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Montepulciano Tuscany: my guide to the Wine City

Montepulciano, nestled in the picturesque region of Tuscany, Italy, is a captivating destination for wine enthusiasts and travelers alike. 

Known as the “Wine City,” Montepulciano offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and, of course, exceptional wine.

As I wandered through its charming streets, I was greeted by ancient architecture, quaint cafes, and inviting wine cellars. 

The town’s hilltop position provides breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, adorned with vineyards producing Italy’s finest wines.

Embark on a journey with me as I delve into the enchanting realm of Montepulciano, nestled amidst Tuscany’s rolling hills.

Join me as I recount my unforgettable Tuscany vacation in the heart of the Wine City, where ancient history meets exquisite wines.

Breathtaking landscapes converge to create an experience like no other. From strolling through charming streets to savoring renowned wines.

Narrow street Montepulciano Tuscany
Narrow street Montepulciano Tuscany

Discovering Montepulciano Tuscany and its location

Address: 53045 Montepulciano province of Siena Italy

Montepulciano is located in the province of Siena in the region of Tuscany, Italy in the area known as Val D orcia. 

Situated atop a hill, it offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, characterized by vineyards and olive groves.

In my opinion, the best way to discover Montepulciano is by taking leisurely walks through its historic center. 

Exploring the town on foot allows you to immerse yourself in its rich history, admire the Renaissance architecture, and stumble upon hidden gems tucked away in its narrow streets. 

Additionally, participating in guided tours or wine tastings at local wineries provides valuable insights into the region’s winemaking traditions. It allows you to sample some of its finest wines, such as the renowned Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Tuscan landscape
Tuscan landscape

Getting to Montepulciano Tuscany

You can get to Montepulciano by car, train, or bus and with a guided tour.

By car

As I planned to explore a vast part of Tuscany, I rented a car from Florence and roamed around the whole area.

It was one of the best choices as I could move freely and explore this fantastic region’s hidden parts.

Have a unique experience by exploring the area in your own rented car

Whether you prefer day trips from your hotel or a tour around the country, car rental is the best way for creating your own experience and live your dream vacation

The scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I really enjoy the freedom to stop and admire the views along the way.

Car Rental Italy Fiat 500
Car Rental Italy Fiat 500

By train

Perched on top of a hill, Montepulciano does ot have its own train station. So you have to take the train to nearby stations like Terontola or Chiusi. From there you will have to take a bus or a taxi to reach Montepulciano.

By bus

The first time I was in the area, I chose not to rent a car (big mistake looking back in time!).

Opting for a cost-effective option, I boarded a bus that connects Montepulciano to neighboring towns and cities. The journey treated me to stunning views of the Tuscan landscape, and soon enough, I arrived at my destination, ready to immerse myself in all that Montepulciano has to offer.

It is obviously a cheap option, but you don’t have the freedom to move around as you wish.

By tour

There are many options to visit Montepulciano if you stay in big towns from Tuscany like Florence or Siena.

It is one of the best day trips from Tuscany big towns.

Tours are best option if you don’t want to rent a car, but also the most expensive option.

But, it is also quite expensive.

Getting around

Montepulciano’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets made walking the ideal way to explore the beautiful town.

I wandered through its historic center, taking in the Renaissance architecture, charming alleyways, and picturesque squares at a leisurely pace.

Vespa on the streets in Tuscany
Vespa on the streets in Tuscany

There are also local buses, perfect if you want to venture outside the town center or rent a bike or a scooter to explore the surroundings.

But, it was not the case for me as I had a rented car and I could freely explore the countryside.

The best things to do in Montepulciano Tuscany Italy

I started my day with a delicious Italian breakfast served at a coffee shop close to the main piazza. With my belly full, I was ready to explore the Wine City.

Piazza Grande

I began my day by exploring Piazza Grande, the vibrant heart of Montepulciano. Surrounded by majestic Renaissance buildings, including the impressive Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), the square exuded an atmosphere of timeless beauty. 

Stepping into this historic square felt like stepping back in time, surrounded by the timeless beauty of Renaissance architecture. 

