Montepulciano, discover the real Tuscany

Montepulciano, discover the real Tuscany

Montepulciano is everything you expect from Tuscany. Beautiful rolling hills, countless vineyards, picturesque villages and narrow roads lined with pine trees. Tuscany had been on our travel bucket list for years. Now that we were able to cross it off the list, one thing is certain; this was definitely not the last time. As a food addict, Tuscany is a Valhalla. In this area you will find Italy’s best wines and the most delicious meals. Are you also going to Montepulciano soon? Lucky you! Quickly read our best tips.

In this article

Montepulciano: A dive into its rich history and culture

Montepulciano, a jewel in Tuscany, has a rich history dating back to Etruscan times. The city became an important center in the Middle Ages, strategically located between Siena and Florence. The Renaissance brought an era of cultural flourishing, with the construction of remarkable palaces and churches.

Today, Montepulciano breathes history. A walk through the streets reveals deep-rooted traditions and a strong sense of community. It is a living testament to the rich past.

What to do in Montepulciano

To do & sights in Montepulciano

  1. Wine lovers take note: Tuscany is a wine lover’s dream. Take part in wine tastings in Montepulciano, for example at Tenuta S. Agnese.
  2. Roadtripping through Tuscany: Enjoy an unforgettable drive from Montepulciano to Siena, with its picturesque landscapes, Tuscan houses and vineyards.
  3. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta: Admire the impressive architecture and works of art in this important church in Montepulciano.
  4. Discover the Tempio di San Biagio: This architectural masterpiece near Montepulciano is worth a visit for its remarkable beauty and serene setting.
  5. Visit the iconic Tuscan road La Foce: Despite the bumpy ride, the scenic route is a must-see.
  6. For Gladiator fans: visit the location of the iconic scene of the House of Maximus, near the charming village of Pienza.
  7. Discover Montepulciano: Stroll through the city streets filled with quaint eateries, delicatessens and boutiques.
  8. Visit picturesque Pienza: This town, high on a hill, is a real charmer, with delicious eateries and a scenic route from Montepulciano.
  9. Explore other cities: Montepulciano is the perfect base for visiting other cities such as Florence and Rome.

You had me at WINE

Tuscany is all about wine. Yup, my dream destination. During a road trip through the area, you will be treated to beautiful vineyards and their accompanying wineries where you can go for a great wine tasting. We visited Tuscany in September. This is unfortunately not the most beautiful period as it can be quite dry and arid, but it is the time when the grapes are picked. So a wine tasting in MOntepulciano is absolutely a must when you are here. We did a wine tasting at the Agriturismo where we stayed overnight at Tenuta S. Agnese. They are the first true wine seller of Noble Wine in Montepulciano. The wineries can be found in the center of Montepulciano.

Montepulciano
Montepulciano

Roadtripping through the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany

The road from Montepulciano toward Siena is one you won’t soon forget. Time seems to have stood still for a moment here. No crowded cities or modern buildings. Along the way you will find narrow roads, beautiful old Tuscan houses, olive trees, gigantic wine and sunflower fields and the most vast landscapes. Already very impressive in September, but probably even more beautiful in spring when everything is in bloom.

Montepulciano

Visit Tuscany’s most famous road La Foce

You have surely seen this narrow Tuscan road with countless pine trees passing by on instagram. We do need to warn you in advance because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Our trust in Google Maps did diminish a bit after this ride. We unfortunately took a wrong turn on the way and had to drive all the way inland via a dirt road as a result. With an old camper not the most enjoyable thing to do. But the surroundings make up for everything. The drive to it may have been intense, but it was also tremendously beautiful. Once we arrived at the road, unfortunately we had nowhere to park the camper so we got to admire it from a distance. With a small car or a scooter, of course, this is much easier. We especially recommend visiting this place. It really is a picture.

Gladiator fans beware!

Surely the movie Gladiator is one you must have seen at some point. Although most of the film is set in Rome and Italy, almost all the scenes were shot in England and Morocco.
Yet one of the film’s most iconic images was shot near Montepulciano, namely the house of Maximus. This is the scene in the beginning when he arrives at his house with couple and finds out that his family has been killed. You can find the road by simply searching for Gladiator road. Yes it can be that easy. The road is near the cute little village of Pienza (nice to combine) and is easily accessible. You can’t go there by car, unfortunately, but you can take a walk home.

Strolling through the streets of Montepulciano

How nice is this little town. As soon as you walk through the beautiful old city gates you find yourself in another world. The city is bursting with fun eateries, delicatessen shops and quaint boutiques.

Visit cozy Pienza

If you love cozy picturesque towns then Tuscany is a fat tip! Pienza, then, is not to be missed. This town is located high on a hill and is small but nice.
The drive from Montepulciano to Pienza is a sight in itself anyway. Once you arrive in town, you can take a seat at one of the many nice eateries.

Montepulciano
Montepulciano

Add Florence, Siena or even Rome to your visit list

If you are in Montepulciano for a bit longer, this is also the perfect base to visit other cities, such as Florence or even Rome. By train, you are about 1 to 2 hours away. By car almost as long and then you’re stuck with parking. Therefore, we especially recommend that you enjoy going by train the.

