Must-sees destinations in Montepulciano surroundings
9 May 2017
Many travelers look for information on the most beautiful places near Montepulciano and ask us how to reach the closest towns from the hotel, what attractions to see and the easiest route to follow, especially if you have little time to do it.
This guide is a selection of 5 destinations with unequalled charm close to Borgo Tre Rose, 5 places that give vivid and intense emotions, making a vacation worthy of being remembered for a long time.
Just 15 km west of Montepulciano lies the so-called “ideal city of the Renaissance”, Pienza.
Did you know that this hamlet was originally called Corsignano? The current name derives from Enea Silvio Piccolomini, or Pope Pius II, who entrusted the architect Bernardo Rossellino with the project of completely renovating the town, realizing a place in Renaissance style, such as a life-giving painting.
For this reason, the historic center of Pienza has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is the first destination you should visit.
Piazza Pio II overlooks the Duomo, Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini, and it is here that Pienza’s harmony expresses itself at the highest level; the buildings are made of travertine stone and have a majestic and solemn appearance, while Palazzo Piccolomini boasts a loggia with suspended garden offering a breathtaking panoramic view and is, in our opinion, the first place to visit once arrived in Pienza.
If you are looking for a tasty souvenir, you should try the famous cacio di Pienza, a pecorino cheese with unmistakable flavor, used in many traditional recipes in Tuscany.
From Pienza you can admire the whole Val d’Orcia and head to the other nearby hamlets.
San Quirico d’Orcia
At the top of a hill, about half an hour from Montepulciano, is located San Quirico d’Orcia, a destination that has a historic tradition of hospitality of pilgrims who, for centuries, have gone through the Via Francigena.
Today, the Francigena route again attracts the interest of travelers all over the world, who visit San Quirico to admire the medieval structure of the hamlet, which has remained almost unaltered.
There is a lot to see in this charming town: for example the Collegiate Church of San Quirico and Giulitta, Romanesque church marked by a gothic and baroque combination;
Palazzo Chigi, seat of the municipality; the Church of San Francesco, where is preserved the Madonna’s terracotta statue made by Andrea della Robbia; the Horti Leonini, Italian gardens designed in 1540 by Diomede Leoni, an authentic masterpiece combining the talent of the artist and the beauty of the natural landscape.
Admire the Val d’Orcia from the walls around the Horti, from this panoramic point you can see Mount Amiata, Pienza and Montepulciano!
Before leaving San Quirico d’Orcia, we recommend a stop at Bagno Vignoni, a hamlet with few inhabitants located within the Natural Reserve of the Val d’Orcia.
This hamlet is well-known for the thermal waters of volcanic origin, known since Etruscan times and also liked by Caterina da Siena and Lorenzo de’ Medici, among the others.
What you see in the photo is the “square of springs”, a rectangular tub that dates back to the XVI century that is one of its kind, like a pool in the heart of an ancient village.
Today, it’s no longer possible to bathe in this square, however there are free thermal baths under the Parco dei Mulini, situated a short distance from the center.
Seeing this thermal pool framing Bagno Vignoni is an incredible experience, Tuscany always keeps wonders to the most curious tourists.
We continue the itinerary in the sign of relaxation by visiting Sarteano, a town located on the border with Val di Chiana, recognizable for its medieval castle, still visitable and well preserved.
You can get to the top to enjoy a panoramic view of Montepulciano and Lake of Chiusi, from the castle that overlooks Val di Chiana!
In addition to the fortress, we recommend visiting the Natural Reserve of Pietraporciana, which is named after the hillside on which it extends, representing the passage between Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana.
In the Reserve there is a splendid beech tree that keeps a fresh and humid climate in this area, and you can also admire the great variety of flowers and shrubs that characterize this protected oasis.
Follow the trails in the woods to get in touch with the pristine nature of the Siena countryside, you will certainly be enchanted by its beauty.
Montalcino, a little further away from our country hotel, is a destination that deserves a thorough visit and is also an ideally conclusive stop of this route, as it is at the end of the Val d’Orcia.
The internationally renowned Brunello wine is produced here: this is one of the most prestigious and appreciated wines in the world, known since the XV century.
Since then, the hamlet has not changed much: just take a walk in the historic center to realize it. The Rocca is the main Montalcino panoramic point and is also the venue that houses events such as concerts and shows, especially in summer.
The Palazzo Vescovile and the Palazzo dei Priori represent two important sides of the town: the first hosts Diocesan Museum, the Civic Museum and the Archaeological Museum, while the Palazzo dei Priori is the seat of the municipality and is characterized by a narrow and long tower which overlooks Piazza del Popolo.
As we have pointed out in the article The most beautiful sights in Val d’Orcia, the Renaissance icon http://www.borgotrerose.it/en/the-most-beautiful-sights-in-val-dorcia-the-renaissance-icon/ at a short distance from Montalcino stands the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, a particularly evocative monastery that should not be missed in any itinerary.
The tour of Montepulciano surroundings is an experience that we recommend to those who stop for at least 3 days in this area, because you need to have the time to explore the attractions of the 5 suggested destinations, which are easy to reach from Borgo Tre Rose.