Radda in Chianti or Montalcino?

Old May 3rd, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Radda in Chianti or Montalcino?

Where would you recommend staying - Radda in Chianti or Montalcino? It's my husband and I for 3 nights the first week of June and we'd like to explore by car during the day and then have nice places for dinner and wine either where we're staying or near where we're staying walking distance.
I'm currently looking into the following places to stay:
Palazzo San Niccolo – Radda in Chianti
Palazzo Leopoldo - Radda in Chianti
Vecchia Oliviera - Montalcino
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 10:12 AM
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This may help http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Depends how you like your countryside - Radda is right in the middle of wine country it is much greener and frequently gets summer thunder from the moisture that rises from Lake Trasimeno in the south.

The countryisde around Montalcino is more classical Tuscan with rolling chaulk downs covered with wheat fields and cypress trees.

It also depends how you like you wine. The area around Radda produces some good Chianti Classico like Volpaia or Brolio. Montalcino produces Brunello which for me is the best red in the world. Particularly when drunk at 8pm, sun going down, round your pool at the farmhouse in Pienza.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 11:17 AM
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We prefer Brunello over Chianti wines, so we would stay in the Montalcino area.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 01:20 PM
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To me, this is a no-brainer--Montalcino or Bob's favorite, San Querico is better situated to get out and explore other towns and areas. I like Radda and very often visit but it is not on a convenient highway to other parts. The Chianti area has its charm as a result of this remoteness and it takes a while to get to other towns (with a lot of driving on twisty, mountain roads that become repititious).

Montalcino would allow you to go north to Siena, San Gimignano, Monte Olivetto and east to San Querico, Bagno Vignoni, Pienza, Montepulciano as well as south to San Antimo and the wineries of Brunello land. Same goes for San Querico. Take a good look at a map and you will realize there is only one main highway servicing Radda with a long journey in or out (which I've done all too many times).
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:50 PM
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My experience of the Fodor's message board is that it is sometlmes luck of the draw (or the hour) about what kind of responses you get. Not long ago I saw someone come on the boards to ask for advice between choosing between Brugge and Antwerp for a base in Brussels. After five posts, the consensus was solidly Brugge, and original poster thanked everybody and booked a hotel in Brugge. About 2 days later, the exact same question came up, but the posters hanging out at that moment all posted negative comments about Brugge, and after five or six comments, the poster thanked everybody and booked a hotel in Antwerp.

There are some people who find Chianti (both the wine and area) preferable to the val d'Orcia, and some of them even post on this board. I have an allergy to the phrase "no-brainer" -- I immediately imagine I'll be surrounded by people who don't like to think, or who think there is some objective reason for choosing one travel destination over another.

Chianti is just as characteristically Tuscan as Montalcino. Tuscan wine is not really meant to be drunk alone without food, so which wine is "best" (Chianti or Brunello or others) makes little sense divorced from which type of Tuscan cooking you like.

For me, going to Italian wine and farm country means the unique opportunity to stay on a farm where food and wine is produced and eating the food of the farm and vinyards, something you can't do almost anywhere else. I would choose a lodging on that basis.

The areas of Tuscany most people consider scenic or picturesque are all within a daytrip's reach of each other -- and more importantly, Tuscany (and the rest of Italy) has an incredible density of interest. You don't have to see the tourbook sights to be fascinated and having fun exploring Tuscany on your own with a car, and sometimes the charm is in wandering without a list of destinations, or to feel you discovered something, not were directed to go there for "an experience."

By the way, for google search purposes, the town is spelled San Quirico, and thh abbey is Monte Oliveto Maggiore.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:08 PM
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Difficult decision. The solution is multiple trips!

First trip to Tuscan countryside we stayed in San Sano, a TINY village 20 min, north of Siena and just south of Radda on the Chianti hwy. We loved this tiny village! Hotel Residence San Sano**** was the only lodging in town and in ancient, stone walled buildings. Lovely pool, lovely flower and herb garden where breakfast and optional dinner was served. There was an excellent family run trattoria in the village and no other commercial business. Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards.

We did day trips from there to Greve, La Badia di Coltibuono for lunch, San Gimignano and Volterra, another to Siena. Yes, the driving on the twisty roads got old and repetitive after the first 2 days. Still, we voted San Sano our favorite overall destination of a 3 week trip that included Milan, Lago di Maggiore, Cinque Terre, and parts of Umbria!

Second trip, stayed in Montalcino and thought I had gone to heaven. Brunello! Stayed at Il Giglio***, great value for the price and walked to Grappolo Blu every night for dinner. Fabulous! Wonderful views, friendly people. Did day trips to San't Antimo, Pienza and Montepulciano, Monte Olivetto. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Much quicker and easier driving to other southern Tuscan hilltowns.

Like I said, multiple trips! Buon viaggio!
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Old May 4th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Thanks everyone! I chose Montalcino.
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