Piazza Grande Montepulciano
Piazza Grande Montepulciano

The grandeur of the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) and the elegant Palazzo Tarugi left me in awe, while the bustling atmosphere infused the air with energy and excitement.

As I wandered through the square, I couldn’t help but feel captivated by its charm and sophistication. 

The cobblestone streets, lined with cafes and shops, beckoned me to explore further.
The sound of laughter and conversation filled the air as I wandered through the bustling streets.

It was a place where past and present seamlessly intertwined, creating a sense of magic.
The enchantment lingered long after I left, leaving an indelible mark on my memory.

Views from the Town Hall

But perhaps what struck me most were the views from the Town Hall. Climbing to the top offered a panoramic vista of Montepulciano and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. 

Montepulciano historical city center
Montepulciano historical city center

The sight of red-tiled rooftops against rolling hills and vineyards was breathtaking, leaving an indelible impression.
The red-tiled roofs, rolling hills, and vineyards stretched out as far as the eye could see.

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption is located in Piazza Grande and was built in 1712.

From the moment I laid eyes on its elegant facade, I was struck by the sheer beauty and grandeur of this Renaissance masterpiece.

The cathedral is home to the masterpiece “The Assumption of the Virgin”, a gold hued triptych painted by Taddeo di Bartolo.

Cathedral Saint Mary Of The Assumption Montepulciano
Cathedral Saint Mary Of The Assumption Montepulciano

Stepping inside, I was enveloped in a sense of tranquility and serenity. The soft glow of candlelight illuminated the ornate interior, casting a warm ambiance that seemed to invite quiet contemplation. 

The soaring arches, intricate frescoes, and majestic altar created a sense of majesty and holiness that left me breathless.

As I wandered through the cathedral, I couldn’t help but marvel at the craftsmanship and artistry that adorned every corner. 

The delicate stained glass windows, rich paintings, and intricate marble carvings spoke volumes about devotion and dedication.

It wasn’t just the cathedral’s beauty that moved me, but also the sense of history and spirituality.
Generations of worshippers had gathered here, filling me with a profound sense of connection to something greater.

Opening hours: daily from 9 am -12.30 am and from 3.15 pm – 7 pm.

Historic Old Town & Il Corso

Descending from the Town Hall, I wandered through the historic Old Town along Il Corso, the 

main thoroughfare. 

I entered the old town through Porta al Prato, the most famous gate from the town.

Il Corso, the main thoroughfare of Montepulciano, was a bustling avenue filled with life and activity. The charming shops, cafes, and boutiques that lined its path invited exploration, while the elegant architecture served as a reminder of the town’s illustrious past. 

Each step revealed new delights, from hidden courtyards to ornate facades adorned with intricate details.

montepulciano old center street
montepulciano old center street

As I wandered deeper into the historic Old Town, I found myself immersed in a world of timeless beauty. 

The Renaissance palaces and medieval churches spoke volumes about Montepulciano’s storied past.
Narrow alleyways beckoned me to explore further, filled with authenticity and whispers of days gone by.

There was a sense of authenticity in the air, as if the very stones beneath my feet whispered tales of days gone by.

But it was not just the architecture that captivated me—it was the ambiance of the place. 

The sense of community, the warmth of the locals, and the palpable sense of history that permeated every corner made me feel like I was part of something special. 

It was a place where the past seamlessly blended with the present. I felt an atmosphere that was both magical and timeless.

Pulcinella Tower

Next on my itinerary was a visit to the Pulcinella Tower, a historic landmark dating back to the Middle Ages.

Its imposing presence and sturdy brick construction impressed me, which spoke volumes about its storied past.

Standing tall amidst the surrounding buildings, the Pulcinella Tower seemed to beckon me to explore its secrets. 

I couldn’t help but marvel at its medieval architecture and imagine its role in the town’s defense centuries ago. 

Tower of Pulcinella Montepulciano
Tower of Pulcinella Montepulciano

The tower’s weathered facade bore witness to the passage of time, yet it retained a truly captivating air of mystery and resilience.

