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Guide to Montepulciano, Italy

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Nestled in the picturesque hills of Tuscany, Montepulciano invites travelers from all over with its rich history, amazing cuisine, and world-renowned wine. If you are looking to unwind and indulge, Montepulciano is a must-visit. For a small town, it is quite lively with a plethora of restaurant options and shopping. You will also be centrally located to some of Tuscany's best wineries.


I loved my stay here and would come back in a heartbeat!


How To Get There

The nearest major international airport to Montepulciano is Florence Airport (Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola. From Florence Airport, you can rent a car and drive to Montepulciano. The distance is 75 miles, and the drive takes around 2 hours. The drive is quite lovely through the rolling hills. You also pass many popular cities, and can stop along the way if you want to break up the drive.


Alternatively, you can fly into Rome's Fiumicino Airport (Leonardo da Vinci Airport - FCO). The drive from Rome is longer, taking approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, but still very manageable.


If you prefer not to drive, you can also hire a private transfer (although much more expensive). I would recommend having a car on your trip to Montepulciano in order to make wineries, other towns, and day trips accessible.


When To Visit

Montepulciano is truly a year round destination. There is something to offer with every season! I went in the winter, and I really enjoyed the lack of crowds and Christmas market.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Montepulciano depends on your preferences. If you prefer warm weather and a bustling atmosphere, spring and summer are ideal. For the chance to witness the grape harvest, visit in the fall. Winter offers a serene ambiance with less people but with cooler temperatures. Keep in mind that accommodations and activities may need to be booked in advance during peak tourist seasons.



Where To Stay

Montepulciano offers a variety of charming accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The main thing to decide is if you want to stay inside the town walls, thus easily acessible to restaurants and shopping, or outside the walls to enjoy the peaceful countryside. I chose to stay inside the town walls, which I loved. It was super easy to walk and grab a coffee in the morning and walk to dinner at night. Although if I visited in the warmed months, I would consider staying outside the walls to enjoy a pool and resort.


Recommendations on where to stay:

  • Palazzo Carletti: This elegant hotel is located in a beautifully restored Renaissance palace, offering luxurious rooms and a central location.

  • Palazzo San Donato: Step back into the 19th century with this stunning and timeless hotel. Centrally located in the heart of town, you will be walking distance to many amazing restaurants and cafes.

  • Relais Villa Grazianella: Located in the countryside, this charming hotel offers beautiful views and a peaceful atmosphere.

  • AirBnb House (where I stayed): This amazing house is within the walls of Montepulciano and sleeps 10 people. It is a spacious home with a dining area, fully stocked kitchen and living area, perfect for entertaining and for large groups/families.

Where To Eat

The food in Montepulciano was truly unmatched. I never had a bad meal. Try regional dishes like pici pasta, ribollita (a hearty soup), and, of course, the renowned Tuscan steaks.

  • Il Pozo: Nestled in a centuries-old underground cellar, this restaurant offers an intimate dining experience where you can savor traditional Tuscan dishes. Be sure to try their exquisite pasta and flavorful meats, paired with local wines. The service was top notch. I would highly recommend coming here.

  • Osteria Borgo: Osteria Borgo is a must-visit for food enthusiasts. This charming eatery captures the essence of Italian cuisine with its fresh ingredients and traditional, regional recipes and cozy ambiance. We loved it so much, we ate here twice! The staff was also very knowledgeable about the regional wine and they had a wide selection.

  • Ristorante La Grotta: For a taste of sophistication, make a reservation at Ristorante La Grotta. This Michelin-starred restaurant takes Tuscan cuisine to the next level, offering an elegant dining experience featuring innovative dishes inspired by local traditions.

  • La Vineria di Montepulciano: Wine lovers will find a haven at La Vineria di Montepulciano. This wine bar offers an extensive selection of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, allowing you to taste the region's famous red wine while savoring delicious antipasti. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the perfect wine pairings.



Wineries:

No visit to Montepulciano is complete without exploring the heart of its wine culture. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vineyards are world-renowned for producing exceptional wines. Take a tour and tasting at one of the local wineries to appreciate the craftsmanship and passion behind this famous wine.


Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a high-quality, red wine made from Sangiovese grapes grown in the Montepulciano region of Tuscany, Italy. I personally love Vino Nobile, and would recommend trying as many different brands as you can while there. It is also super interesting to learn about the Vino Nobile versus the Vino Rosso. I learned so much at each of the wine tasting, and the properties are stunning to visit.

  • Salcheto: At Salcheto, you can immerse yourself in sustainable winemaking practices while sampling some of the finest Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The winery's commitment to organic farming and eco-friendly production methods adds a unique aspect to the wine tour.

  • Poliziano: Poliziano Winery is a name synonymous with quality and tradition. Their guided tours offer insights into the winemaking process, and you'll have the opportunity to savor their range of wines, including the renowned Asinone.

  • Avignonesi: Avignonesi is known for producing exquisite wines, including the coveted Desiderio Merlot. A visit to their vineyards allows you to explore the world of Tuscan winemaking and appreciate the artistry behind each bottle.

  • Dei: Dei Winery combines a rich winemaking heritage dating back to the 1960s with a modern approach and sustainable practices. Guests can enjoy guided tours of their state-of-the-art facilities, taste their exceptional Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and soak in the panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside.

I enjoyed both of these wine producers but wasn't able to make it to the property for a tasting. Locals recommended them to us, and I hope to visit one day!

  • Montemercurio: For a boutique winery experience, visit Monte Mercurio. This family-owned estate offers a warm welcome and a chance to taste unique, small-batch wines while enjoying panoramic views of the countryside.

  • Bindella: Bindella is a family-owned winery in Montepulciano, Italy, known for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. They are also known for their commitment to sustainable and organic farming practices.



What To Do
  • Historic Center: Stroll through the town's historic center, characterized by narrow streets, Renaissance palaces, and charming piazzas. Visit the Piazza Grande, Palazzo Comunale, and the Duomo di Montepulciano for architectural and cultural delights.

  • Piazza Grande: The main square, Piazza Grande, is a bustling hub filled with cafes, restaurants, and shops. It's an ideal place to people-watch and enjoy a meal or a glass of wine.

  • Shopping: Browse the boutique shops for souvenirs, including local wines, olive oils, ceramics, and artisanal goods. The town is known for its high-quality products.

  • Cooking Class at Podere Il Casale: Immerse yourself in the flavors of Tuscany by joining a cooking class at Podere Il Casale. Learn to prepare traditional Italian dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. It's a hands-on experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for Tuscan cuisine. I highly recommend this!!

  • Pienza: A short drive from Montepulciano, you'll find the charming town of Pienza. Explore its UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, taste the famous pecorino cheese, and stroll through the quaint streets for a taste of Renaissance Italy. It is much smaller than Montepulciano. Spending an afternoon or half-day here is sufficient!

  • San Biagio Church: Marvel at the stunning Church of Madonna di San Biagio, located just outside Montepulciano. This Renaissance church is known for its unique architectural beauty and serene surroundings. If you are looking for some physical activity after lots of pasta, this makes for a great morning walk.

  • Christmas Markets: In December, Montepulciano has festive lights throughout town, a light show in the main plaza and a small Christmas market. This, combined with the cool weather, will get you right in the holiday spirit! I loved being here this time of year.


Montepulciano is the perfect combination of culinary delights, fine wines, and cultural experiences. Whether you're indulging in a Michelin-starred dinner, sipping Vino Nobile in a historic cellar, or exploring the rich history of Tuscany, Montepulciano promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of Italy.



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