Hotspots & food in Montepulciano

Holy Moly what good food you can eat here. It’s a good thing we’ve only been here a few days otherwise I’d be round as a barrel.
Of course, we have collected the most delicious hotspots of Montepulciano for you:

  • Restaurante La Casina Montepulciano: a great hotspot tip from my dear niece and Montepulciano connoisseur. Especially the pasta with asparagus and strawberry is divine. Sounds a little freaky, but the dish was really fantastic.
  • Sette de Vino: If you also want to visit Pienza (highly recommended anyway) then you must eat at Sette de Vino. The bean soup for lunch is highly recommended.
  • Buon Gusto Gelateria: the best ice cream in Pienza.
  • Dispensa dei Golosi: a deli just outside the center where you can score the tastiest wines.
  • Caffè Poliziano: a classic coffee bar with authentic details in the old center of Montepulciano.

More hotspots? Quickly read the article“Montepulciano Hotspots“.

Local dishes in Montepulciano

Montepulciano is known for its delicious local cuisine. An overview of some snacks or drinks you should definitely try.

Local Dishes in Montepulciano

If you visit Montepulciano, be sure to sample the local cuisine. Here are some dishes not to be missed:

  • Pici: A local pasta, often served with aglione or ragù of wild boar.
  • Cinta Senese: A local breed of pig used for meat and cold cuts such as salami and prosciutto.
  • Pecorino di Pienza: A hard sheep’s cheese from the nearby village of Pienza.
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: The local red wine, known for its powerful yet refined taste.
  • Cantucci con Vin Santo: Tuscan almond cookies served with a sweet dessert wine.

Best time to travel to Montepulciano

The best travel time for Montepulciano is in spring or early summer. That’s when Tuscany is at its most beautiful. All the fields are then in beautiful bloom. In high season, Tuscany gets very hot and quite crowded. Should it be an option, we recommend traveling off-season.

We visited Tuscany in late September, still beautiful, but all the green was already gone. This in turn had the advantage that everywhere was nice and quiet and the temperatures were still lovely.

Transportation in Montepulciano

It is convenient to have your own transportation in Montepulciano, though. There is an awful lot to see in the area and public transportation is not everywhere. If you did not come to Italy with your own transportation, we recommend renting a car.

Which budget do i need in Montepulciano?

  • Hotels: on average 50 – 100 euros (from basic – luxury)
  • Food and drink:15 -20 per meal for 2 people
  • Activities: for a museum you pay about 8 – 10 euros and most churches and cathedrals are free
  • Groceries are similar to the Netherlands.
  • Gasoline prices are also similar to the Netherlands.
  • Public transportation: about 2 euros per person for a one-way ticket (30 minutes)

On average, we spent about 50 – 75 euros per day. Largest portion went out to Vino and Pasta.

Practical information about Montepulciano

  • Parking near Montepulciano can be found in several places. If you are with a camper, you have a parking lot for RVs just before the old center (near a kind of bus station). Prices for parking are not too bad.
  • With an ACSI discount card, you often get discounts at campsites in the off-season.
  • If you take the dog with you, you are required to carry a muzzle. Dogs must wear this in public places. Yet we almost never saw dogs with a muzzle and never did it with our dog. Although we do have a stick old pug with epilepsy who was in backpack most of the time so expect most people were understanding of this. With a larger dog, this may be different anyway.
  • For the nicest camping spot, we always use the app Park4night & camper contact
  • On narrow mountain roads, ascending traffic always has the right of way over descending traffic unless the ascending vehicle is closer to a lay-by.
  • In the mountains, don’t use your brakes too much, but try to slow down on your bike.
  • The same obligations apply in the car as in the Netherlands. So bring safety jacket and warning triangle!
  • In Italy, many stores, restaurants and supermarkets are often closed at noon. Something we forgot almost every day.

What are nice places to stay in Montepulciano ?

How lucky! Montepulciano is a great place, but for us an even more beautiful destination because of our great accommodation. A cute bright yellow Tuscan cottage in the middle of the vineyards less than 5 minutes from town. The cottage belongs to Tenuta Winery, who in addition to their wine and olive production have two houses with several apartments to stay in. All over Italy you can find this type of accommodation called agriturismos. Above all, look for these to experience the real Tuscan feeling. The cottage/apartment was much more spacious than expected. So there is a sitting area, a huge kitchen, gigantic bedroom with a double and an additional single bed and a spacious bathroom. The interior is still in true Tuscan style. From a beautiful plaid tablecloth, Tuscan kitchen tiles to the floral quilt. What makes this accommodation especially special is the surroundings that you can admire from your garden or the pool. So we decided to eat somewhere in town during the day and enjoy a great sunset in the evening with antipasti and a good glass of wine.

Montepulciano motorhome site

In 2020 we went back to Montepulciano and decided to spend a night in the parking lot. In fact, at the bus stop you will find a special camper parking area where you can also park for 24 hours. It’s a little stuffy and there are no amenities, but it doesn’t cost a turd (we paid 5 euros) and it’s within walking distance of town. For 1 night we found this really more than fine.

Best hotels and Agritourisms of Montepulciano

Are you traveling by RV or other camping equipment or just want to spend a night somewhere. No worries. We have selected some nice accommodations for Montepulciano for you.

How to get to Montepulciano ?

In Tuscany, we visited several places such as Volterra, Siena and Pienza. Montepulciano became our first stop in Tuscany. Before Montepulciano, we first visited Trento and Bozen in South Tyrol. We really loved the variety of both regions in Italy. Whereas in South Tyrol we were nice and active, in Tuscany it was mostly about food and Vino.

If you are not taking a road trip through Europe like us, but are coming from the Netherlands, then it is about a 14-hour drive to Tuscany, without stopping. Most people combine the drive with a stop in France, Germany or Switzerland. It is also possible to fly to Florence or Pisa. From both places it is about a 1.5 drive. We definitely recommend you to rent a car so you can properly explore the surroundings of Tuscany.

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Our verdict

By : We Wander Why 8,5 / 10

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