here is a new request; with 4 days in Siena, I hope to take some day trips. In choosing between Montelpuciano, Volterra, Pienza; which one(s) would you suggest and why?
Chere: As you probably know, Montepulciano and Pienza are both southeast from Siena, whereas Volterra is in the other direction (northwest) from your base in Siena. Montepulciano - think red wine, cantinas (cantina in basement of Contucci Palace is memorable), wine shops, art galleries, and views. Pienza - a smaller town, think architecture. Volterra - rustic, less crowded and Rick's favorite small town (as I recall) in Tuscany. Overall, among the three, you could do Volterra one day and Montepulciano another day. Depending on how you drive to Montepulciano (if driving), you could go through Pienza before getting to Montepulciano.
We chose Volterra in May because we wanted to see (and buy) alabaster gifts. We loved touching the ancient Etruscan stone at the Porta alla' Arco gate. We felt a great sense of history in such an ancient place, and the alabaster did make a truly beautiful gift. We are not wine people; so skipped Montepulciano. Other hill towns we adored: Civita di Bagnoreggio (staying at Romantica Pucci's), Asciano, Cortona, Assisi, Orvieto, and San Gimignano (hearty Tuscan meal at Chiribiri). Any one you choose, I'm sure you will bring back wonderful memories.
thanks all for the feedback. We are also visiting Lucca and Orvieto (1 day/night each place) before and after Siena so I am looking forward to those cities as well. I am saving your tips to take with me and let my hubby and son have a say as well.
Go to Montalcino home of the best wine in the world (my favorite at least) Brunello di Montalcino.
Then leave Montalcino and head down the hill to the Abbey de Sant Antimo. A 15th century abbey still in use today. It is open 24 hours a day and is amazing in the dark lit only by candlelight. They always have gregorian chant playing as well. The monks there are world famous for the chants. Charlemagne also had some connection to the abbey. There is a small town next to the abbey Castel Nuovo Del Abate (sp?) that is very nice as well.
We just returned from Italy and stayed in Orvieto for two nights. Loved this hill town because it was not as touristy. Very quiet at night, lovely streets and very quaint. We stayed at Hotel Valentino. Had a large room for 3--our son was also with us. Had great a.c. and was very clean (also with bath). It was dark and quiet (not by church bells) and had a lovely buffet breakfast--all for 100 euros per night. Also had a fridge. It's listed in Steve's Italy book. We found out that Volterra has an all night party on the last Saturday of the month. Not sure if this happens throughout the year or just in the summer. They party until 4 a.m. Love the hill towns. Enjoy
Montalcino is a beautiful town, with delectable food and exquisite wine. It's about 1-2 hours by bus from Siena.
Only thing is, a "day trip" wouldn't give you a real chance to understand what the real charm of the town is...and Mass in the Abbey of SantAntimo is one of those "priceless" experiences. Blow off a night in crowded Siena and rest in Montalcino instead!
Volterra is equally pleasant about 3 times larger than Montalcino, more shopping, alabaster and a great little wine bar "la vena del vino"- good people, great light food, and samplings of brunellos, rossos di montalcino, nobile di montepulciano...and bruno, luciano and camilla are very nice people.
sounds like we had better include Montalcino! thanks everyone.