Montalcino or Montepulciano

Mar 4th, 2007, 01:07 PM
  #1  
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Montalcino or Montepulciano

We'll be in Tuscany for 4 nights spending the days exploring in the car and would like to stay in or near a small town. We will, however, want to go out to dinner in the evening and walk around the town. I may have narrowed it down to Montalcino or Montepulciano. I prefer the hotels I've seen in Montalcino, but is Montepulciano a prettier town? Which of the two has the more restaurants . . that are open for dinner, after the bus tours leave? Also, should I spend the whole four nights here or 2 or 3 nights in this area then 1 or 2 nights near San Gimignano so that I see different areas? (We were planning on seeing Siena on a day trip.) I need to make reservations soon, so all feedback will be very welcome.
susan217 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 03:31 AM
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Both are gorgeous. Personally, I have spent an entire week in Montalcino about 5 months ago. Took day trips over all of southern Tuscany, and further away as well, and returned to "my" quiet peaceful hill town in the evening for a shower, rest and dinner + stroll. Montalcino is smaller, but we could have eaten dinner at a different wonderful restaurant each night (we chose to go back to several which were just so good - each one has a different night where they are closed so they rotate). Which hotels are you considering? I have seen or visited some of them in Montalcino so I may be able to help you.
Flame123 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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I love Montalcino,but Montepulciano is also nice.
What time of year? Montalcino really "slows down" in the off season.
jabez is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 09:12 AM
  #4  
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm going the last week of June and am getting worried about reservations. In Montalcino, I was thinking of the Hotel Vecchia Oliviera. What did you think about that one . . and where did you stay?
susan217 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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June reservations may be tough.Vecchia Oliviera is one of my favorites. Book ASAP.June is a great time there.
One of the best websites to go to is http://www.castellobanfi.com/montal.html
Grappolo Blu is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Italy. It isn't the best, but for the price it's wonderful. I've never had better pinci.
There are a number of very nice restaurants there and nearby.
Do a search here and visit Slow Travel's reviews.
Have a great trip!!
jabez is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Hi Susan,

I stayed in Montalcino too. Loved Grappolo Blu enough that I didn't bother going elsewhere for my 3 nights! Montalcino is smaller, most shops are enotecas, Montepulciano has more varity of shops. I think you would be happy in either one!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 10:05 AM
  #7  
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Both are pleasant cites, but both have been discovered and have more tourists that one might want. The Castello in Monatalcino for instance is now rather pricey and the wine samples rather small. Of the two I slightly prefer Montepulciano because it's usually less crowded during the day and I have a penchant for the Vino Nobile.
RJD is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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Hello Susan,
I'd stay all four nights in one place - and I'd pick Montepulciano. While I love Montalcino and you definitely need to explore it (eat & drink there, too), Montepulciano wins my vote.
dorkforcemom is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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To 'dorkforcemom' . . . why? Better hotels? Better restaurants? More stores? Prettier? (We won't be in Montalcino during the day since we'll be out exploring . . of course that means we'll be in other 'discovered' towns during peak tourist time.)
susan217 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 12:03 PM
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Another thumbs up for Grappolo Blu.

If you get to Cortona, my favorite restaurant of our one week in Tuscany was the Osteria del Teatro.
luvtotravel is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Hi again Susan,

I've been posting on Fodor's for over 10 years and I've visited Italy 3 times.

What I read in people's trip reports and recommendations (over and over again) is that they always most like the town/village where they STAY! Maybe it's because they get to know that town best and get to see it at night with fewer tourists.

Just how it seems to me. Nearly everywhere in Italy is wonderful, take your pick!
Dayle is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Actually, I've never stayed in either town....we've stayed at Locanda dell Amorosa on one vacation - spending a day in Montalcino and a day in Montepulciano and on two different vacations stayed at La Saracina (located halfway between Pienza & Montepulciano) again, spending a day each in Montalcino and Montepulciano.

I like the layout, views, and shops of Montepulciano slightly more than Montalcino. That said, I love Brunello wine and have the fondest memory of sitting outside Enoteca Osteria Osticcio in Montalcino for a wine-tasting with our friends...then arranging to have a case of wine shipped home based on our selections. The views from inside this enoteca are gorgeous.

Truth be known, you probably would enjoy either town. I like staying outside of town for ease of parking which is why we prefer La Saracina.

For dining, I'd be sure to include these restaurants:
Grappolo Blu (as others have suggested)
Latte di Luna (Pienza)
Logge del Vignole (Montepulciano)
La Grotta (Montepulciano)
Il Rosselini (Pienza)

Hope this helps...
dorkforcemom is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 06:48 PM
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A few years ago we spent two weeks on an olive farm just below Montalcino traveling with UnTours - they put you in private accomodations in villages so you get to know the local folks - and traveled by car all over the area. We thought both villages to be very interesting. Both have excellent places to eat (as do all small villages in Tuscany). Anyway, our preference would probably be Montalcino. It has a lot of character, great views and you can't beat the wine! We loved Tuscany so much we are taking another Untour trip to the northern part (near Pisa) this fall for two weeks and then going on to Venice for a week. The bottom line is you can't go wrong in either location. All of this area is wonderful.
hagg1936 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 11:47 PM
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Susan - we stayed at the Hotel dei Capitani in Montalcino but I cannot really recommend it. If I could have afforded it, I definitely would have chosen the Vecchia Oliviera. It is a gorgeous hotel, gorgeous views, etc. But all these hotels are small and get booked quickly. I suggest you book soon. As for restaurants, another great big thumbs up for Grappolo Blu, along with just about any place we happened to fall upon on that street.
Flame123 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 04:01 AM
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I also have stayed at Hotel dei Capitani and give it a "so-so".
Almost dangerous parking,but they do have parking.
If you get a room with a small balcony and a view the rooms okay and the view great.
Their breakfasts are very good.
We only stayed there because we arrived in Oct. during beautiful weather and had no reservations. It bascially was the omly thing available.
Of the 4 places we have stayed at there,it's my least favorite.
jabez is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 04:16 AM
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We just booked Locanda di San Francesco in Montepulciano for 4 nights in June. Take a look at their website. I've never been before but it looks lovely and so does the town.
rbnwdln is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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jabez - what other hotels did you stay in and how did you like them? just for my future reference please. thanks.
Flame123 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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#1-Hotel Vecchia Oliviera-easily the best,but more expensive.
#2-Palazzina Cesira-one of the best values in all of tuscany.No view,but quite nice and a great location (across from Giglio).
#3-Il Giglio Hotel- The free bottle of Rosso di Montalcino is a nice touch.Get a view room.
and #4-Hotel dei Capitani-Do not get a ground level room.

jabez is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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Hey Jabez,

How come you got a bottle of Rosso out of Il Giglio? I didn't get one. While I liked the hotel, lovely room and bath, fabulous views, excellent value, I barely got a grunt when I checked in...
Dayle is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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This has been great info. I went ahead this morning and booked all four nights at the Vecchia Oliviera in Montalcino. It's a little more expensive but it seems perfect . . in town but on the edge of town with views and free parking. By the way, my confirmation from them was a one word e-mail: "confirmed". I keep reading here and on Trip Advisor of the dozens of people who arrive at their hotels with confirmed reservations only to discover that the place is full! Is that really common in Italy?
p.s. Thanks to "Dayle". That was pretty insightful.
susan217 is offline  

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