternoon but people come and go all the time so don't be put off. Maybe buy an ice cream from Albertino's (next to Il Chiostro's entrance) and enjoy this whilst you stroll around this incredibly beautiful town. Don't miss out on the views from atop the town walls, they're signposted in brown "Panorama".

I was just thinking, "your day in Tuscany" is identical to my own perfect day. Enjoy!

http://www.fattoriadeibarbi.it

http://www.antimo.it

Pittsburgh...
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2. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

Thanks for reassuring me. Not sure where in Sinalunga we're staying, but I'm going to reverse our drive at your suggestion. Better parking's a plus. And it looks like Montalcino will be less crowded and more relaxing a village to eat dinner in. We'll be there in early May, and I'll check your info on when the abbey re-opens. Thank you for your input.

Dublin, Ireland
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3. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

We are looking to also visit Montepulciano and Montelcino in early May and are thinking about staying in one of the towns for 1-2 nights. We will be staying in San Gimignano for 3 nights beforehand and as we want to enjoy the wonderful wines we think we can only do this by staying overnight so as not to have to drive the care. Where would you recommend to stay - Montepulciano or Montelcino?

Many thanks in advance for your suggestions

Los Altos...
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4. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

We've stayed in Montepulciano two times for a week each, and we plan to do this again. We chose Montepulciano over Montalcino because Montepulciano is closer to the autostrada than Montalcino.

I'd spend two nights since there are lots of great day trips. The above trip to Montalcino, Pienza, and Sant'Antimo is great. I'd also recommend a trip to Assisi and Deruta on another day. You can imbibe in the evening after taking a day trip.

Montepulciano, Italy
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5. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

Montepulciano is the larger of the two and certainly better positioned for the A1 and getting down into Umbria. Also easy to visit Arezzo, Cortona, Orvieto as well as the Val d'Orcia. If it were me, I think I'd perhaps spend less nights in San Gim and more down here.

Dublin, Ireland
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6. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

Many thanks to everyone for your great advice. We really appreciate it and are now considering maybe spending more time in montepulciano than San gimignano. Our original plan was 3 nights in San gimignano then 2 nights in montepulciano with our last night in radda in chianti before driving to bologna for a night flight. Would you recommend 2 nights in San gimignano and 3 in montepulciano? Thanks again for all your help we can't wait to get to Tuscany. Hope you all have a wonderful vacation.

Pittsburgh...
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7. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

I'm ba-ack. Had a wonderful week in Tuscany, and for my day we visited Pienza and then Montalcino, where we did climb the fortress. We lunched at Osticcio (I think) where we had a tasting of Brunellos (wonderful) and it was one of the best meals on our trip. The huge window has a great view of the valley. Then a few days later my partner & I went alone to Montepulciano mainly for winetasting, and had quite a few Vino Nobiles. I misspoke and called one of the wines a Montacino. No no no! These were very good wines. And we had a good lunch on the piazza. And during our entire trip the sun shone brightly and the sky was that incredible blue. (Sigh) Thanks for all the tips.

8. Re: My day in Tuscany: Montalcino, Montepulciano AND Pienza

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