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Montepulcino or Orvieto

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Montepulcino or Orvieto

My friends and I will be driving from Rome to Castellina this September. I would like to stop in either Montepulciano or Orvieto along the way. Which would be the best, or any other suggestions?I love the wine from montepulciano but won't be able to have more than a glass of wine due to driving. Also would our luggage be safe in the car?.We are renting an economy car, probably a hatchback. Thanks for any info.

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1. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

It's all beautiful. It's hard to choose one over the other for me. I would say "BOTH!" since Orvieto is along the way to Montepulciano.

We just returned from a road trip through that area...totally AMAZING. My strongest advice is to get off the highway when you can. For example, instead to taking the A1 north from Montepulciano, definitely consider going northwest through the Val d'Orcia, towards Siena and up to Castellina.

Oops! Gotta go! Will write more later. -Karl

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Siena
Siena
Province of Siena, Italy
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2. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

I am not a huge fan of Orvieto so I say Montepulciano. Orvieto is lovely but it is not a typical hilltop Tuscan village depicted on covers of various books and websites. So, if you are looking for the Tuscan experience, head to Montepulciano. Lots of wonderful spots to taste the local Vino Nobile. Are you safe to leave your luggage in the car? Well, make sure your luggage is not visible. If you rental car has a truck vs. a hatchback, that would be good. If you park in a lot, back the car as close to a dence or a wall as you can to make it difficult to access the trunk.

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3. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

I would also say both as they're so very different yet equally as beautiful. Montepulciano is a relatively large town for around this area (pop 14,000)where many villages see less than 1500 in population, it's a very elegant one with some magnificent architecture, interesting churches, astonishing views. Orvieto is larger still, equally as well positioned and home to one of the most beautiful cathedrals anywhere on earth. Great shops, very nice hotels, marvellous restaurants for the evening. It sees a lot of visitors but it always strikes me as being a town for the local people, despite the tourists. I personally don't know of any examples of car windows being smashed and contents stolen but there is definitely more car crime around here than perhaps we want to admit. I'm therefore not sure I would recommend parking somewhere (anywhere) with luggage on view.

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4. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

Hi! I'm back from dinner!

Anyway, I really liked Montepulciano. Such a nice town to walk through and explore. If I HAD to choose, I would say Montepulciano. We really like wine, and it was such a treat to visit this famous wine country. In visiting the nearby Montalcino, we had planned to buy 2 bottles of brunello to take home in our bags. We enjoyed a wine-tasting at La Fortezza there. We tasted so many amazing (and reasonably priced, compared to the States) wines, that we asked how much to ship a half case (6) home? They said 72E, but if we bought a case then shipping was free! So we got a mixed case of brunelli! They arrived a couple of weeks later, and now we have a great stash of amazing wines to share with our friends! Particularly since you are traveling with friends, you might consider doing something like this as you pass through wine country!

I suggested getting off the Autostrade at Montepulciano and heading northwest towards Asciano (and on up to Castellina) because that region (the Val d'Orcia) is AMAZINGLY beautiful! Jaw-droppingly beautiful around every turn. Here is a photo near Torrenieri for example:

flickr.com/photos/…set-72157629958196858

You should enjoy Castellina in Chianti as well. Cute mountain town. As I recall, quite a windy drive up to it in the Chianti mountains. This photo is from that drive up from Asciano to Castellina:

flickr.com/photos/…set-72157629958196858

For our road trip, we rented a Fiat Punto, and just put our gear in the trunk. No problems. I've never had a car broken into in all of our travels in Italy. Just take the same precautions as you would back home (don't leave tempting things visible, etc.).

How long are you in Castellina? Where do you go from there?

-Karl

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Montalcino
Montalcino
Province of Siena, Italy
Asciano
Asciano
Province of Siena, Italy
Torrenieri
Torrenieri
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5. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

Thank you all for your advice, I was hoping it would be Montepulciano. Karlitos, your photos are beautiful, makes me anxious to go. We will be in Europe for almost a month, starting in Munich (where we can rent an automatic) then continuing up to the Mosel river area, then through France, and on to Pisa, Rome, Tuscany for 5 days then Venice and back to Munich. I have been in Europe many times before but have only driven in Tuscany. I'm glad you told me about buying a case at La Fortezza because I know that shipping can be expensive. Can you also buy food there? I don't want to do a formal tasting menu, as we are doing that at the Verazzano winery,but a tasting with snack would be good, then we could walk off the wine in Montepulciano before hitting the road.

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6. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

I always take whatever I might need out of the trunk of the car before I get to where I am going to park it so people don't see what is in the trunk. I never leave anything at all in the car.

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7. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

Sounds like a fantastic trip!

>>I'm glad you told me about buying a case at La Fortezza because I know that shipping can be expensive. Can you also buy food there?

I don't know if the free shipping with a case was a special thing that La Fortezza (in Montalcino, www.enotecalafortezza.com/english/index.php ) offered, or if you might find that more commonly? Perhaps regulars on the Montepulciano forum can speak to that? For me there are two different kinds of wine-tasting approaches, both fun. One is to go to the vineyard itself and learn about production, and taste that vineyard's wines. All fun, but you are limited to that vineyard's production. Another experience is to visit an enoteca in town (there are several, just search the Montepulciano forum for "enoteca" and you'll pull up some good discussions), where you would experience a range of different styles and producers. We have done both approaches on our trips, and tend to buy wines from the vineyard mostly for drinking along the way...e.g., once we've settled into the hotel room for the evening, and then buy a selection of wines at an enoteca to send back home. The drive between Montalcino and Montepulciano is about 40 minutes.

Most places will have some food to go along with the wines. Here are some shops:

www.stradavinonobile.it/new/enoteche.en.php

Some recommend Enoteca del Consorzio, in Piazza Grande, Montepulciano, but I've not yet tried it.

-K

Edited: 21 July 2012, 18:25
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Montalcino
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8. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

I would like to jump in and thank Karlitos for the amazing photo. WOW, and thanks so much! We will be driving through the area next spring, so I appreciate your suggestion of getting off the autostrada. :)

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9. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

@charlene51

Thanks very much! That whole area (looking at a map now) from Montepulciano to Pienza to San Quirico D'Orcia & Montalcino northwards to Buonconvento, & Asciano is spectacularly beautiful!

My best advice would be to get a Michelin Atlas of Italy

amazon.com/Michelin-Atlas-Italy/…

which indicates all the scenic roads outlined in green. However, a standing joke of Christina and I as she navigated and I drove was that "according to the atlas the scenic part hasn't started yet"....and it would be AMAZINGLY beautiful all the same.

We stuck mostly to the State Roads (Strada Provincale) ...the smaller and squigglier the better!

We stayed in a 700 (800?) year old farm house / B&B called Il Molinello (hosts Sandro and Elisa & family), and used that as our base to explore the region.

flickr.com/photos/…set-72157629958196858

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g644269-d579173…

Highly recommended!

When we drove north from Il Molinello (it's between Asciano and Serre di Rapalano) to Castellina, sticking with our usual plan, we minimized the Autostrade and took the windier s484 north from Castelnuovo up to Badia Coltibuono, and then NW up to Castellina where we had lunch before heading on up to Florence and points beyond.

So, main tips: (1) get a good atlas with scenic routes indicated, (2) get off the autostrade and take the squiggly green routes, and (3) enjoy!

-Karl

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Buonconvento
Buonconvento
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Province of Siena, Italy
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10. Re: Montepulcino or Orvieto

p.s.,

here is a photo of Montepulciano:

flickr.com/photos/…