My family and I (there are five of us) will be in Florence from October 27 - November 4. As we will be based in Florence during our entire stay, we would like to take a day trip to explore the Tuscan region. Based on my research, it seems that I've narrowed down my priority destinations in Tuscany to Montepulciano and Montalcino. We plan to rent a car for the day.
Hoping it won't be too much trouble, I have a few questions below to which I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on.
1. How far is the drive to Montepulciano from Florence by car? Through what I've researched online, the total drive is about 1 hour and 15 mins. Is this accurate?
2. In Montepulciano, we plan to take a vineyard / winery tour in Avignonese at about 10 am. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have other recommendations for vineyard / winery tours?
3. The tour in Avignonese ends at around 12 noon and we hope to be able to have lunch in a good local restaurant in Montepulciano. What I have in mind so far is Osteria Acquacheta. Is this okay?
4. After lunch, around 2 or 2:30 pm, we plan to drive to Montalcito. No plans here except to see the place. Do you have recommendations on must do's or must experience when in Montalcino?
5. While we would like to limit ourselves to Montepulciano and Montalcino, based on the map, Siena, Chianti and San Gimignano are both on the way back up to Florence. Is there time to see these places even just for awhile? Or which should I see of the three towns I've mentioned?
We would like to experience Tuscany in its truest. And of course, see the fantastic views of what we have imagined Tuscany to be care of some of the popular Hollywood movies and a few postcards.
Thanks in advance for all your help.