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Pienza or Montepulciano

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Jul 5th, 2012, 07:22 PM
  #1
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Pienza or Montepulciano

We are considering using Pienza or Montepulciano as a home base for 3 nights in late October. A noted travel author gave Pienza the back of his hand saying it is greedy and given over to getting the tourist dollar. Do you agree? Which of the two would you choose?


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Jul 5th, 2012, 09:16 PM
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We're Team Montepulciano. Others like Pienza. I don't think there's a wrong answer.

Tourism is a huge part of the economy in many Tuscan towns, so I think singling out Pienza as "given over to getting the tourist dollar" is a pretty silly statement, especially for a so-called travel author. Mind identifying Mr./Ms. Cranky?
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Jul 6th, 2012, 04:54 AM
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First name is Rick
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Jul 6th, 2012, 05:34 AM
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Big difference. Montepulciano is much larger and built on a hill. Pienza is flat and less than half the size. My choice is San Quirico---fewer tourists and a more centro location.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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We' ve stayed in Montepulciano on numerous occasions and always enjoyed it. Clearly it is a tourist destination but it also has authenticity and the steepness of the town precludes the bus loads of visitors that frequent flat Pienza. Pienza is smaller and is easily accessible--we always visit when we are in the area.

As has been said before, find the sights and places you want to visit and locate as close as possible. I've tired of driving from Montepulciano to Montalcino and the surrounding "Brunello land" and will stay in Pienza on our upcoming return in September. Both MP and Pienza have fantastic countryside, wineries, villages and restaurants --and they are only 20 mins apart.

Yes, Pienza appears to be the more touristed site but it is not kitschy and "greedy" is a bit of an overstatement (I noted Rick's comment recently and was surprised by it). Maybe I'll have a different opinion after a week in the town later this year. Location is key in your decision.
Have fun--Paul
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Jul 6th, 2012, 06:31 AM
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I've stayed in Pienza and the Pienza area several times and have never encountered bus loads of visitors. If you want flat and easy to drive out for day trips, it's a good choice. It has enough restaurant selection for evening meals although you might need reservations at a few of them.

Montepulciano is larger so has more choices, but parking can be more difficult. I don't find Pienza anymore greedy than Montepulciano or Montalcino. Pienza has lots of cheese shops just as Montepulciano and Montalcino have lots of wine shops. They are just offering their local products.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 08:08 AM
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We found Pienza a bit scrubbed clean for tourists, and the smell of cheese stayed in my head for days after, haha. Too much of a good thing for my taste!

At the same time, though, it is easy to navigate into and out of Pienza, if using as a base. And the views are beautiful from the town, and OF the town, from the south ? side, I'm guessing.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 08:14 AM
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1. San Quirico
2. Pienza
3. Montepulciano
a long distant
4. Cortona

All based on the numbers visiting and their ability to cope with those numbers.

San GimIgnano is actually a good base as everyone disappears off at night, as long as you disappear during the day.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Do you have to be in a town? It is usually much easier to stay outside of town when exploring with a car. There are many wonderful agriturismi in the area that offer great accommodations and are located in a beautiful setting with lovely views and easy access for exploring by car.

I've visited the area many times and love staying at Fonte Bertusi, located just 3km outside of Pienza. In just 5 minutes you can drive into Pienza or San Quirico for dinner. The location could not be better.

http://www.fontebertusi.it/
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Jul 6th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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I have thoroughly enjoyed Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, San Quirico, and many other locations in that area. But I've never used any of them as a base. Really, the one and only place I just almost ran screaming from was Cortona - though when I revisited it in mid-October (first time was mid-summer), it was almost palatable.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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<>

I hope this doesn't sound snobbish, but I find Cortona dirty and uninspiring. I visited there this last spring for the first time in 10 years and could not wait to leave. With all the tourist money pouring into that town, you would think they would spend a little on at least keeping it clean. It was much nicer 10 years ago.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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We have used Montepulciano as a home base at least a dozen times and will return. Pienza and other hill towns are an easy drive away.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 03:09 PM
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I haven't noticed Cortona being dirty, but it is awfully steep. I prefer being in a town and walking to dinner or to a cafe for morning coffee.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 03:48 PM
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I have stayed in both.just returned from Montepulciano.It is bigger,and steeper.I like it better as a base.If you want to stay in town,consider la Terrazza.You can fine reviews on Trip Advisor.I loved it.I agree staying outside of town would be great,I don't like to drive on the crazy roads at night,so I stay in town.Pienza is small,flatter,but quaint.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 04:14 PM
  #15
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Thanks for all the great feedback
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