Montalcino: The Charming Wine Town of Tuscany!
Montalcino in Italy is a beautiful medieval town in Tuscany and an absolute Mecca for wine lovers. This small town is world-famous for its renowned red wine, the Brunello di Montalcino, which is considered the absolute Italian wine in Tuscany. But also the lovely old town with its beautiful alleys, in which numerous excellent restaurants and cafés are located, is worth a visit. A stroll through Montalcino also reveals enchanting historical attractions, small churches and picturesque squares. This place is also perfect for a vacation, as the charming surroundings offer countless surprises and unique places to visit.
In this travel guide we provide you with all the important information about Montalcino in Italy. We also show you the most beautiful things to do, wonderful pictures and where to find the best accommodations.
General Information about Montalcino
Montalcino, a town of about 6,000 inhabitants, is beautifully situated on a 567-meter-high hill in the famous Val d’Orcia, about 30 kilometers south of Siena and 80 kilometers from Florence. Thanks to its excellent red wine, called Brunello di Montalcino, and the beautiful historic old town, Montalcino is one of the most wonderful things to see in Tuscany. This ruby-colored wine is produced according to the strictest DOCG rules and is made of only one grape, the Sangiovese Grosso grape. The wine ages for at least 2 years in oak barrels, and then it ages for at least 4 months in the bottle.
The history of Montalcino dates back to the era of the Etruscans, although the wine from Montalcino was mentioned only in 1550. However, the Brunello wine, now famous all over the world, was born only at the end of the nineteenth century. Especially worth visiting is also the historic center of Montalcino with numerous attractions that captivate tourists. Among them is the imposing Fortress of Montalcino, which dates from the 14th century and is considered the landmark of the old town.
Things to Do in Montalcino
In Montalcino there are plenty of interesting things to do. An absolute highlight is the historical old town with its beautiful churches and squares and the Rocca di Montalcino Fortress, which towers majestically over the wine town. Here is a summary of the best attractions in Montalcino at a glance.
Piazza del Popolo & Palazzo dei Priore
One of the most beautiful attractions in Montalcino is the picturesque square Piazza del Popolo, which amazes with a very unusual scenery. Especially impressive here is the Palazzo dei Priore, the town hall from the 13th century, with its slender medieval tower. Nearby is the Loggia, a Renaissance building with 6 round arches from the 15th century. Piazza del Popolo is the historical center of Montalcino. Here you will also find numerous cafés and restaurants, which invite to take a pleasant sightseeing break. The Alle Logge di Piazza, a charming restaurant directly in the Loggia, is also highly recommended. It scores with fantastic food, delicious coffee and excellent wine.
Old Town Alleys
The medieval alleys of the town with their countless delicatessens and wine bars give Montalcino an extremely picturesque charm. You can also find restaurants that offer excellent cuisine at every corner. The best thing is to simply walk through Montalcino and explore the small highlights, the culinary surprises and the beautiful photo spots on your own. Especially inviting is the Via Giacomo Matteotti, which leads to the main square, but also the quiet Via Spagni, which enchants with its stone houses and pretty churches.
Tip: The best thing to do in Montalcino is to visit one of the so-called Enotecas, a gastronomic-mix of upscale wine trade, delicatessen and tasting room that was created in Italy.
Cathedral Santissimo Salvatore
The Cathedral of Santissimo Salvatore, also known as the Cathedral of Montalcino, is one of the most important church buildings in the old town. It dates back to the year 1000, but was only declared a cathedral by Pope Pius II around 450 years later. The neoclassical style dates back to the 19th century, when the cathedral had almost been completely renovated between 1818 and 1832. Around the square there is a lovely small park with a picturesque view over the roofs of the old town.
Fortress of Montalcino (Fortezza)
Probably the most interesting attraction of Montalcino is the Fortezza, an imposing fortress from the 14th century, which at that time served to protect the town. Today you can visit the complex and enjoy the best viewpoint over the old town from the old fortress walls. Inside, there is a fantastic wine bar, the Enoteca la Fortezza, which offers excellent wines to taste in a unique environment.
The Palazzo Pieri from the 16th century is another gem in Montalcino and a visit is one of the insider tips of the old town. Worth seeing here is the picturesque courtyard, which is decorated with a beautiful stone fountain. The history of Palazzo Pieri is said to go back as far as the 16th century. Today, the enchanting courtyard houses a really nice café-bar, the Circolo Arci, where you can taste the famous Montalcino wine.
Chiesa della Madonna del Soccorso
The Chiesa della Madonna del Soccorso is not only one of the most beautiful churches in the city, it is also one of the most impressive sights in Montalcino. It is located at the end of the town center and was built over an older church as early as 1330. The church tower, the so-called Campanile, was built much later in 1782. The interior of this church is also worth seeing because during a visit, you can admire the works of art by Vincenzo di Benedetto di Chele Tamagni and by Francesco Vanni.
Tip: A highlight is the park next to the church. From here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the hilly landscape with the beautiful vineyards and green fields.
Abbazia di Sant’Antimo
The Abbazia Sant’Antimo Monastery is located just 8 kilometers from Montalcino and is one of the main attractions to visit in the area. The beautiful Romanesque church with the monastery built of travertine is situated in a landscape surrounded by green hills, olive trees and vineyards and captivates with an extraordinary atmosphere. Many describe this place as a true place of power. We also recommend a visit to the monastery pharmacy, which sells all kinds of healthy and homemade products.
Things to do around Montalcino
Montalcino is a perfect starting point for excursions to the surroundings. For example, the wine town is part of the Val d’Orcia, one of the most beautiful landscapes throughout Tuscany. That’s why it’s worth spending a few days in this area!
But also an excursion to Bagno Vignoni with the healing springs as well as a day trip to Bagni San Filippo is really recommendable!
Very popular are also trips to the beautiful old town of Siena, which is located only 40 kilometers from Montalcino and is a real gem of Tuscany.
Where to Stay in Montalcino
In Montalcino, but also in the surrounding area, there is a wide range of fabulous accommodations. From well-kept wineries, agritourism with pool to apartments and camping sites, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the best accommodations in Montalcino…It’s worth a look!
- Hotel in the Old Town: The small hotel Drogheria e Locanda Franci enchants with modern, individual rooms and a romantic-rustic atmosphere in the old town!
- Agritourism with Pool: The Borgo Canalicchio Di Sopra Relais has beautiful apartments and suites surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. Wine tasting is also offered.
- Apartments in the Vineyards: The Tenuta San Filippo is a real insider tip. Here you will enjoy the tranquility, the pool and the beautiful furnishings of the property.
- Vacation Home with a View: The Casa Vacanze Elisabetta is a wonderful vacation home a bit outside Montalcino. The location and the view are also sensational!
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