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day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

Vancouver
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day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

We're thinking of visiting Montepulciano (it will be Thur., so the market might be interesting), and maybe Bagno Vignoni and San Quirico and Pienza.

We will have the whole day to spend before returning to near Monteroni d'Arbia, so my question is how about where we might stop, and for how long. We're a group of about 20 painters and photographers; we'll have been in Tuscany for about a week; and we have a rough sense of the "must sees." What I'm hoping is that you might make some suggestions about an itinerary that would give us some unique moments in this lovely part of Tuscany, maybe some tips to special places that may not feature in the guidebooks but where we could spend a bit of time enjoying looking at views, activity, and/or details. We don't need to rush about like mad things though!!

We'll need ideas about somewhere good but not fussy or too time-consuming to eat at, too.

So. . . thanks everyone for whatever ideas you might suggest!

Edited: 21 July 2012, 04:39
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Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni
Province of Siena, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano, Italy
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1. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

I could be here for the rest of the morning answering this but, look, you only want tips for one day? And when you say "must sees" is that towns or specific sights / images that you want to capture on canvas / camera?

Incidentally, you've chosen an ace place to stay.

Montepulciano, Italy
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2. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

Is the market interesting for tourists? I hope others chip in with their comments. Although there are a few colourful fruit and vegetable stalls, the majority nowadays are clothes, curtains, shoes, some bags, tools (my husband bought a hammer at this market last week, I bought a new broom), light agricultural equipment, household cleaning equipment, lots of lettuces for the vegetable patch, shrubs, cut flowers even chickens. The photographers amongst you may find some interesting shots.

Back to your day, you'll pass some iconic Tuscan images as you drive from where you are to Montepulciano including several well known ones such as the small copse of cypressi (on the Via Cassia on the right just after Torrenieri - there's usually room to park), la Vitaleta (on a ridge over to the right midway between San Quirico and Pienza), I Cipressini (the farmhouse with the cypress in front - on the left just after the turning to Trequanda) just for starters. But do go to Bagno Vignoni first for it's a lovely little village, flower-filled and picturesque. If you want some great scenery, continue on to Castiglione d'Orcia, down into Monte Amiata Stazione (great photo opportunities here), up to Castelnuovo dell'Abate (a very unspoilt hilltown) and drop into Sant'Antimo. Back to the Via Cassia via Montalcino. San Quirico is definitely worth a stop for the ice cream coloured painted houses, beautiful churches, pretty gardens and Pienza, of course, is a must-see. If you still have time then continue on to Montepulciano.

There are lots of places that don't feature in the guidebooks but it depends what you want to see. Many of these are less well preserved than the better known places, less polished, more local but it'll require a bit more time and effort to find them.

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Torrenieri
Torrenieri
Province of Siena, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Trequanda
Trequanda
Province of Siena, Italy
Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni
Province of Siena, Italy
Montalcino
Montalcino
Province of Siena, Italy
Kansas
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3. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

lmb,

This may help slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm

Brea, Ca.
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4. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

I'll chip in on the Montepulciano market. Having attended dozens of markets in Provence and Italy over the years, I find all of them of some interest. Montepulciano's is rather unremarkable in that it has the predictable foodstuffs and household items with a heavy dose of clothes and tools as described. We go to it when we have a kitchen but otherwise I would not prioritize it as a destination. Still a porchetta sandwich is appealing.

With the size of your group and its announced agenda, I would go as suggested and stay out in the countryside. Pienza and Bagno Vignoni strike me as more logical along with the roads to Sant'Antimo.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni
Province of Siena, Italy
Vancouver
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5. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

Your replies are all so helpful--I really appreciate your insights and advice. I feel a lot more confident about helping to plan the day--thanks so much.

Vancouver
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6. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

Lastraniera, my "must-sees" were guide-book highlights, not places to stop and paint/photograph. I would LOVE to have a little list of the latter! so thanks very much for what you've already provided in your second post here along those lines.

Edited: 22 July 2012, 15:07
Vancouver
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7. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

And I meant to add, thanks so much for your very precise suggested itinerary and stops. I'm going to make a little google map now. . .

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

Wow thanks for your contributions people - how are we going to fit it all into a single day ... let alone a single painting. I guess the follow up question might be - What would you avoid from this Itinerary if anything ( given we only have 12 hours start to finish)?

Brea, Ca.
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9. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

"What would you avoid from this Itinerary if anything ( given we only have 12 hours start to finish)?"

Try not to "do too much"! You can't fit it all in in one day. Its at least an hour from your start point to Montepulciano--and then it will be additional time (approx 35 mins) and backtracking somewhat to get to Lastraniera's great ideas beginning at Bagno Vignoni. There is plenty in her itinerary starting there to fill the day.

Whatever you do, make a lunch reservation for your 20 person crowd or you could be disappointed. Its tough for any place to handle that size and especially in this territory. Once you decide on your itinerary, lunch spots can be recommended. Sant Angelo in Colle has a couple of possibilities and it isn't far from Sant Antimo (a must spot).

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Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni
Province of Siena, Italy
Boston
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10. Re: day trip from Monteroni d'Arbia towards Montepulciano

We had a couple of really nice dinners at Risotrante La Taverna del Barbarossa, http://www.tavernadelbarbarossa.com/, in San Quirico. We found out about it because they have an excellent gluten free menu, and one in our group is gluten free. However, everything we ate there was delicious, and it was reasonably priced with good service. Also, you can eat outside on a patio with a fantastic view (I assume this is still open in Sept. but you might want to check). The restaurant is not in the old town itself, but is right outside of it. It was quite a large restaurant, so I suspect that they could accommodate a group,