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Stay in Multalcino or Montepulciano

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Oct 21st, 2016, 05:41 PM
  #1
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Stay in Multalcino or Montepulciano

Four senior ladies wish to see the Tuscany countryside and and take day trips to charming towns. We are focusing on Montepulciano or Montalcino. Looking seriously at an apartment called a View From the Top in Montepulciano we found on Booking.com. Does anyone know anything about this apartment booking.com has no reviews for it. Still don’t know whether we will rent a car or depend on local transportation to other towns such as ASSISSI, ORVIETO AND CIVITA (SORRY KEYBOARD IS STUCK ON CAPS).
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHICH WHICH THE TWO TOWNS WOULD HAVE THE BEST RESTAURANTS AND MARKETPLACE ALONG WITH SIDEWALK CAFÉ(S) TO SIT, DRINK WINE AND WATCH THE WORLD GO BY.
WE WILL BE THERE FIVE NIGHTS FIRST PART OF MAY. IF WE ARE COMPLETELY OFF OUR ROCKERS AND THAT IS NOT THE BEST PLACE TO BE FOR FOUR LADIES 70+ TO ENJOY THE TUSCANY COUNTRYSIDE PLS LET US KNOW. THE MORE WE STUDY THINGS THE MORE CONFUSING WE GET BEFORE IT’S OVER WE MAY NEED A FOUR BEDROOM PLACE TO STAY BECAUSE WE’RE NOT TALKING (KIDDING I THINK).
ANY RECOMMENDATIONS AND HELP WLD CERTAINLY BE APPRECIATED.
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Oct 21st, 2016, 08:22 PM
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Looks great!

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUser...o_Tuscany.html
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Oct 21st, 2016, 08:32 PM
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Visiting all the towns you mentioned, Assissi, Orvieto, and Civita (di Bagnoregio) is a chore by public transit. The schedules are not all aligned in your favor. In fact, none of them are even in Tuscany in case you have not looked at the map. It is not a quick drive with a car, either.

Of the two you mentioned, Montepulciano has a frequent bus service to Chiusi train station. In case you have not thought out, Montepulciano has a small flat part at the top, but everything else require climbing up/down steep stairs/streets. Montalcino has larger flat part in the middle. This means you do vertical hiking to get to many restaurants/cafes in Montepulciano.

If you are staying in one of these two places, Pienza, Montecchielo, San Quirico d'Orcia, and perhaps Siena are more logical destinations.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 02:07 AM
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I'm not quite near age 70, but I would NEVER consider exploring any area of Tuscany without a car, unless you wish to visit very few places. In early May, mornings and evenings can be quite cold, winter cold. Expect fog.

It is far more comfortable, on numerous levels, to stay at lodging outside of any city. If one of the four has a handicapped parking permit, you all can enjoy the convenience of driving into and parking in a ZTL zone. However, if it's your first time doing so, be prepared for what is required to endure such an adventure. One of the four needs to be an excellent, no-fear driver. And you'll need maximum insurance.

Most hill towns in Tuscany are serious hill towns. Senior visitors will be cardiac tested. I won't even mention arthritis or muscles in legs that rarely get used. Seniors love Pienza and Monteriggioni because they are fairly flat once you get there.

With the metal "escluso" barricades blocking Via Bonaventura Tecchi, Civita is particularly challenging to visit these days. Local officials are making it very difficult to get anywhere near the place with a car. They are forcing visitors to park miles away and restricting access to the parking lot under the bridge. However, if you have a handicapped permit, you have permission to enter. Even with permission to park closer, Civita is a walking, climbing challenge. IMO, the spectacle is most impacting from a distance.

With a larger car, Assisi will be challenging. Orvieto is easier. You need expert research to take a car into both. IMO, these places are much more enjoyable to explore, and less exhausting, if you can get as close as possible. The locals make it difficult, but it can be accomplished.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 03:04 AM
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Thoughtful advice from NYCFoodetc and Greg above.

I don't like driving abroad, but Tuscany outside the cities isn't bad.

You can park at the bottom in Orvieto and take the funicular to the top, and Siena is not hilly, but you pretty much gave to park outside the walls and walk in. There is good parking at Pienza and the monasteries. It is a steep but short haul into Monteriggioni from the parking lot. As I remember it, San Gimignano is so ringed with parking lots that you ought to find a gentle way into town, but from there to the centro istorico it is ruthlessly uphill.

