Montalcino Tuscany
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Montalcino: why you will love this stunning Tuscany hilltop town

All you need to know to plan a visit to Montalcino, historical town in Tuscany famous for medieval charm, stunning views and world famous wine.

Montalcino is a beautiful historical town perched in a hilltop in Tuscany, Italy.

The town is known for the production of delicious wine, the famous Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino, and is a lovely destination for a day out in Tuscany.

Montalcino has much to offer its visitors: a beautiful medieval center, stunning views over the surrounding countryside and wonderful food and wine are just the start of it.

This is our guide to the best things to do in Montalcino, Tuscany.

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Why visit Montalcino

Montalcino is a small hilltop village known around the world for the production of two very famous wines: Rosso di Montalcino (Montalcino red) and Brunello di Montalcino, both made in the area.

This wine vocation means Montalcino is a must-see destination for wine lovers however, there is more to the town than wine and a visit to this lovely village is a bit of a treat also for alcohol-free visitors and families.

Montalcino has a lovely historical center and beautiful views and makes for a lovely town to visit for a day or also as a base for exploring the area.

Good to know: Montalcino is pretty steep! Good walking shoes are a must.

The best things to do in Montalcino, Tuscany

Admire Montalcino’s Rocca (the Fortress)

Montalcino’s skyline is dominated by the village’s fortress, perched at the very top of the hill hosting the town.

Montalcino fortress

The fortress was built in 1361, when Montalcino passed under the domination of nearby Siena and still is a powerful sight.

Tall walls and turrets are still standing and largely retain the appearance they had at the time of their construction.

When we visited last, the fortress was under repair however, in normal times the fortress is one of the locations of the Montalcino wine and jazz festival that happens in the town every summer.

Even without events, do walk in if you can: the structure is powerful and there is a wine shop inside too!

Soak in the atmosphere of Montalcino’s main piazza

Downhill from the fortress you will find one of the most beautiful spots in Montalcino, the main square.

Main piazza Montalcino Tuscany

The piazza has all a Medieval / Renaissance piazza has to offer: large spaces for crowds to gather and trade deals to be agreed, a wonderful palazzo with a tower reminiscent of that of Palazzo Vecchio in Siena and a plethora of cafes and shops selling from souvenirs, to snacks and wine.

In summer, the piazza becomes a wonderful open air space for jazz concerts and wine sipping: magical!

Get lost in Montalcino’s narrow alleys

Montalcino develops on the slope of a steep hill criss-crossed by meandering alleys, streets and stair passageways.

Street in Montalcino

The streets here are gorgeous.

Mostly closed to car traffic, they are an extravaganza of flowery balconies, patios and small yards and they more than occasionally open up offering sweeping views of Val d’Orcia and the many Montalcino wineries below.

There is no right or wrong way to visit Montalcino: following your instinct is all you need to do, you will not be disappointed!

Walk to Montalcino’s Duomo

In a privileged location in the higher part of the city stands Montalcino’s duomo.

Built between 1818 and 1832, it is rather recent however, it is made in the same type of stone as the rest of the city and it is a pleasant site.

It faces a lovely small green area with fantastic panoramic views and mostly because of this location, it makes our list of the best things to see in Montalcino.

See Montalcino’s churches

As well as the duomo, Montalcino is home to several ancient churches, some in beautiful Romanesque style, reminiscent of churches found in delightful San Quirico, nearby.

Some worth a mention are Sant’Egidio, San Francesco and Sant’Agostino.

Buy wine

Montalcino is famous for its world-praised red wines: Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello (learn the difference here).

Inner yard with barrels for wine tasting in Montalcino

The city is full of wine shops and opportunities for winery visits about.

If you love wine, this is a special place to be as the level of wine knowledge, passion and quality is exceptional but even if you don’t drink, you may find the sheer pride and interest in wine making will make you love this town.

Also, Montalcino wine makes a lovely present for Italian food lovers!

Take part in the Montalcino wine and jazz festival

Every July, the town of Montalcino hosts the Wine and Jazz Festival, a wonderful series of events mixing local wine culture and jazz performances.

The festival is popular and wonderful.

When we visited, the main square was transformed in a performance space with live music and outdoor chairs and tables where you could listen to music performances while savoring local delicacies in the delightful Tuscan summer nights.

Not to be missed!

If you are coming to Montalcino for the festival, I highly recommend you get accommodation in town so you don’t have to worry about the drive back home.

Drogheria e Locanda Franci and Albergo il Giglio are two good addresses.

Practical tips for visiting Montalcino

Montalcino is a hilltop town still surrounded by its medieval walls and as such it is best reached by car and then discovered on foot.

Parking is available in several locations outside the walls, some pay and display, some free.

Please be advised that some parking places are pretty steep to reach: make sure you car is up for it, if going for one of those!

We found the parking at the fortress to be the easiest to access and also the best in terms of access to the rest of the city.

In terms of mobility, Montalcino is one of the steepest towns in the area and I highly recommend you bring good walking shoes.

steep, cobbled street in Montalcino, Tuscany

The main part of the town around the piazza posed little to no issues to any sort of walkers however, you may want to avoid bringing a stroller if you are coming to Montalcino with kids and cobbles and steps are frequent.

We visited Montalcino with our kids and they liked it however, we couldn’t find a good playground for them so while we do recommend visiting, this wouldn’t be our first choice as a base to visit Tuscany with kids.

Best day tours to Montalcino

Several nice day trips are available in the area of Montalcino. here are some to consider

Brunello di Montalcino wine tasting and lunch in Tuscan castle

Brunello di Montalcino day tour from Siena by Mini Van

If you have your own car, you can easily plan a day in Montalcino and also visit some of the pretty towns in the area such as Montepulciano, San Quirico or Pienza.

I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to Montalcino, Tuscany, and it inspired you to go!

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Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.