As I circled the tower, I found myself drawn to its history and significance. I learned that it served as a defensive structure during times of conflict, offering a strategic vantage point for Montepulciano’s inhabitants to protect themselves from potential invaders. 

Its sturdy walls and strategic location were a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the town’s forebears.

But beyond its historical significance, the Pulcinella Tower held a certain allure that transcended its practical purpose. 

It symbolized Montepulciano’s resilience and strength, standing as a silent sentinel against the backdrop of the Tuscan landscape. 

It reminded me of the enduring spirit of this ancient town and left me with a profound sense of admiration for its rich heritage.

Lunch break

I was so fascinated by what I saw that I forgot how hungry I was. 

So, I stopped at a restaurant eager to test the delicious Tuscan cuisine once again.

Tuscan steak
Tuscan steak

Just that this time, I chose a steak and a glass of their famous local wine, which went perfectly together.

After such a delicious lunch, it was time to continue my exploration of Montepulciano Tuscany Italy.

De’Ricci Wine Cellar

No visit to Montepulciano would be complete without indulging in its famous wines.

And there is no beter winery to visit than De’Ricci Wine Cellar.

From the moment I stepped inside, I was enveloped in the rich aromas of aging wine and the warmth of Tuscan hospitality.

The cellar itself exuded a sense of history and tradition, with its ancient stone walls and dimly lit passageways. 

It felt like stepping back in time to a bygone era when winemaking was an art passed down through generations.

wine cellar Montepulciano
wine cellar Montepulciano

As I embarked on the wine tasting experience, I was greeted by knowledgeable staff who guided me through the nuances of each wine. 

From the ruby-red Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to the crisp Bianco di Montepulciano, each sip revealed layers of flavor and complexity that spoke to the skill and dedication of the winemakers.

But it wasn’t just about the wine—the entire experience made a lasting impression on me. 

The staff’s passion, pride, and camaraderie created an atmosphere of conviviality and joy.
Savoring each glass, I appreciated the artistry and craftsmanship behind these exceptional wines.

It reminded me of the beauty and bounty of the Tuscan countryside and the enduring legacy of winemaking in Montepulciano.

Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio

Sanctuary of the Madonna si San Biagio is located just outside the city walls, about 15 minutes walk from the main town square.

It is open during summertime from 10 am-1.30 pm and from 2 pm till 6.30 pm, except for Sundays when it is open from 11.30 am.

The church was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder.

My impression of the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio in Montepulciano was one of pure awe and reverence. Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, this Renaissance church stood as a beacon of beauty and tranquility, drawing visitors from near and far.

Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio from drone
Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio from drone

Approaching the sanctuary, I was immediately struck by its graceful domes and elegant facade, which gleamed in the sunlight against the backdrop of verdant vineyards and azure skies. 

The sight was nothing short of breathtaking, and I felt a sense of anticipation building as I made my way towards the entrance.

Stepping inside, I was greeted by a sense of peace and serenity that washed over me like a warm embrace. The interior of the sanctuary was bathed in soft light, illuminating the exquisite artwork and architectural details that adorned its walls. 

I found myself drawn to the altar, where a statue of the Madonna di San Biagio stood in quiet reverence, surrounded by flickering candles and fragrant incense.

As I explored the sanctuary further, I couldn’t help but marvel at the skill and craftsmanship that went into its construction. 

From the intricate frescoes that adorned the ceilings to the delicate marble sculptures that adorned the chapels, every detail spoke of the devotion and dedication of those who built this sacred space.

But perhaps what struck me most was the sense of tranquility that permeated the sanctuary. Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, stepping into this holy place felt like entering a sanctuary of peace and solace.

 It was a place where the cares of the world fell away, and I felt a deep connection to something greater than myself.

Medici Fortress

Perched atop a hill overlooking the town, the fortress commanded attention with its formidable walls and commanding presence.

Approaching the fortress, I was struck by its imposing silhouette against the skyline. As I ascended the winding path leading to its gates, I couldn’t help but imagine the centuries of history that lay within its walls. 

