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Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

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Seattle, Washington
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Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

Hello,

I will be staying in Sarteano in April for a few days (with a car).

We are looking for a white winery(ies) to do some tastings and potentially a hot springs area. Saturnia looks great, but very far. Unless there are white wineries nearby that area?

We are interested in San Gimignano, Montepulciano and Siena. Any recommendations for those areas or nearby to Sarteano?

Thanks very much,

Kimberly

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

The outdoor waterfalls in Saturnia -- free, in a public park are beyond amazing. Worth the trip. We stumbled on them sort of accidentally. We kept running into the same Dutch couple as we visited various Etruscan sites and they told us about the park. So we drove over. No dressing area, wear your suit, or change by your car. Luckily I had a suit and changed by the car; my husband didn't want to go in and so sat with our stuff -- it was just heavenly to climb up the rock formations and lie in a small pool in the side of the waterfall looking out over the countryside. Here is an article that has a picture -- you can find others by googling:

theguardian.com/travel/2010/may/01/italy-tus…

I have never seen anything like it anywhere else.

janettravels44

www.janettravels.wordpress.com

Montepulciano, Italy
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2. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

There are some hot springs in Sarteano itself both natural and at the beautifully landscaped swimming pools but I'm not sure if they are open in April; do check at the local tourist office or ask around in the village. Otherwise, next door in Chianciano there is an excellent spa - Sensoriali - that incorporates several natural hot springs (in a spa environment) and is very good value, especially mid-week. Alternatively, just up the (lovely) road at San Casciano dei Bagni again there are hot springs. There's a public stream that personally I've never looked for but people tell me is easy to find, or there's the excellent formal spa at Fonte Verde. This is not as good value as Sensoriali, though the setting is sublime with infinity pool, etc.

White wine is being produced more and more in southern Tuscany and you find it everywhere now but in varying degrees of quality. In your area, the best would have to be at Avignonesi but they now only produce a very expensive (though very, very good) Chardonnay, sadly they stopped production last year of their fabulous Sauvignon Blanc. Elsewhere, you'll find whites at Montepulciano's Gattavecchi (that are very good), and lots of local vineyards make a local bianco or an Orcia DOC Bianco. The latter is better than vino tavolo but is generally incomparable with the local reds. Further south, the Pitigliano bianco is definitely worth driving down there for.

The old town of Sarteano is a very attractive place and one of those villages I would direct people to looking for a genuine Tuscan town seeing few foreign tourists even in August. The old lanes are very picturesque, as is the castle. There are also some excellent local restaurants; it's in fact a far better place than Montepulciano to eat. All of the surrounding villages are worth a visit, especially Cetona, San Casciano dei Bagni and the old town of Chianciano. Up the road (literally), Castiglioncello del Trinoro is worth exploring and there is now a small boutique hotel up there with good restaurant, cafe and bar for aperitives. Siena's easily reached but San Gimignano would be a good 90 mins drive from there. The gardens at La Foce is almost on your doorstep, and Montepulciano just a little way beyond.

New Lenox, IL
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3. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

One of our best memories of Italy was driving from Montepulciano to Saturnia. It was a bit of a drive but beautiful. We went to the public springs. There are no facilities to change clothes or use a bathroom as far as I could tell. We wore our suits under our clothes then changed in our car after using the springs. That's what everyone else did! No one spoke English, it was all local Italians enjoying the waters. Afterwards we drove to the town and had one of our best meals in Italy at Il due Cippi. We still talk about that trip and plan to repeat it when we return this fall with friends. Don't know about the wineries.

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

Thank you all for the wonderful and thoughtful messages! It is a big help. I think we may just have to venture to Saturnia as it seems to be a can't miss sight. @lastrainera, THANK YOU!! Wonderful suggestions. We are staying at a vacation rental so glad to hear we will get a taste of authentic tuscany.

Re: Saturnia, from the parking lot, how far are the hot springs (the terraced rock formation portion) and how is the terrain?

What address would I put into my GPS? I have been having trouble locating one. Google maps is telling me 1 h 45 mins from Sarteano to Saturnia, does that seem right?

Is there a better time of day to go to Saturnia? Just before dusk?

Would anyone recommend going to Livorno in mid-April? Not for swimming or sun bathing, but to see the Sea. Not sure if this is worth a trip or not.

Thank you so much, can't wait for Tuscany after all of your recommendations!

Kimberly

New Lenox, IL
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5. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

At the waters in Saturina people parked along the road near the springs. I believe there was a parking lot further down the road but if so it was full. We walked about a block after we parked to get to the springs.

We left Montepulciano early in the day, went to the springs then drove into town for a late lunch. I did not notice any lighting by the springs so I don't know that it could be used after dark.

I have a GPS and loaded the maps of Italy on it before our trip. We just plugged in the town of Saturina and payed attention to the signs when we got close to the public springs. We made sure to be back in Montepulciano by dark. The roads a very curvy and no lighting. A beautiful drive during daylight hours.

Montepulciano, Italy
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6. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

You have made a good choice for location. I have an Italian girlfriend living in Sarteano old town and sometimes go over on a Friday to see her for lunch having first stopped by the nice weekly market. I forgot to say there are more seriously good local restaurants 15 mins picturesque drive away at Chiusi Città (Zaira, la Solita Zuppa) as well as one of the best Etruscan museums in the country. Also, an excellent big supermarket (by our standards) at Centro Etrusco 7 / 8 mins from Sarteano heading towards the A1. If you are self-catering at the villa, food from this store – PAM – is good quality and very well priced, plus wine is amazingly good value there. They currently have some deals on well-known bottles that are 40% cheaper than you pay for the same bottle at the vineyard. I can’t recommend this store highly enough.

Re seaside (and we’re currently all thinking seaside as the weather is truly glorious – spring has arrived here big time), go to Livorno to see the town (which is fascinating) but it’s a helluva drive from down here. I don’t know the coast up there but our nearest seaside is at Castiglione della Pescaia (very pretty) or the stunningly beautiful Argentario. The latter would be about an hour further on from Saturnia so you might want to squeeze in an overnight or else stop there on your way home, if you happen to be flying out of Rome FCO?

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

we just parked in the road. there is no place to change and not safe to leave valuables in cars so someone should sit with the 'stuff'. if you want to leave it in the car, then arrive in hour suits and don't open the trunk or leave anything visible in the car, having stowed valuables in the trunk long before arriving.

have flip flops or similar for walking through the park itself which is not very clean -- and then climb into the cliff structure and have at it

8. Re: Wineries with white wine and nearby hotsprings? Sarteano?

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