Montepulciano is the quintessential Tuscan town… narrow streets your car barely fits through, great wine everywhere you go, and beautiful sunsets. We used Montepulciano as our “home base” for our Tuscan day trips since it was never more than an hour and a half from everywhere we wanted to visit (more on that later!). Even if you aren’t planning any day trips, this is the perfect place to stay for a quiet, relaxing Tuscan experience.
Montepulciano doesn’t offer very much as far as activities go, but the church is worth exploring. The church is still unfinished on the outside. It has a brick exterior, but the marble facade was never installed. Other than the church and square, there are some small shops. Don’t miss your chance to buy locally made olive oil!
Where to Stay
La Locanda di San Francesco is a bed and breakfast in Montepulciano that only has four rooms! It’s located at the end of a dead-end street right across from the city’s best viewpoint, and to make things even better, it’s attached to an amazing wine bar! The owner of the bed and breakfast also owns the wine bar, and she is the friendliest person! One of my favorite things about La Locanda di San Francesco is their wine selection, and that they will ship whatever you buy back to the States! The only negative we experienced here was how difficult it was to find it. GPS doesn’t take you to the right place so you have to rely on written directions that they email you. Even with the written directions, we still got lost several times, but we finally made it!
Where to Eat
Osteria del Conti is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves fresh, homemade pastas and traditional Tuscan cuisine. The weather was perfect so we ate outside on the small patio. For an appetizer, we tried grilled pecorino cheese with prosciutto. I can’t get over how good the cheese was in Italy! We each had the tagliatelle pasta with a wild boar ragu. The fresh pasta was perfect, and I was pleasantly surprised by the sauce. I expected it to taste very “gamey,” but it didn’t. This was one of our favorite finds in Montepulciano!
Osteria Acquacheta is a must-do in Montepulciano! We had the BEST Florentine steak here! The steak is what they’re known for, and it’s pretty much all they serve. There are no individual tables in this extremely crowded restaurant so be prepared to sit very closely to strangers! The kitchen is open so you can see them butchering the meat and preparing your meal. When you place your order for the steak, the owner comes around with the meat he has just cut so you can choose which size you want. Definitely plan to share because all of the steaks are huge. We ordered some pici to share as well. Pici is the regional pasta made simply from flour and water, and we loved it! The steak is only prepared rare (as is all Florentine steaks), and it was delicious!
Osteria del Borgo is a restaurant we chose mainly for the view. They have a small outdoor terrace that overlooks the rolling hills. We shared a potato and cauliflower flan with pecorino fondu. I ordered fresh tagliatelle pasta with wild rabbit and porcini mushrooms, and Matt had pici with ragu. Both pastas were hearty and definitely hit the spot after a long day of sightseeing!
La Locanda Del Cardinale was a last minute decision on our part. We didn’t have any plans for dinner so we wanted to go back to Osteria del Conte, but it turns out they were closed that night! Walking back to our hotel, we stumbled on this place next door, and it had an outdoor courtyard that looked perfect for dinner. Unfortunately, this restaurant did not live up to our expectations. Our food wasn’t very good, the eggplant wasn’t prepared correctly, and we were served the wrong drinks. We shared stuffed eggplant for an appetizer, and we ordered lasagna and tagliatelle with zucchini pesto. Matt also ordered lamb with mashed potatoes, but overall everything was underwhelming.
Caffe Poliziano is a historical cafe in Montepulciano with wonderful terrace seating. Grab an afternoon coffee or wine and enjoy the view!
While Montepulciano might not be on your top 3 must-see list, it was one of our favorites. It’s nice to relax and get away from the busy atmosphere of the city. If you’re wanting to take some time to explore Tuscany, there’s no better place to stay than Montepulciano!