Built during the 16th century by the powerful Medici family, the fortress served as a symbol of strength and authority, a testament to the tumultuous times in which it was erected.

Medici fortress in Montepulciano
Medici fortress in Montepulciano

Stepping inside, I found myself transported back in time to an era of knights and nobles, where battles were fought and alliances were forged. 

The fortress’s rugged architecture and strategic layout spoke of its military origins, while the sweeping views of Montepulciano and the surrounding countryside offered a glimpse into the strategic importance of its position.

Exploring the fortress further, I marveled at the remnants of its storied past—the ancient battlements, the crumbling watchtowers, and the vast courtyard where soldiers once trained. Each step was a journey through time, a chance to connect with the rich history and heritage of this remarkable structure.

But beyond its historical significance, the fortress held a certain allure that transcended its practical purpose. 

It was a place of beauty and mystery, where the echoes of the past mingled with the whispers of the present.

Standing on its ramparts, I felt a sense of reverence for the generations of people who had walked these same paths before me, and a deep appreciation for the enduring legacy of Montepulciano’s medieval past.

Tours to Montepulciano Tuscany Italy

If you don’t want to rent a car, then the best way to explore Montepulciano is with a guided tour. There are some really good tours from the main Italian cities:

From Rome: in this tour, you will visit Montepulciano, Abbey of Sant’Antimo, Pienza and you will have lunch at a vineyard

The transportation between Tuscany area and Rome is made with bus.

From Florence: in this tour, you will visit Montepulciano and Pienza 

From Siena:  in this tour, you will visit Montepulciano and Pienza 

Montepulciano wine

Of course, I tasted the famous Montepulciano D abruzzo during my wine tour and lunch.

I also tasted Rosso di Montepulciano, but my heart remained at Montepulciano D’abruzzo.

Montepulciano Dabruzzo wine is one of sheer delight and appreciation for its distinctive qualities. This robust red wine, hailing from the Abruzzo region of Italy, captures the essence of its terroir in every sip.

Tuscany Wine Glass
Tuscany Wine Glass

From the moment I first tasted Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, I was captivated by its deep ruby color and inviting aroma.

Upon taking my first sip, I was met with a burst of rich flavors, including ripe berries, plums.
Hints of tobacco and leather lingered on my palate.

The wine’s velvety texture and well-rounded tannins left a lasting impression.
Its vibrant acidity provided balance and structure, enhancing the overall experience of enjoying this exceptional wine.

What sets Montepulciano d’Abruzzo apart is its versatility. 

Whether enjoyed on its own as a contemplative sipper or paired with a wide range of dishes, from hearty pasta dishes to grilled meats and aged cheeses, this wine never fails to impress. 

Its ability to complement a variety of flavors and cuisines makes it a perennial favorite among wine enthusiasts.

wine tasting
wine tasting

But perhaps what I appreciate most about Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is its accessibility. Despite its complex character and undeniable quality, this wine remains remarkably affordable, making it accessible to wine lovers of all budgets. 

Whether enjoyed as an everyday indulgence or saved for special occasions, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine offers a taste of Italy’s rich winemaking tradition without breaking the bank.

Montepulciano agriturismo and hotels

My fav hotel in the heart of the city is La Dimora nel Corso, a clean hotel with comfortable and spacious rooms.

The staff is extremely attentive and polite, ready to help you and give a piece of advice if you need it.

If you have a car and want to sleep in the middle of the Tuscan hills, then go for an agriturismo, my favorite accommodation when in Tuscany.

Book your overnight stay at Agriturismo Villa Mazzi, located about 2.5 km away from Montepulciano city center.

Here, you will find rustic decor and exposed wood-beamed ceilings, and each unit has a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom.

Montepulciano restaurants

Italian food is delicious, and if you go a little further from the main attractions, you will be able to find delicious food at reasonable prices.

I found plenty of dishes delicious, and I recommend you try them, too when exploring Montepulciano Tuscany.

cold cuts and wine Tuscany Italy
cold cuts and wine Tuscany Italy

Nothing is better than a plate of cold cuts with some pecorino and prosciutto together with a glass of red wine.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina is also something that I tried, and I found it delicious, as well as pasta and their desserts.

