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Lizzie's Guide to Montalcino, Italy

We traveled to Montalcino (a beautiful, historic, hilltop town in the province of Siena) for my father-in-law's 75th Birthday & stayed in a villa with lots of friends & family.

(above: Our villa in Montalcino)

We flew into Rome and drove the 2 and a half hours North, with a pit stop in Porto Ercole. The charming coastal port town is about halfway on the picturesque drive, and is a great coffee and croissant stop assuming you landed early in Rome following an overnight flight.

In Porto Ercole:

Grab a cappuccino at the elegant, nautically-themed harbor restaurant Bar del Porto

(above: Bar del Porto in Porto Ercole; I love the nautical interiors with lots of brass details)

Kick off your souvenir shopping at Good Harbour Store; we found beautiful Italian-made linen for us, and the little ones!

Montalcino is a charming hillside town famous for its wine that is famous for it's wine, especially its Brunello production. Vineyards, wine shops, and good foods abound:


 (above: a picturesque tiny street in Montalcino & the necklaces I wore)

For exquisite views of the hillsides patchworked with vineyards, make a reservation on the beautiful patio at Boccon diVino (and don't miss the Tuscan tomato soup)

For a delicious, fairly priced meal in a traditional Italian square (complete with a church bell that tolls every half hour) try Trattoria Il Leccio

Wanting something more casual? Head to La Sosta wine bar within the walls of Montalcino's old city. The food doesn't miss and there's a wine shop next door (with a huge Bio selection) so you can purchase whatever you fall in love with from your meal

For the full wine pairing and multiple course experience go to La Taverna at Castello Banfi: Immaculately presented food and wine on a pristine property (including a small relais with rooms)


Montalcino's central Tuscan location also make it an ideal base for visiting some of the region's best highlights:

Get your land art fill in Capalbio, which houses Niki de Saint Phalle's famous sculpture park "The Tarot Garden" (check our post out here!)  about an hour South.

Discover Pecorino Cheese in Pienza, which sits about 45 minutes from Montalcino. Walk around the town's ancient streets & grab a gelato at Buon Gusto Gelateria.

Stop for lunch at Osteria La Porta in the tiny, pictureseque hillside village of Montecielo just a few minutes down the road.


(above: in Pienza, shops selling Pecorino cheese (their famous specialty) line the streets!  & Peter and me outside lunch at Osteria La Porto in Montecielo)

"Trek an hour North to Siena: the medieval city known for the  Palio di Siena (The famed bi-annual horse race between the town's districts called "contrade"), it’s beautiful, locally-made ceramics and romantic 14th century architecture.

In Siena:

Beautiful ceramics abound; I brought home plates painted with the famous motifs representing each contrade at Ceramar di Roberto Mariotti on Via di Citta

In the mood for vintage shopping? Aloe & Wolf stocks hard-to-find-pieces from Versace, Celine, Yves Saint Laurent, and the like. I scored a jacket crafted from Southern Italian lace

If all that shopping makes you hungry, you'll find a beautifully appointed restaurant Osteria Le Logge  next door, complete with lovely outdoor seating and huge umbrellas

In the mood for a more casual bite? Try the hole-in-the-wall Osteria il Grattacielo which has been there since 1840, and serves meats, cheeses, and a pasta of the day.


(above: plates featuring motifs that represent Siena's "contrades" that I purchased at Creamer di Roberto Mariotti & the earrings I brought along)



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