Need advice on Montepulciano rentals

Old May 8th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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Need advice on Montepulciano rentals


I’m hoping you can help my husband and me decide between some rentals in Montepulciano. We are planning a fall 2 week holiday, and after, some discussion, have decided on staying in southern Tuscany near or in Montepulciano. So far, we have heard from the Politian and Al Poggiolo in the town itself and Sant’Antonio a short distance away.

We have a few questions. We are a couple in our mid sixties and stayed in Bonnieux, Provence last fall for 3 weeks. We loved it. While my husband did not mind the steep hills, I was somewhat challenged by them. I walked them, but sometimes complaining a bit. (I’ll try to get in better shape for this trip!) My question is how the hill in Montepulciano compares to the Provençal hilltop towns. Also, do any of you have any knowledge of services (stores, cafés, restaurants, etc.) in the vicinity of the 2 in-town apartments, and any specific recommendations? Do any of you prefer one over the other? It appears that the Politian is somewhat higher, and father from restaurants and cafés and the parking is outside the walls. We have been unable to figure out what that exactly means. However, the Politian has WiFi, and we like to use that to keep in contact with family in the states. Al Poggiolo has parking and a garden, but no computer access in the apartment. We’ve been assured that there are connections nearby.

There is the additional issue of how far Sant’Antonio is from the town itself. Most recently, we have stayed in villages because we can go to a café or restaurant for meals or easily pick up croissants for breakfast and eat in our apartment. We really prefer not to drink and drive, so like to be located in or near a town. We do cook sometimes. So, since Sant’Antonio doesn’t serve meals, the question of distance seems to be important. Sant’Antonio’s web-site says that it is a couple of kilometers, but how does that translate into practicality? Can one get into the town easily, and is parking difficult, particularly in the morning or at dinner time?

Thanks for any help you can give us. Margie and Larry
justretired is offline  
Old May 8th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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Whew...lots of questions... I can only help with a couple of them. Montepulciano is pretty steep - similar to Siena and Cortona I think.

Parking is not a huge problem if you arrive fairly early in the day. There are parking areas up toward the top near the centre.

There is a very tourist friendly internet cafe in the centre - can't remember exact location but it was easy to stumble across.

Montepulciano has many excellent restaurants and cafes.

We stayed at a farmhouse last year in Montefollonico -- the windows on one side of the farmhouse looked directly over vineyards and pastureland to Montepulciano with San Biagio at its base - spectacular view!! It was not difficult at all to get from there into Montepulciano.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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I have to agree - Montepulciano has very steep hills. I'm in pretty good shape, walk several miles every day for exercise, and I was fairly winded navigating Montepulciano. It's a beautiful place to be - we've vacationed in that area several times and will be returning in a few weeks. (We, too, visited Bonnieux last spring.) Happy travels!
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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Thanks. Dorkforcemom, how does Montipulciano compare to Bonnieux? Is it steeper?

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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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I have stayed at the Politian and will again this September--terrific. The parking for the two apartments is just below the entrance, not outside the walls--very close and within sight of your apartment. The location of the apartment (and the parking) is at the highest point of the village. Be aware, the apartments require you to climb stairs to gain entrance.

Montepulciano has virtually no level ground and is all cobblestone--just like Bonnieux,(I've been there as well). Montepulciano has numerous restaurants and cafes--no problem with a variety of choices and price ranges, but you will have to navigate the sloped streets. Groceries are available in small neighborhood stores or at a larger store at the bottom of the hill (outside the walls).

RE: Driving to town and parking. There are a number of "pocket" parking lots outside the walls at various elevations but you will have to find your way to them. Virtually all will require you to hike up into the town from them--there is little traffic within the city. There is a small city bus which drives up and down the main road within the town--it can help when you are lugging groceries (or large quantities of wine!).

I agree, Politian's computer is a great asset in planning and setting up appointments. Giacomo is very easy to work with. Aquachetta is a very pleasant osteria nearby.
Cin Cin Paul
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Old May 8th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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I've stayed at Al Poggiolo in the two bedroom with small balcony. I loved, loved it. The views from there were spectacular and the owners are lovely, charming sisters - so gracious. Easy parking in the gated garden. But.. as others have said, the streets are steep. I too am in good shape, but got winded a few times. My travel companion was not in such great shape and it was difficult for her. It is a very good base for exploring that whole area and has some really good restaurants. Have you considered Pienza? It is pretty flat and is very charming.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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I too have stayed at and LOVED Al Poggiolo. It is what I'd call "half way" up the hill, so it is certainly less of climb either way that all the way to the top from the bottom. But it still is a steep climb, and there are more steps inside most (all) of the apartments.

Honestly, if the hills are a problem, I too would look at Pienza. While the views out from it are spectacular, nearly the entire town is quite level, amazingly so, in fact. I've only been to Bonnieux once, so I'm not sure, but somehow I don't remember the hills being as "challenging" as they might be in Montepulciano.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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I agree that Pienza would be a great alternative!
caroltis is offline  
Old May 9th, 2008, 10:18 AM
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Yes, look at Pienza. It is charming, with several wonderful restaurant choices as well and, as others have reported, is fairly flat. As a matter of fact, I find the parking around Pienza to be much easier and less stressful. Navigating Montepulciano's parking is a challenge for me. Hope this helps....
dorkforcemom is offline  
Old May 10th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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Thanks so much for your kind and helpful comments. In the end, we decided to stay at the Sant Antonio. We have not stayed in an agrituristica before, except for some short stays at bed and breakfasts, and thought we’d try something different. Although we liked village stays, we took into account many of your comments about the steepness of the town. Sant Antonio comes highly recommended, and although it is not in the town itself, it seems close enough for meals and provisions. We will cook probably half our meals in the apartment and the setting of the Sant Antonio looks lovely.

For those of you who mentioned Pienza, we will go there during our stay. We just wanted to be a bit closer to the highway for easy access to some of the places we want to visit.

Thanks again for you help. We have additional questions, but will post under new headings.


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