Montalcino is a picture perfect hilltop town located amongst the rolling hills of The Val d'Orica. As you approach its impressive fortressed walls, its true beauty becomes apparent, towering Medieval spires, steep, narrow streets and a classic fairytale castle. Climb to the top of the hill to enjoy the spectacular views across the surrounding valleys and vineyards. Explore and sample the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine for which this beautiful region is world-renowned.
What to do
Immerse yourself in the impossibly pretty and historic streets that greet you behind Montalcino's fortressed walls. Start off wandering through the labyrinth like streets, scarcely changed in appearance since the 16th century. Browse the charming arts and crafts shops, stop in one of the many restaurants, cafes and wine bars. Take time to simply relax and soak up its unique medieval atmosphere.
Explore the impressive 14th century fortress, climb its ramparts and walk its fortress walls to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Reward yourself for climbing its main tower by sampling some local wine in the wine bar situated at the top.
For art and history lovers a visit to the Museo Civico and Dioceziano di Arte Sacra (joint ticket with the fortress) is recommended, held inside you will find a several notable religious paintings and sculptures. Also, the Museo del Vetro, a fascinating museum, telling the history of glassmaking through Roman and Egyptian times to present day Venetian.
The Neoclassical cathedral of San Salvatore, built in the 14th century, is worth a visit to view some of its many important religious paintings. Slightly out of town you will find the Museo del Brunello. A must if you're passionate about wine, this museum is dedicated to the history and production of this regions famous wine.
The surrounding area of Val d'Orica is a UNESCO site, famous for its breathtaking landscapes. Enjoy a perfect day driving around to fully appreciate the spectacular scenery. Combine your trip with a visit to the famous Sant'Antimo Abbey, an evocative Romanesque church surrounded by tranquil countryside.
What to eat
This is an intensely foodie area where you will find quaint restaurants offering a variety of local cuisine, as well as no shortage of wine bars from where to enjoy the local delicious wines.
For welcoming, local fare head to the cosy Osteria Di Porta Al Cassero. Sit at wooden tables against rustic stone walls. Sample the rich dishes made with wild boar and rabbit as well as traditional pastas. Finish off with classic tiramisu. Right in the middle of town you will find Alle Logge di Piazza, this popular tratorria and wine bar is open all day, serves delicious pasta dishes and is the perfect spot for an aperitivo whilst watching the world go by.
For the perfect pizza in a relaxed setting you can't beat Il Grifo Pizzeria. They offer an extensive list of pizzas, featuring many Italian classics, as well as a range of pasta and local dishes. It's worth booking ahead in summer as this restaurant is incredibly popular.
For fine dining head out of town to Ristorante di Poggio Antico, situated on the highly regarded wine estate of the same name. Enjoy some of the finest modern Italian in the area from either the a la carte or tasting menu. Dine inside the converted barn or outside on the scenic terrace.
How to get there
If arriving by car, Montalcino is about 8km off the SS2 running between Siena and Rome. There is a small parking lot next to the Fortezza just inside the walls. There are 10 trains a day on the Grosseto line out of Siena. You'll arrive in nearby Buonconvento from where it's possible to get a bus into town. Buses to Siena take approx 70 mins and are very frequent. Tickets can be purchased from Bar Prato on the piazza or from the tourist office.
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