We got into what computer programmers call an infinite loop in Montepulciano and drove around in circles on increasingly narrow streets, unable to get out for a long time. I have managed to live without ever seeing any more of it after making my escape.

Staying outside the larger towns, either in a village like Montecchiello or on an agriturismo makes a lot of sense.

I hope this isn't agist (I'm 71) but the biggest challenge is going to be getting four of you out and on the road in the morning. You want to be at any town by ten to have a chance of beating the tour buses, earlier is better, much earlier is much better and necessary if you want to go to a market. There is another window of opportunity from 4-6 in the afternoon. The buses leave, the shops reopen after nap time, some of the famous sites may close, but the towns are pretty pleasant.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 04:58 AM
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We once got blocked into a parking lot in Montepulciano by someone who parked across the entrance. Fortunately, some residents recognized the car and knew where the owner probably was.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 07:05 AM
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Split the difference--go to San Quirico.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 07:44 AM
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There are several great maps of Montepulciano, but the driving experience there seems like nothing compared to what you see on a map. A map will not show undulations in a road, and the roads around Montepulciano are like a roller coaster. They are disorienting. Several parallel roads that circle the city end at the same intersection. They are there to connect other roads, which adds to some confusion.

I've driven in Montepulciano several times, and I can say with certainty, it takes practice. It is not for the inexperienced driver in Italy. But Siena and San Gimignano are much worse.

My favorite parking lot in Montepulciano is Parcheggio San Donato, just beyond the city wall entrance on Via San Donato. Most tourists don't know how to find it because it's at the very top. They panic too soon on their way up and park in one of the tourist lots further down. Parcheggio San Donato is a stone's throw from Piazza Grande, and the walk is fairly flat. There isn't much flatness in any hill town, so a girl has to grab some when she can, especially if she's wearing high heals. There is only way way down from this parking lot. If you make a mistake, it's very easy to drive into a ZTL zone.

Siena is extremely hilly, even in the city center. If you don't have sloped streets, you have tons of stairs. There are a few sections near the Campo that are flat, and most tourists only experience those sections, so their purview is skewed.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 07:53 AM
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We stayed at this place just outside of montepulciano and loved it!

http://www.santantonio.it
jamikins is online now  
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 12:19 PM
  #10
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WOW thanks for all the info guys. Greg you are so right the towns I mentioned are not on the Tuscany region map I have. I was just going from things I had read on other Fodor messages. Dah now I really do feel like a dummy. Thoroughly disappointed Montepulciano doesn't sound like a good option. Also, wanted to see Civita. Somewhere I read you could walk Montepulciano in 20 minutes. Maybe they meant if you were an Olympian. We are all 70+ none of us have or need a handi-cap parking sticker. If we complain to our Dr. enough he might give us one. Regardless hills can be challenging. We've worked so hard just to get as far in planning as we have. Might have to go through a tour agency and book a tour. We all dislike being told where to be and at what time. None of us really have the appreciation we should have for the big tourist attractions in Florence, Rome etc. Back to the drawing board it's really hard to find something four little ole ladies can agree on. Cheers and thanks again for the help.
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Oct 22nd, 2016, 02:41 PM
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http://www.tiemmespa.it/ provides online timetables for buses in the region. http://www.umbriamobilita.it/it for Umbria. trenitalia.com for trains. Sometimes you may need to bus to a train station and then take a train. Use google maps to assist in positioning places in your mind. For example, Pienza is very popular with people on this forum and is a 20 minute bus ride from Montepulciano. Montalcino is also possible by bus but the day I checked, only in the afternoon.

Check them before you abandon all hope of travelling without a car. Of course you can't rush about seeing multiple towns in a day but it is possible to go somewhere for the day and return again later. Siena is more of a transport hub because it is bigger. We stayed in Montepulciano but found that we couldn't easily visit all the places that we wanted without long bus rides so split our stay between Montepulciano and Siena (which was closer to some places we wanted to visit).

There is absolutely no need to take a tour if you don't want to.

btw Montepulciano IS hilly but there is a minibus from the main bus station at the foot of the hill to the main piazza at the top. Don't give in to dodgy knees, following the waving flag, etc, until you have to! If you want to stay in one place, you may find that Siena suits you better and it certainly has some wonderful things to see in itself. (It is much bigger though.) If your heart is set on Orvieto, Assisi and Civita, perhaps stay in Orvieto.

Have fun checking the timetables and good luck with the decision making.
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