A quick search after reviews on the internet is always welcome, or you can simply walk around and see what catches your eye.

Tiramisu Italy best dessert
Tiramisu Italy best dessert

I always search on the internet for reviews before sitting on a table.

Best time to visit Montepulciano

In my opinion, the best time to visit Montepulciano is during the spring or fall months. 

During these seasons, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the town on foot and enjoying outdoor activities. 

Additionally, spring and fall offer the added bonus of fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more relaxed and authentic experience. 

The countryside surrounding Montepulciano is also particularly beautiful during these seasons, with lush greenery in the spring and vibrant foliage in the fall. 

Overall, I find that visiting Montepulciano during the shoulder seasons provides the perfect balance of favorable weather, fewer tourists, and stunning scenery.

Practical tips for visiting Montepulciano Tuscany Italy

Here are some practical tips to make the most of your visit to Montepulciano:

Comfortable Footwear

Montepulciano’s streets are predominantly cobblestone, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.

Sun Protection

During the summer months, the Tuscan sun can be intense. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn.

Stay Hydrated

Keep a bottle of water handy, especially if you’re exploring the town on foot. Staying hydrated will help you stay energized throughout the day.

Cash

While many establishments in Montepulciano accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially for small purchases or at local markets.

Local Cuisine

Don’t miss the opportunity to sample Tuscan cuisine during your visit. Look for trattorias and osterias offering traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

Pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale
Pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale

Wine Tastings

If you’re interested in wine, consider booking a wine tasting experience at one of Montepulciano’s renowned wineries. Remember to drink responsibly and arrange for transportation if needed.

Parking

If you’re driving, be aware that parking can be limited in the historic center of Montepulciano. Consider parking in one of the designated lots on the outskirts of town and walking or taking a shuttle into the center.

Tuscany Car Rental Italy
Tuscany Car Rental Italy

Respectful Attire

When visiting churches or other religious sites, remember to dress modestly out of respect for local customs and traditions.

Timing

Montepulciano is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months. Consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds and make the most of your experience.

Explore Beyond the Main Square

While Piazza Grande is a must-visit, don’t forget to explore the quieter side streets and hidden corners of Montepulciano. You never know what hidden gems you might discover!

Conclusion

In conclusion, my visit to Montepulciano has been nothing short of magical. Immersing myself in its rich history, wandering through its charming streets, and indulging in its exquisite cuisine and wines have left an indelible mark on my soul. 

From the awe-inspiring views of Piazza Grande to the serene beauty of the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio, every moment has been a testament to the town’s timeless allure.

Exploring Montepulciano’s historic old town and marveling at its Renaissance architecture have transported me back in time, while the warmth and hospitality of its residents have made me feel right at home. 

The wine tastings at local wineries, particularly at the De’Ricci Wine Cellar, have been a highlight, offering a glimpse into the region’s winemaking traditions and allowing me to savor the flavors of Tuscany with each sip.

As I bid farewell to Montepulciano, I carry with me not only memories of its picturesque landscapes and cultural treasures but also a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. 

Whether it’s savoring a gelato on a sun-drenched afternoon or watching the sunset cast its golden glow over the vineyards, Montepulciano has reminded me to slow down, savor the moment, and cherish the beauty that surrounds us.

In essence, my visit to Montepulciano has been a journey of discovery, inspiration, and joy. It’s a place that has captured my heart and left me longing to return, to once again lose myself in its timeless beauty and experience the magic of Tuscany in all its glory.

FAQ

What is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano?

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a prestigious red wine produced in the Montepulciano region of Tuscany, known for its robust flavor and aging potential.

What are some must-visit attractions in Montepulciano?

Piazza Grande, San Biagio Church, and the Val d’Orcia are just a few of the must-visit attractions in Montepulciano.

When is the best time to visit Montepulciano?

The best time to visit Montepulciano is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists crowding the streets.

What outdoor activities are available in Montepulciano?

Montepulciano offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling.

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