It's still the best base in Tuscany
If our first stop in Italy isn't Siena, then its Montepulciano. Now that Rick Steves has listed this Tuscan hill town in his Italy guidebook it's not quite as peaceful at it once was. But it's still a good location to use as a homebase for your ventures in Tuscany. Great for driving, biking (don't forget it's a hill town) or hiking.
The train from Rome drops you off at the station in Chiusi. The bus to Montepulciano is to the left as you exit the building. If your train ticket was booked as Rome to Montepulciano, the bus ride is included. If not a ticket can be purchased in the station. There is an Avis car rental agency right across the plaza and others around town. Travel in the area is best done by car. The bus connections will eat up too much of your tourist trekking time and you'll find there are sites that attract your attention and the bus won't stop.
It's a hill town. Easy out, a climb back
If your plan is to spend time seeing the area sites on a bicycle, Marco and Giuliana at Cicloposse (cicloposse.com) based in Pienza just up the road will help you with bikes and guidance.
We prefer to stay in agritourismos (working farms that have a few rooms to rent). There are many in the area but we usually stay with Marina, Santi and Antonella at Podere Fontecastello (www.fontecastello.it). No need to copy and paste, it's on the links page. Antonella sent me pictures of the pool they installed. Will be great for hot summer, post bicycling, cooldowns. Santi always shares vino, and olive oil.
Spring in Tuscany can be breathtaking when the new crops are turning green and many of the areas' wildflowers are in bloom. Great on a bicycle. Fall features the grape and olive harvests
Vino Nobile, Brunello, Chianti
Wine connoisseurs will love the areas fine wines. From Vino Nobile from Montepulciano to Brunello di Montalcino and of course Chianti Classico, there is wine for every palate. There are a number of vintners with locations in town where you can sample before you buy.
Our personal favorite is the Vino de Tavola served in the local restaurants. Sip-able all evening with no headache in the morning. If you're out early you can see it being delivered in the large flasks from the back of tiny 3 wheeled pickups.
Enjoy Montepulciano? eMail us. We'll post a few below.
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