New ideas for Montepulciano area

Jul 11th, 2014, 07:38 AM
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New ideas for Montepulciano area

It has become a family (me, DH and 8 year-old DD) tradition to spend the last week of August outside of Montepulciano. It is incredibly relaxing and the food is so wonderful, we keep going back. It is a great way to wind down the summer. That said, I always like to try to add some new things to do/places to visit.

Things we do every time:
Eat at La Porta in Monticchello
Spend a half day in Pienza and another in Montepulciano (eat at La Grotta)
Winery visit (we have twice gone to Ciacci Piccolomin followed by lunch in Sant'Angelo in Colle, but might want to try something new)

Things we have done at least once:
Sant'Antimo (including monks)
Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore
The Gardens at La Foce
Hot Springs in Bagno Vignoni
Pitigliano (including the cool hiking paths)
Lago Trasimeno (visited Island)
Sarteano and Cetona (brief visits last year)
Chuisi (Etruscan museum/tunnels)

We tend to like to not take more than two driving long days. These are balanced with shorter days that end with the afternoon by the pool. I was thinking we might want to try exploring more to the east this year and spend more time in Sarteano and Cetona. But, I would love any other suggestions, towns to visit, museums, restaurants, etc...

eastave is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Have you checked out Cianciano Terme - in between Montepulciano and Chiusi - one of Italy's spiffiest and most famous spas?
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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On Lago di Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe, the town of Bolsena lies about a 1.5 hour drive from Montepulciano. There is a lovely medieval old town and, below it, on the lake, a more modern town. There is a beach, boating and fishing.

We visited in October, when the town was fairly sleepy. I am sure it would be different in late August with others seeking waterside activities.

I like to mention Bolsena, though, because I think many are not as aware of it as they are of the Tuscan towns. It is lovely, though, and worth a visit.
mama_mia is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 09:20 AM
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Do the cheese tasting or have a tour and lunch at Podere I'll Casale in hills between Montchiello and Pienza. It is a small, organic farm that produces some amazing cheese. We did the cheese tasting a few weeks ago and loved it. Sandra, the owner is very charming and gives an engaging tour. There are lots of goats, sheep, pigs and peacocks roaming around the place. The views from grape arbor covered terrace are stunning.

Another place we went that was a cool place to explore is Il Bosco Della Ragnaia just outside San Giovanni di Asso. It defies description. We spent two hours roaming around the forest and gardens.

Our best meals in the area were at Il Pozzo in Sant'Angelo in Colle, Gattavecchi in Montepulciano, and Piccola Trattoria Guastini in Valiano. It is a bit out of fashion now, but we had a great lunch at Latte di Luna in Pienza. The semifreddo was fantastic as were the roasted suckling pig and rabbit.

We enjoyed our visit to Rocca d'Orcia a lot. The views from the top of the tower are awesome and the town is very charming.
wekewoody is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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I second the Podere Ill Casale suggestion. We had a lovely lunch there a couple of years ago.
ekc is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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Orvieto is a doable day trip from Montepulciano.

Arezzo would also be a worthy destination.

A little further into Umbria are the Roman ruins at Carsulae.
wekewoody is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 10:31 AM
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You might consider exploring a bit more of Umbria. Several very interesting towns that are within 1 1/2 hours of Montepulciano are Gubbio, Assisi, Spello, Todi, and Spoleto. Spello is a little jewel of a town, one of the prettiest in Italy, in my opinion. It's very small, but it can easily be combined with a visit to Assisi. In the upper Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi you can see some of the masterpieces of the Italian Trecento (14th century), the frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto. Both also painted frescoes in the Lower Basilica, but the effect in the Upper Basilica is simply breathtaking.

Even closer to Montepulciano (and still in Tuscany), you might want to visit Arezzo, which has the great fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca in the Basilica of San Francesco. There is also an interesting outdoor antiques fair in Arezzo on the weekend which contains the first Sunday of each month. A bit further along, there are other works by Piero della Francesca in Sansepolcro.
bvlenci is online now  
Jul 11th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

wekewoody, I looked up La Ragnaia and this is on their website:
•Visitors under 14 years of age are not desired.If they enter, they must always be with adults.
It actually made me laugh the way they have worded this. Do you think it would be an issue to bring a well behaved 8-year old?

We have driven through Cianciano Terme many, many times, but never stopped. My impression was it was all hotels. Am I wrong? Again, we have an 8-year old, so true spa visits aren't going to be part of our travel for awhile.

Thanks again, this information is great.
eastave is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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It is a very "zen", thoughtful and peaceful sort of place and I don't think he wants kids running amok, which I can understand. Not sure where the age 14 came from.

We were the only visitors (that I know of) while we were there. I would go if you want to and just keep DD with you.

Look for the stone suspended by the wire from the tree.

I envy you that you visit this area every year. It will be another three years before we get back.
wekewoody is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 12:51 PM
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How about the aqua park in Tavernelle in Umbria (near Panicale)?
sandralist is offline  
Jul 11th, 2014, 01:05 PM
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If you happen to be nearby, the Teatro della Concordia is charming. It is the smallest theatre all'italiana in the world and is located in Monte Castello di Vibio in Umbria.
ekc is offline  
Jul 12th, 2014, 05:22 PM
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Pawleys is offline  

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