From Rome your driver will bring you through the beautiful Tuscan countryside south of Siena for a splendid day of sightseeing and wine tasting. After passing Siena, you will continue through the “Crete Senesi” to the important wine town of Montalcino. The scenery is breathtaking here - cypress trees, fields and livestock, with the extraordinary combinations of green, grey and brown landscapes. The famous “Brunello wine is produced here using Sangiovese grapes. Every activity in this town revolves around wine production and rightly so.
The Brunello wine is one of the finest and most prestigious wines produced in the whole world. From the towers of Montalcino’s large fortress there is a splendid view of the surrounding Orcia and Arbia valleys, and beyond southern Tuscany, you can catch a glimpse of the beginning of the region of Latium. In this area there are many important archeological finds that made it possible to trace a map of the Etruscan and Roman settlements. You will see the Piazza del Popolo in the middle of the town, and nearby the Palazzo dei Priori which is from the 1300’s. If you like wine, a stop must be made at the castle for a taste of the amazing Brunello wine!
Only a short car ride away, our next stop is the town of Pienza. This charming Tuscan town is recognized by the organization of UNESCO as having a world famous cultural and natural patrimony. The history of Pienza is tied to that of Pope Pio II born in Pienza the 18th of October 1405 with the name of Enea Silvio Piccolomini. He was a great Humanist and wanted to transform the town of his birth from a small medieval hamlet into a Renaissance style papal residence. Pienza was then called Corsignano after the ancient castle here since 828. The original project was designed by Bernardo Gambarelli, more famously known as “Rossellino”, who was a student of Leon Battista Alberti. The construction lasted for a little over three years and were consecrated by Pio II for the feast day of San Giovanni Battista on August 29, 1462 and finally given the name “Pienza”. Many of the palaces that you see today in Pienza are from this period. Neither Pio II or Rossellino were able to enjoy their work for long. By a very strange destiny, both died within two months of each other in 1464. There is a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside from the top of its hilltop location. From here you can admire an unforgettable view of the Val D’Orcia. The town’s main square is named after Pio II and is the center of the town. This trapezoid shaped piazza can be seen in the film “Romeo and Juliet” by Franco Zeffirelli. In Piazza Pio II you will see the Duomo, Piccolomini Palace and the church dedicated to Saint Francis. The streets in Pienza have curious names such as “Via dell’Amore, del Bacio, della Fortuna”, Street of Love, of the Kiss, of Luck. You will enjoy shopping here. The streets are lined with all kinds of shops selling local crafts and regional specialties such as the delicious “pecorino di Pienza” and wines, and many shops are willing to give out some samples of their fare to taste.
Your next stop will be Montepulciano. Situated in one of the most breathtaking areas of Tuscany, this interesting wine town is built entirely on volcanic rock and stands about 600 meters above sea level. Like many towns in Tuscany, Montepulciano has Etruscan origins, but the first document mentioning its name comes from the year 715 and calls Montepulciano “Mons Politianus”, that is “Mount of the Nobles”. It seems probable that the town was therefore founded by a group of nobles perhaps from Chiusi who came here to escape invasions from Barbarians. Montepulciano is surrounded by walls and fortifications designed by Antonio da Sangallo in 1500 by orders of Cosimo I.
Today Montepulciano is known for its very impressive Renaissance buildings, its beautiful churches and especially for its “Vino Nobile” (noble wine), one of the most distinguished of Italian wines in the world. While here you should try one of the local specialties accompanied by a glass of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano!
There is plenty of sightseeing in Montepulciano and the cathedral is well worth a visit. The cathedral or “Duomo” was built between 1592 and 1630 and designed by Ippolito Scalza on the site of the older “Pieve di Santa Maria”. The façade and also a portion of the bell tower from the older church, is still unfinished. Inside, you can see works by Michelozzo, Andrea della Robbia, Benedetta da Maiano, and Andrea del Sarto. Other buildings of interest are the Palazzo Comunale, the temple of the Madonna of San Biagio, and the church dedicated to Saint Augustine. Angelo Ambrogini was born in Montepulciano. He was commonly called the “Poliziano”, which is the name given to the inhabitants of Montepulciano.
Soon, arms laden with your purchases, your driver will accompany you back to your car for the ride home. The landscape you enjoy during your drive will remain with you for the rest of your lives - the peaceful, green hills, clay fields, vineyards, and pastureland - all which is Tuscany. less >>
The proposed itineraries are only examples of possible tours. For different pick up / drop off locations or customized itineraries we invite our clients to contact one of our tour coordinators to help them design their own tour.