Revision as of 16:04, 24 September 2007
Montepulciano is a city in Tuscany famous for its wines, especially the classic red wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Montepulciano is a few miles from the A1 Autostrada as well as the more scenic SS2 from Rome to Florence. Cars are not allowed inside the historical old town (except with a permit, available from hotels) so park in one of the numerous lots at the edge of the town. Be warned that the lots fill up quickly in late summer, the height of the tourist season.
Buses, departing from Piazza Pietro Nenni, connect Montepulciano with many other Tuscan cities: Siena (75 minutes, 4/day none on Sunday), Pienza (30 minutes, 8/day), Montalcino (1 hour 10/day, change in Torrenien) and Chiusi (hourly). Route #146 into Montepulciano is quite scenic.
The nearest railhead is a half hour away at Chiusi from where there are frequent trains to Florence and Rome.
The only way to get around is to walk along the steep pathways.
- Piazza Grande Pleasant piazza surrounded by great architecture, like the medieval Palazzo Comunale, Contucci Palace, & Palazzo de' Nobili-Tarugi
- The clock tower of the Palazzo Comunale can be climbed for a great town view (€1.60 open daily 10:00-6:00)
- Wine tasting can be done in the Cantinas along Via Ricci & Via di Gracciano nel Corso, but the most fun one is in the basement of the Contucci Palace, on Piazza Grande. Free tasting, no food, open daily 8:30-12:30 & 2:30-6:30. Groups welcome with a reservation. Telephone: 0578-757-006
- Civic Museum This small museum's highlight is the della Robbia ceramic alterpieces & Etruscan artifacts (€4.10, open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-1:00 * 3:00-6:00, Sunday 10:00-6:00, closed Monday, on Via Ricci. Telephone: 0578-717-300
- San Biagio Church A wonderful Renaissance church with soaring nave & dome, with a challenging walk from the church to the town center. Open daily 9:00-1:00 & 3:00-7:00
- The house and property of La Foce  is a short drive away. The XVth century villa was built as an inn for pilgrims and merchants traveling on the ancient road to Rome, via francigena. Restored as a private home by Iris and Antonio Origo, the house and the gardens make for a pleasant two hour visit from Montepulciano. The villa and property (as also are Montepulciano and Chiusi) are the centerpiece of the very readable book War in the Val D'Orcia by Iris Origo. Summertime music concerts are also featured. All tours are guided, so call ahead.
- The Tourist Information office is on Piazza don Minzoni, open Monday to Saturday 9:30-12:30 & 3:00-6:00, Sunday 9:30-12:30. Telephone 0578-757-341
- Ai Quattro Venti Fresh, flavorful, & fun, on Piazza Grande with indoor & outdoor seating, €7 pastas. Open Friday to Wednesday 12:30-2:00 & 7:30-10:30, closed thursday. Next to city hall on Piazza Grande. Telephone: 0578-717-231
- Osteria dell'Aquacheta €5 pastas & salads, open Wednesday to Monday 12:30-3:00 & 7:30-10:30, closed tuesday, on Via del Teatro. Telephone: 0578-717-086
Montepulciano is the center of an ancient wine growing region, so go ahead and sample some. Three varieties of wine are available (all are mostly from the sangiovese grape), Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Reserva, in increasing order of subtlety and price. The wines tend to be full-bodied, the kind that goes well with a picture of generations of Tuscan peasants, sitting in the fields, eating cinghiale (boar) while swigging the good stuff!
- Mueble il Riccio 6 medieval elegant rooms, an awesome rooftop terrace, & friendly owners. Single w/bathroom €75, double w/bathroom €85, triple w/bathroom €101. Breakfast €8, air-conditioning, a block below main square at Via Talosa. Gio & Ivana speak English, Gio or his son give country tours in one of their classic cars for €25/hour. Telephone & Fax: 0578-757-713
- Camere Bellavista Has 10 rooms, some with better views than others. Room 6 has a terrace worth reserving. Double w/bathroom €55, nicer double w/bathroom €65, breakfast €2.50, cash only, no elevator, on Via Ricci 25, little English spoken, Mobile phone: 347-823-2314
- Via della Stella - 15 km from Montepulciano and Cortona, *Via della Stella* is a complex comprising 2 independent buildings equipped with own outdoor areas and finished and furnished with Tuscan pieces, with wrought-iron beds. 9x18 m pool, whirlpool (extra), ping-pong, playground for children, bowl-court and barbecue. Parking by the farmhouse.