The small town of Montalcino makes a delightful centre from which to explore this beautiful region of Tuscany. Known for its olive oil, honey and red wine called ‘Brunello di Montalcino’, the town is surrounded by vineyards. The area is also famed for its cuisine, served at small local trattorias or in gourmet restaurants on the vineyard estates. The great abbey of Monte Olivetto Maggiore is surrounded by the three hill towns of Montalcino, Montepulciano and Pienza which are all delightful to explore. Siena and Florence are also within easy reach by car or train from your self catering villa.
Touring a vineyard and seeing the wine making process is a must at any time of year. Tours usually end with a wine tasting so you can try before you buy! Famous for its red wines as long ago as the 15th century, the local Brunello wine must be aged for at least 5 years in oak caskets before being sold.
The small market town of Buonconvento is just a short distance from your self catering villa and provides good shops, restaurants and a weekly market on Saturdays. Visit the art gallery near the Town Hall and explore the ancient streets of this Medieval walled town.
The historic town of Siena is just 51km north of your self catering villa in Montalcino. Its fine architecture includes the magnificent Duomo or Cathedral. The beautiful Town Square is famous for the Palio Horse Races which takes place on July 2nd and August 16th and are an exciting cultural pageant.
No visit to Tuscany is complete without a visit to beautiful Florence. It is 139km from Montalcino and can easily be reached by car or by train. Known for its exceptional art and architecture, the Duomo has the largest brick-built dome in the world, even after 600 years! The campanile (bell tower) and the baptistery buildings nearby are both quite beautiful works of architecture. Take a stroll across the River Arno on the famous Ponte Vecchio which is lined with shops.
Abbey of Monte Olivetto Maggiore - This beautiful abbey is set in the ‘Badlands’ of Crete Senesi, close to your self catering villa in Montalcino. The extensive monastery and the beautiful Abbey Church of St Antimo date back to 1393 but have been continually modified since. There is a quaint stone tower and a drawbridge leading into the Abbey courtyard. Note the botanical garden where the monks grew medicinal plants and herbs.
Winters are mild and summers are dry and sunny in Montalcino, which is why holiday villa accommodation in Tuscany is so popular. From April to the end of October average temperatures range from 19-32C (66-89F).
Your villa in Montalcino is 105km from the main International airport at Florence. There are plenty of cheap flights daily to Florence from all over Europe.