Montepulciano trip planner
A vacation guide to the Tuscan hilltown of Montepulciano, where the wine flows freely and the streets are paved with Etruscan tombs
Escorted tours to Montepulciano:
• Small-Group Montepulciano and Pienza Day Trip from Siena
• Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour from Rome
• Taste of Italy Food Tour to Chianti and Umbria from Rome
• Montepulciano Wine Tour: Full Day from Florence or Siena
• Archi-Wine Tour: When Architects Meet Winemakers in the Val d'Orcia from Florence or Siena
Where to stay in Montepulciano
Hotel La Terrazza di Montepulciano [cheap]
Hotel Duomo [cheap]
Hotel Il Rondó [cheap]
» More hotels (from €45)
» B&Bs in Montepulciano (from €35)
» Apartments in town (from €80)
» Agriturismi around town (from €60)
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TOURS FROM OUR TRUSTED PARTNERS that include Montepulciano
• iExplore: Magical Tuscany & Portofino Peninsula (10 days)
• iExplore: Tuscan Trails (self guided) (8 days)
• iExplore: Cycle Through Siena & Chianti (8 days)
Casks of Vino Noble di Montepulciano aging in the Cantina de Redi cellars.
Planning FAQAmid the tall, rolling hills south of Siena that produce some of Italy's mightiest red wines lies the hilltown of Montepulciano, home to the powerful, versatile Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
For more than 1,200 years, this "noble wine" has been aged and bottled in the wine cellars under Montepulciano's Renaissance palazzi, warrens of stony rooms and tunnels carved into the tufa bedrock—some dating back to the ancient Etruscans.
Many are open to visitors under shop fronts offering free samples of wine, grappa, and sometimes cured meats, cheeses, and breads produced by the vineyards' farms. Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? Plus, you'll never find a better price on bottled of Italy's top wine labels to take home.
These free smorgasbords concentrate at the bottom of town along Via Gracchiano nel Corso, and at the top of town on and around Piazza Grande, but four stand out.
Ercolani/Pulcino, Via Gracchiano nel Corso 80, is the most commercial, with archaeological bits and an Etruscan tomb displayed in its cellars, and boasts the most free samples.
Its neighbor Avignonesi, no. 93, is the classiest cantina in town; no cellars to explore, but a bar to tipple gratis from one of Italy's oldest and most respected wineries.
Giant casks with glass baubles aging Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in the Cantina de Redi cellars.
Classic Cantina del Redi, installed in the multi-story foundations of Palazzo Ricci on Via Ricci, stacks huge barrels in a series of towering, narrow brick vaults connected by steep underground staircases running from the palazzo's lovely panoramic courtyard on Via Ricci down to the tasting/shop outlet on Via di Collazzi.
At Gattavecchi, Via San Donato, the "shop" where you enter is just a large storage closet off the bottling room, but you can always rustle up a friendly face to pour a sample atop an upended barrel and flip on the lights in the most wonderfully creepy, moldy cellar tunnels in town.
This full day excursion is a celebration of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, one of Italy's most outstanding red wines. Departing from and returning to your Florence or Siena hotel, the first stop is the Boscarelli Vineyards, known for their fine Nobile wine. A visit to the cellars and a wine tasting is included. Next stop is Montepulciano - called "The Pearl of the 16th Century" - a jewel of the Renaissance period...
Follow the scent of the Great Wines through the most stunning landscapes of Chianti, Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana. From the market in Greve in Chianti to wineries and vineyards in Castellina in Chianti, we'll continue to the Crete Senesi of the Val d'Orcia and a lunch with guided tasting of Montalcino wines. Round out the day with a visit to Montepulciano and its storied wine cellars...
Design and wine are the themes of this full day excursion to Montepulciano where modern wineries conceived with a contemporary flair provide wine tasting opportunities that are sure to please wine enthusiasts with a passion for cutting edge art. Departing from and returning to your Florence or Siena hotel, first stop is Icario, a custom built winery designed by Valle Progettazione. Next up is a guided visit to the heart of Montepulciano, a hill town that is home to a number of well-preserved Renaissance palaces. Lunch takes place at the Trattoria Diva e Maceo where Tuscan specialties are served with excellent local wines. The Tenimenti d'Alessandro winery has garnered tremendous praise for its fine wines, particularly the notable Il Bosco. Situated in the village of Manzano near Cortona, the winery visit includes...
To connect the free booze and nibbles at either end of town, follow the winding main street (it goes by numerous names, all ending in "Corso") lined with an astonishing number of Renaissance palazzi, including Palazzo Bucelli (no. 73), which incorporates a collage of 2,700-year-old Etruscan funerary urns as its foundation.
The Tempio di San Biagio is a nearly perfect example of Renaissance architecture designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder just outside the walls of Montepulciano.The street climbs steadily, often steeply, to the top of the hill and Piazza Grande, one side of which is flanked by Michelozzo's Palazzo Comunale, a 14th century travertine copy of Florence's old city hall. Wend your way inside, past civic offices and overstuffed filing cabinets, to climb the crenellated tower for fantastic countryside vistas.
The rest of the piazza is lined by Renaissance palaces designed by Antonio Sangallo the Elder, closed at the top end by the rough, never-finished brick façade of the Duomo (Cathedral), filled with early 15th century sculptures and a golden altarpiece by Taddeo di Bartoldo.
Just outside this end of town sits an exercise in geometrically precise Renaissance architecture, Antonio da Sangallo the Elder's celebrated ★ Tempio di San Biagio (1518-34), a travertine temple to Classical models built on a grassy lawn.
The rooftops and countryside of MontepulcianoPlanning your time: You can pretty easily take in the best of Montepulciano in a half-day (3–4 hours). Just make sure you spend at least one meal here—and you try the wine.
- Visitor information in Montepulciano: The Montepulciano tourist office is at Piazza Don Minzoni 1 (tel. +39-0578-757-341, www.prolocomontepulciano.it). Also of limited use is the official town website: www.comune.montepulciano.siena.it. More useful is the provincial website www.terresiena.it.
How to get to Montepulciano: Getting to Montepulciano is tricky. There is a "Montepulciano Staz." stop on a local train line from Siena, but it's way out in the countryside and not well connected to town. Instead, get off at the "Chiusi/Chianciano Terme" stop where that Siena line meets the main Rome–Florence line; from here, a local bus meets most incoming trains.
- Book a tour: Reserve a guided tour to Montepulciano from Florence, Siena, or Rome.
- Small-Group Montepulciano and Pienza Day Trip from Siena
- Montepulciano Wine Tour: Full Day from Florence or Siena
- Archi-Wine Tour: When Architects Meet Winemakers in the Val d'Orcia from Florence or Siena
- Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour from Rome
- Taste of Italy Food Tour to Chianti and Umbria from Rome (10 hrs)
- 5-Day Best of Italy Trip from Rome (5 days/4 nights; also hits Florence, Venice, Siena, Assisi, Bologna, and Padua)
- Small-Group Montepulciano and Pienza Day Trip from Siena
- Near Montepulciano: Pienza (15–20 min. by car or bus); Chianti (60 min. by car); Siena (75 min. by car).
- Montepulciano hotels
- Montepulciano restaurants
- More Tuscan hilltowns
- Tuscany Itinerary: Six days of wining and dining in the countryside
- Tuscany itineraries
This material was last updated January 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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