Cinque Terre to Montelcino

Only three months, 1 week to Italy!!! We've scheduled a car rental for pickup at 9:00 in LaSpezia and plan on spending the day driving Montalcino and sightseeing on the way. We would like to visit Volterra and/or SanGimignano. Stopping at both towns the same day might be a stretch, so which of those two hill towns do you like best? Or do you think it's possible to visit both the same day (sunset is not until 7:50pm)? We will be spending 2-3 nights in Montalcino. What would you recommend for destinations to explore outside of Montalcino? Pienza? Wineries? Other places? (We visited Sienna and Montepulciano last trip).

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

Very smart doing a car from La Spezia to Montalcino. I love Volterra -- it's more "real" than San Gimignano IMHO. But San Gimignano is pretty. I think you have time to do both and be in Montalcino well before dinner. I think Rick Steves has a self-guided tour of Volterra. Follow that for a nice town tour. Montalcino activities:
- The abbey of Sant'Antimo (closes noon-3:00 so time your visit appropriately. You can hike there if you like, takes about 2 hours. Ask locally for directions. You can take a bus back so a one-way hike.) - Drive to Montepulciano thru Pienza. Bellissimo! - Thre are wineries. We didn't go to any because I won't drive if I am tasting. There is a great enoteca in town with 100 wines for tasting. Quite fun! (We only made it thru about 7.) - There's a nice little museum in Montalcino and the town i worth a tour; just walk around for a couple of hours. - Eat at Taverna Grappolo Blu. Fantastic!