Magically set in the beautiful landscape known as the Val d’Orcia, southwest of Siena; Montalcino is another spectacular and perfect Tuscan hill-town, where time seems to have stopped leaving everything as it was hundreds of years ago.
For all wine lovers Montalcino is an authentic paradise, producing some of the finest wines in Italy, notably the Brunello, rich and bold red wine characterized by two years of oak ageing and a further three years in the bottle before it is perfect and you can drink it, for a unique and captivating tasting experience. The production of high quality honey and extra virgin olive oil is also extraordinary.
But Montalcino is not just wine! The landscape all surrounding this majestic medieval town is extremely varied and fascinating, with secular olive groves, spectacular vines, secular oaks and woods, only interrupted by scenic fields of grain and wonderful sunflowers. Walking is a real delight throughout the year, leading you among some of the most enchanting natural scenery, with wildflowers and wildlife all around.
Montalcino is dominated by an imposing medieval fortress with ramparts, built in the 14th century and then becoming property of the Medici family after they conquered the village. It is now home to Enoteca la Fortezza, where you can taste wine together with bread and salami, and where you can also buy typical products and specialties of the territory.
Walking on the Rocca’s ancient battlements gives a breathtaking view, an incredible and stupendous panorama opens on all sides; on clear days you can even see Siena.
Montalcino is full of wine and food shops, especially in Piazza del Popolo, the city’s main square. The beautiful Palazzo dei Priori or Town Hall with its medieval tower, hosts the Consorzio del Brunello, where you can find information about the history and making of this precious wine.
Strolling slowly through the charming alleys of Montalcino is a delight, and when you’ll be tired and hungry, there’s no better place to be! Great food and wine will wait you at every corner of the town, so full of restaurants and wine bars. You can taste excellent food at Il Re di Macchia and at Boccon di Vino, though you can eat well practically everywhere.
An extraordinarily scenic road winding through a perfect Tuscan landscape, will take you to the Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo, ten minutes south from Montalcino.
Set amongst secular olive groves and vineyards like in a fairytale, the abbey was founded by Charlemagne on his way to his coronation, according to the legend.
Today, French monks live in the abbey celebrating the mass with Gregorian chants, a touching experience!
You can read a full post dedicated to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo.