Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019

town with no flat street - montepulciano

Posted by Hippobean at 11:39 PM

a bit chilly in the morning. Breakfast was on the hotel terrace overlooking the Val d’Orcia. it looked like a white lake with monte Amiata peeking out from it. The white lake turned out to be the morning fog over the valley. a bit later, the fog cleared and we could see Amiata in full glory. Breakfast at the chiostro di Pienza hotel was good. Good fresh bread, great variety of very good cakes and muffins, different cold cuts, boiled eggs, juices and real americano, not from the machine.

Today we headed downhill from pienza on the strade bianche, the white gravel road towards the village of Monticchiello. The hike was gorgeous passing chianti vineyards and the famous cypress tree avenues on the valley of d’Orcia. This was the most beautiful hike on this trip. We had views of San Quirico, Monticchiello and Montepulciano on the hills along our hike. We reached the hilltop fortified village of Monticchiello, an unspoiled gem in tuscany. Right before entering the Porta Sant'Agata into town, a stone gate with towers, there's a belvedere with lovely views of the Montepulciano on a hill and Val d’Orcia countryside. Beautiful and clear this morning. No tourists and the village was quiet, perfect to explore the cobble stoned streets flanked by ancient brick buildings. the terraces and outdoor stairwells were filled with blooming flowers. Very pretty village. The 13th cen. Pieve dei Santi Leonardo e Cristoforo a Monticchiello church had some well preserved frescoes inside but the façade was unimposing.

We had a picnic lunch at a vineyard among the vines and with a direct magnificent view of the hilltop town of Montepulciano, our final destination. Frederica surely knew how to do picnic lunches. Good local focaccia and sliced bread, a variety of cheeses, tomatoes, different kinds of prosciutto cotto, salamy, carrots and even cookies for dessert. All for only 3 euros each.

After our satisfying lunch and glorious views, we headed uphill to the hilltop town. After passing an avenue of cypresses, the Renaissance temple of San Biagio came into view. From there, it's all uphill to Montepulciano. at 605m high, perched in a limestone ridge, montepulciano was encircled by renaissance walls and fortifications. once we've crossed the Porta delle Farine into the town, nothing here was flat. Only the Piazza Grande which was the heart of town. From the square, every street was a downhill . Inside la Mura della Fortezza, the wine shop had glass floors that showed the archaeological artifacts below the ground and there were some dry wells below and standing on the glass floor looking straight down the well was quite eerie. many churches in the town, and the Via di Voltaia Nel Corso, the main drag, had great shops and cafes and many more churches. Again, not enough time to do the whole main drag any justice, and had to walk uphill back to the piazza Grande. We took a local bus back to pienza.

For dinner that night, i went back to la Buca de Fate and had gnocchi with wild boar sauce. The gnocchi was in thick squares, not at all like the ones we had at home. But the sauce was good. The hike today was quite tiring. Hiking up to montepulciano was an absolute killer.

Monticchiello photos:

Montepulciano photos:



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