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Taking the Scenic Route from Florence to Montepulciano

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Hi there!
I searched but could not seem to find any current advice: we are picking up a rental car on a Sunday morning in September, departing downtown Florence and heading for four nights in Montepulciano. I have noticed on Google maps there are choices ranging from highway (1 hour plus) to country road (up to 3 hours travel time). Although we will have our (carryon) luggage in our tiny rented Fiat Pinto or Panda or whatever the heck we end up with, we would like to make this our first day of exploring, since we plan to spend the whole next day out of the car, exploring Montepulciano. We have the whole day, as we check in late afternoon at our rental apartment.

Any suggestions for great routes/ places to stop? We are interested in touring an agriturismo, or lunch and walking one of the towns, or both. A Fodorite described a visit to a cheese making farm, and at the time I emailed them with no response, but now I can't find which one. Keeping in mind that this is a Sunday, how would you structure the day? What are your favorite stops? At some point, we'd like to visit one of the thermal baths also - would one of these be on the way? We could have our swimsuits on under our clothes...

Also, it looks like the best map to get for the area would be the Tuscany Regional Map by Touring Club Italiano. Agree?

Thanks Fodorites!

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