I wanted to share a small guide of three wonderful places we visited, all located close to Siena. We stayed in Montepulciano for three nights and during that time we drove to see other neighbouring towns, such as Montalcino and Pienza. If you are looking for picturesque little towns all in close proximity, get ready to take out your camera and walk along these cobbled streets. We traveled with our 8 month old and found all these destinations baby friendly and possible to walk around with a stroller.
A fairytale in Tuscany – Montepulciano
Where the wine is velvety smooth and rich in density, Montepulciano is a stunning hilltop town in the south of Tuscany in the province of Siena. It is surrounded with lush vineyards and the scenery of Val d’orcia and Val di Chiana valleys and the town dates back to the 4th and 5th century BC. The old town is a typical cobbled street beauty with one main road that leads up a steep walk into the centre. There are churches, idyllic piazzas, restaurants and wine shops around every corner. The town is filled with majestic buildings that have been worked on by many famous Renaissance artists like, Andrea Pozzo, Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelozzo. The town is not that big in itself, we did some wine sampling, a bit of shopping and dining. We found fabulous hand made copper pots and pans to take back home with us, along with some red wine. Like all towns in Italy, Montepulciano was very child friendly and I love how all the local elderlies stop and talk to the little one in the stroller.
The cozy Pecorino di Pienza
Pienza is only a 20 minute drive from Montepulciano so it is definitely worth a visit. We fell in love with this UNESCO-recognized town, partly due to its refined charm. The town is a cosy little spot that literally has a linger of pecorino cheese in the air. We visited the town early in the morning, strolled around and ate breakfast before our baby’s nap time, who later fell asleep in the car as we drove to visit another town nearby. Pienza is also located in Val d’Orcia, that is known as a picturesque Renaissance town that has been influenced by Pope Pius II, as it was his home town. By the main square there is a cosy little cafe that serves the most airy apricots croissants and a frothy cappuccino. Right across the cafe is a cheese shop (that you will find all over town), where you can by the most glorious aged pecorino that we sampled with our croissants. It was the most perfect morning with my boys, we sat and sipped on our coffee and watched locals open their boutiques as the day began. Walk around the edge of the town and overlook the views into the Tuscany countryside. If you are here in the evening, I would recommend to stop for a glass of wine as the sun begins to set overlooking the hills while sampling on cheese and honey.
Another wine lovers town- Montalcino
Another Mecca for wine lovers, this medieval town is world-famous for its renowned red wine, the Brunello di Montalcino, which is considered the absolute Italian wine in Tuscany. The wine ages for at least 2 years in oak barrels, and then it ages for at least 4 months in the bottle and it tastes earth and deep, rich with flavour. A 45 minute drive from Montepulciano, we loved this town; the antiquee stores, the delicious food (and wine) and atmosphere it offers. We had an amazing tartar lunch and hearty pasta and sampled on stunning red wines as we explored the town. A stroll through Montalcino reveals enchanting historical attractions, small churches and picturesque squares. With church bells ringing in the backdrop as we sample on deep ruby coloured Brunello di Montalcino. It is completed according to the strictest DOCG rules and is made with a single type of grape, the Sangiovese Grosso grape. The town is best explored by roaming without a plan and makes an ideal spot to visit for lunch.