The medieval and Renaissance hill town of Montepulciano sits above the Tuscan countryside, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) south-east of Siena.
Characterised by narrow streets and historic architecture, this is a lovely town to wander around on foot, and if you enjoy good wine and food, even better!
What to See
One of the main appeals of Montepulciano is the beauty of the town. It is full of narrow streets, and because vehicular access is limited, you’re not constantly trying to battle for space with cars.
During the summer you’ll be competing for space with other tourists though, as the town does get busy, but it’s worth it!
In the heart of the town is the main square, Piazza Grande, which is surrounded by architecture, including the Palazzo Comunale and the main church Santa Maria Delle Grazia.
The café on the square is always popular, and during the summer months, the tables and chairs spill out onto the square, making this a great place to enjoy a glass of wine and a light meal.
Talking of wine, you cannot visit Montepulciano without trying its wines. The top-class wine is the Vino Nobile, an aged red wine that goes very well with some local cuisines, including pork, pici pasta, cheese, lentils, and honey.
When to Visit
The busiest time in the town is late summer – August and heading into September, so if you prefer to avoid the biggest crowds, plan your visit for early summer, in June or July.
Temperatures are mild going into the autumn, but the Tuscan norm is for October and November to be the wettest time of the year, making this an unfavourable time to visit.
Where to Stay
Being a relatively small and compact town, accommodation is somewhat limited in Montepulciano.
If you’re planning a visit during the peak summer season, you should get your hotel booked well in advance if you want to stay in the town itself.
Many great hotels and places to stay within the town and on the outskirts.
You can choose a central location or enjoy the peace of the Tuscan countryside, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
If you prefer a central location, try the oldest hotel in town, Albergo Il Marzocco.
Getting to Montepulciano
The most convenient way to reach the town is by car as there is a railway station just outside the town, but it’s on a minor line.
If you want to get here by train, you’re better off coming via Chiusi, about 30 minutes away.
Buses are another option, and you can travel from many of the major cities in Tuscany.
From Siena, for example, there are frequent bus services. If you’re arriving in Italy from abroad, the town is located pretty much halfway between Rome and Pisa, both of which have international airports.
It’s about a 2-hour drive from either airport if you rent a car, and being the larger of the two, you’ll find there are more airlines available for flights to Rome compared to Pisa.