What to see in this enchanting Tuscan city.
If you're heading to Montalcino, Italy - lucky you!
This town is primarily known for its famous (and very expensive) red wine, Brunello di Montalcino. But besides visiting the local wineries, there is plenty to see in the small hilltown of Montalcino itself.
As you drive into the center of town, there is a hairpin turn. Don’t take the immediate entrance to the city or you'll soon end up in the middle of a no vehicle zone! Instead, proceed around the bend and when you come to the piazza with the contemporary Baccus in the center, proceed along the outside the large fortress walls. Just before the gas station you'll see a walled parking lot. Park there.
Then head into the city. Don’t miss:
La Fortezza (The Fortress)
The most famous landmark in Montalcino, this medieval era fortress protected the city in the many wars between nearby Siena and Florence. You can climb the tower to get a great view of the surrounding hills, and also stop into the wine bar on the ground level. They have many brunellos available for tasting by the glass and a lovely selection of local food, honey and other products.
From the Fortezza, walk into the center of town. In the main piazza, you’ll find the Fiaschetteria café’ with it’s outdoor seating. This café is the cultural Grand Central of Montalcino – everyone stops there for a coffee and to chat with their friends and neighbors. It’s a great spot to people-watch! The tourist information center is also in this Piazza, Piazza Garibaldi – so you can stop there to pick up a map.
Taste Brunello Gelato
There are two gelato shops in Montalcino and one of them usually has Brunello-flavored gelato in stock – a must try!
A Gorgeous Hidden View
A little known secret in Montalcino is found all the way at the end of the town – still very walkable from the Fortezza. At the opposite end you’ll find the “comune”, or town hall. Take the steps down to the left to the small terrace behind the building to catch a glimpse of a breathtaking view of all of the farms and wineries below.
When to go: In September and early October, you’ll get to seesome of the grape harvest in full swing. For the rest of the summer and early fall, enjoy the excellent weather and take some photos of the grapes still on the vines. I don’t recommend a winter trip, as most of the town is less active.