Montepulciano, Italy

True beauty is on the outside and in; driving up to Montepulciano in the Val d’Orcia, the small town appears as a picturesque hilltop idyll, but once you enter the Porta al Prato, you’ll find more manmade than natural wonders on the cobbled streets. Follow the winding stone alleyways up to the Piazza Grande to discover grand noble palaces, Michelozzo’s crenulated town hall and the Duomo, still unfinished (400 years on). When the midday sun gets too hot, retreat into one of the many subterranean wine cellars full of barrels of Montepulciano’s famous vino; all in the name of sightseeing, after all…

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When to go

Tuscany is at its hottest in July and August, when temperatures reach highs of up to 30°C. The good weather attracts tourists, so for a cooler (and slightly less crowded) stay, book for May, June, September or October. Visit at the end of August to witness the Bravio delle Botti festival.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Aeroporto di Firenze (www.aeroporto.firenze.it) is the closest airport at just under 90 minutes’ drive away. Flights arrive here from destinations all over Europe. International travellers should fly to Fiumicino airport in Rome (www.adr.it/fiumicino), a two-hour drive south of Montepulciano.
  • Trains

    Montepulciano Stazione is a 15-minute drive east of the city centre. Regular TrenItalia trains connect Montepulciano with nearby cities including Florence, Rome and Milan.
  • Automobiles

    Whether it be a four-wheeled car or two-wheeled moped, your own set of wheels will prove very useful when navigating this rural town. There are Avis (www.avis.com) car hire booths at both Florence and Rome airport.