For those of you who love slow travel, Val d’Orcia is the ideal destination. There is a village in particular that is perfect for a “slow visit”. A village to visit, to taste and to contemplate: Montalcino, the homeland of Brunello wine.
We are south of Siena, on a hill at the edge of the Val d’Orcia. In this short guide we suggest you take your time to get into the medieval atmosphere of this village. Stroll through its narrow streets, enjoy the extraordinary view of the valley and sit down and slowly sip a glass of red wine. If you are in Montalcino do not forget to visit Sant’Antimo Abbey, just a ten minute drive from the village.
Montalcino is known all over the world thanks to Brunello, one of the best Italian wines. But this beautiful village is not just wine, it’s also art, history and culture. Let’s start our discovery, here’s what to see in Montalcino:
The first thing to visit is the medieval fortress, which has remained intact since the sixteenth century, when it was the last defensive bastion of the Republic of Siena. A classic pentagonal castle, surrounded by walls and towers. The fortress dominates the village and the entire valley. From its bastions you can enjoy a stunning panorama that goes from Monte Amiata to Siena through the whole Val d’Orcia and the Crete Senesi.
Every year the Fortress hosts great events of various kinds, such as concerts, tastings and shows. One above all, the prestigious Jazz & Wine Festival held in July. A series of jazz concerts with international performers. This year the event takes place from 17 to 22 July. To see the full program visit the official website www.montalcinojazzandwine.com
Inside the fortress, in the main tower of the castle there’s also the Enoteca La Fortezza. A reference point for wine enthusiasts, an ideal place to taste the great wines of the area in a magical atmosphere and taste local dishes.
THE HISTORICAL CENTER
At this point we can leave the Fortress to move into the historical center. Our advice is to start from Piazza del Popolo, the main square of the town, characterized by the long and narrow tower of the Palazzo del Priore and the beautiful gothic loggia. From here there are a series of narrow streets and alleys ideal for walking slowly and aimlessly, that will open up from time to time on breathtaking views of the valley below. A delightful maze of artisan shops too.
We suggest you also visit the Palazzo del Vescovo and the churches of Sant’Agostino, Sant’Egidio, and San Francesco.
If you are interested it is also worth visiting the Civic and Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art with precious paintings, sculptures and finds from Etruscan and Roman times.
Perhaps the most precious tip we can give you is to visit the Sant’Antimo Abbey. This pearl is situated approximately 10 km from Montalcino, in the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. A monastic complex completely surrounded by greenery. One of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Tuscany and throughout Italy. The origin of the abbey is lost in the legend in the time of Charlemagne. A magical place where you can still hear the evocative Gregorian chants …
A place of meditation, to be contemplated and lived slowly, without haste.
Montalcino is one of the most characteristic destinations of this part of Tuscany and is easily reachable from Podere Salicotto; just 13 Km. An excellent reason to spend a pleasant holiday between the Val d’Orcia and the Crete Senesi.