Montepulciano, Pienza & Montalcino
Montepulciano, Pienza & Montalcino: wine & cheese day from Florence!
A NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TIMES
4 hours total. Florence-Montepulciano, 90 min; Montepulciano-Pienza, 20 min; Pienza-Montalcinoa, 25 min, Montalcino-Florence, 1 hr 45 min.
DETAILS: MONTEPULCIANO, PIENZA & MONTALCINO from Florence
On this day trip you’ll drive through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Tuscany, and visit places where some of the best wine and cheese are made. The best thing is you have a driver, so you can taste wine to your heart’s content!
Nestled in a particularly lovely and much-photographed area of Tuscany, Montepulciano is a classic Medieval village with a refined edge.
Montepulciano is known for its Vino Nobile, but there are many other things to enjoy if you prefer art and architecture to wine. Stroll the sloping, narrow streets and you will inevitably end up at one of many lookout points giving you spectacular views of the rolling countryside.
The main piazza, Piazza Grande, is a beautiful composition of the elegant Renaissance palazzi of important families, the brooding Gothic figure of Palazzo Comunale, the unadorned facade of the cathedral, and Pozzo dei Grifi, a fancy well decorated with lions, griffins, and the Medici family crest. Fans of the Twilight books might recognize Piazza Grande -- it was a shooting location for the New Moon film.
A novelty in town and an emblem of the city is the Torre di Pulcinella. The clock tower is topped by a puppet character from 17th century Neapolitan commedia dell'arte who strikes the bell on the hour to mark the time.
There are a good many churches to visit, for either their architectural beauty (such as San Biagio) or the important artworks they contain (Sant'Agostino).
Pienza might have remained a small, insignificant farming community had it not been been for the birth of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became a great humanist scholar and, later, Pope Pius II. Piccolomini was the first to implement the humanist concept of urban design, basically brilliant town-planning techniques that turned his home town into a little jewel of the Renaissance in the 15th century,
Today Pienza is synonymous with cheese, especially pecorino, made from sheep’s milk. Surely the delectable cheesy smells will whet your appetite. If you want to buy a some cheese to take home you can sample those that interest you in the shops, but it might be nicer to sit on a little terrace and enjoy a nice plate of cheeses with a glass of wine.
After a short drive from Pienza through the enchanting hills dotted with vineyards and cypress you’ll arrive in Montalcino. This lovely Medieval rose to world acclaim thanks to Brunello di Montalcino, the robust red wine that now graces the cellars of wine aficionados around the globe.
Although wine is the principal reason people come to Montalcino, it is the Medieval fortress that immediately catches the attention of the visitor upon arriving. This beautiful and imposing structure, constructed in 1361, will make you exclaim, “Now that’s a castle!” The Rocca is wonderfully preserved and you can walk around the interior (for free even).
It’s very pleasant to stroll the streets that haven’t changed in many centuries, and there are many architectural points of interest as well, mostly churches in a variety of styles:
• the Cathedral (Neoclassical style),
• the church of St. Egidio (simple Romanesque facade)
• St. Agostino (14th century frescoes)
• St. Francis (beautiful cloisters)
For something more civic there’s Priori Palace with its skinny clock tower, decorated with coats of arms.
MONTEPULCIANO, PIENZA & MONTALCINO from Florence
DURATION: 8 hrs
OTHER COSTS & NOTES
The cost of wine and cheese tastings is not included.
- CHURCH DRESS CODE
Proper attire is required to enter churches (bare shoulders must be covered and shorts/skirts must come down to your knees).
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