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2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

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Palm Springs, CA
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2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

Hi! Just booked 2 nights in montepulciano for our 10 year wedding anniversary in july. (staying at la locanda di san francesco so excited!) I'm wondering with such a short amount of time, should we plan on any daytrips or should we just plan on relaxing and exploring montepulciano itself? If its the latter, should we even bother with a car rental? We'll be coming in from venice and heading to Florence after. Thanks!

Roswell, Georgia
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1. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

While we loved Montepulciano on our visit in October, there are other great things to do in the area that I would venture out to see some other things. If you are willing to rent a car (or a driver) you could easily spend a day out and see Pienza, Montalcino, and Sant Antimo in a day. Monte Oliveto Maggiore which is north of Montepulciano (about a 20 minute drive) is also a great place to visit. Make sure when in Montepulciano you walk down the hill from your hotel and visit San Biaggio as well. lastraneira who is a regular poster and expert on this area will surely have some suggestions so I would listen to what suggestions he has as well.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

Got to disagree. Just stay in town and wander around. Otherwise, why are you staying there? If you want to see someplace else, stay someplace else.

Edited: 19 November 2012, 20:32
Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

Re post #2, I don't think it makes much sense staying in a different hotel each nite just because you want to see another place close by.

2 nights is really one day and bits of another so you don't have too much time to fill but it really depends on what you want to do. You'll be between visiting 2 active cities, Venice and Florence, so maybe you'll just want to relax. So wander around Montepulciano and if you have the energy you could even take a taxi or bus to Pienza which is only about 15 minutes away.

If you want to get out and explore, then rent a car for the day and go driving in the Val d'Orcia. It's an easy drive and very scenic and you could try and see the places mentioned in post #1.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

Montepulciano isn't that big...you can really see it all in one day. Winetasting is fun...go and see Adamo at Contucci Wines. Pienza is wonderful little town. Some smaller gems nearby are Montefollonico and Montichiello. For a truly amazing experience, go and listen to the monks chant their prayers at Sant'Antimo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrjGDzQ4tEw

David

Mississauga, ON
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5. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

You are so going to enjoy staying at La Locanda di San Francesco! Enjoy the sunsets while enjoying a glass of wine on the patio. The view from the piazza is spectacular - one of my favourite spots in the world.

My suggestion would be to relax, enjoy the hotel and Montepulciano. I think people often make the mistake of trying to do too much.

Wander the streets. Poke in the shops. Eat and drink. Savour the views. You will probably wish you had more time.

Edited: 20 November 2012, 01:47
Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

montepulciano is lovely, a really, really steep Italian hill town. there is plenty to see there....be sure and sample the vino nobile, their claim to fame. it's great. check out all the churches and just enjoy. it is sometimes better to concentrate in one area than run around driving everywhere. we just came from there, two weeks ago, stayed in montelcino. you will enjoy it very much.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

We also spent two weeks in Montalcino. Montepulchiano, and Pienza, and even Siena, were easy and worthwhile day trips. We were still back in our lodging every evening to drink wine, watch the sunsets, and enjoy Montalcino. And the countryside is lovely.

Just pointing out that it doesn't have to be an either/or. I hope you will enjoy Montepulchiano. We loved it.

Edited: 20 November 2012, 04:35
Latina, Italy
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8. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

As #3 has said, two nights is one day and a bit. If you really run out of things to do in Montepulciano (and I doubt it) go to Pienza, preferably by public transport. It's not worth renting a car for a day. You can't drive in the centre of Montepulciano or Pienza and parking in July would be a nightmare.

Montepulciano, Italy
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9. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

I would hire a car as it's probably going to be cheaper than the return cab fare from Chiusi up to Montepulciano plus it will give you the opportunity to get out if only for a couple of half days or so. As beautiful as the town is, I think it’s a shame to come all the way from the States and not explore one or two nearby towns and see a bit more of the amazing countryside. Montepulciano has masses to offer the visitor but within a 20-30 minute drive you can see several others that are quite different but just as lovely, and you drive through iconic scenery to get there. Bear in mind too that it can be quite crowded during the day in July so it's nice to get out of the town. I had a girlfriend to stay recently and we spent our early morning and evening in Montelpulciano but took off elsewhere during the day. On one day we did this: morning coffee in Cafe Poliziano, an hour strolling the streets so she could get a feel for where she was that included admiring the marvellous palazzos on the main corso, a spot of window shopping (bags, shoes, stationery), going inside a couple of churches including Il Duomo. We walked up to S. Francesco (where you're staying) via the back lanes to take in the view and then walked back to the car and drove on to Pienza. En route we stopped at Palazzo Massaini as it's a beautiful place and they sell great value Chianti Classico. Journey took about 30 mins including the stop. In Pienza we went to look at the view point first (signposted "panorama"), walked back into the village, did some shopping (linen, cheese, soap), went into the cathedral, walked along the lane above the town walls and back along the main corso again stopping do to a bit more shopping (leather, ceramics). I guess we spent around an hour and a half here. Drove on to San Quirico stopping every few minutes to take photographs as it's one of the truly great drives in Europe and it was the most beautiful fall morning. Lunch in San Quirico (pasta with white truffles) - SQ makes a good lunch stop in summer as it's one of the less crowded of the local villages - back home via the even more beautiful back roads for a siesta. Around 5.30 we went into Montepulciano to do "passeggiata", ie stroll around, we did a spot of wine tasting, bought some new olive oil, had an aperitif (Cafe Poliziano again) and went to dinner. I always enjoy doing passeggiata in the summer as the town is so much quieter in the evening (from 6 ish onwards) but even in winter it was fun. As a summer alternative, after Pienza (which I would rate as a must see even though it can be busy) you could drive over to any or all of the following villages as they're very pretty and, again, much quieter in high season. All offer pretty flower-filled streets, picturesque medieval houses, fab views and excellent places to eat. They include: Castelmuzio, Montisi (especially), Petroio, San Giovanni d'Asso. Consider stopping at the abbey of Sant'Anna in Camprena on the way back to see the frescoes and admire the setting (re-opens from around 3.15 ish after lunch break). In July, it won't be dark until after 9 so you have far more time to sightsee. Bear in mind though that it may be quite warm - most years it's rarely below 32 degs in July, this year it was nearer 40 - so morning and evening is generally best for visiting the larger villages.

Re parking,the Locanda (great choice of hotel) has free parking outside and it's never that difficult - even in July - to find somewhere in Pienza.

Coming in from Venice, do note there’s a daily direct train to Chiusi (I think the final destination may be Napoli) leaving Venice around 9 am. It takes 4 hrs 20 mins or so but is much more convenient than changing in Florence, especially with luggage. Bring your own water and maybe a snack to eat as the food service on the train isn’t great.

Latina, Italy
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10. Re: 2 nights. Do day trips or just explore montepulciano?

@ lastraniera: I didn't see anywhere that the OP was going to take a cab from Chiusi to Montepulciano ?? If that is the case then, yes, maybe a hire car would be best.