Montepulciano

Tuscany, Italy

Everyone wants to go to Tuscany, Italy. It is home to the greatest Italian wines, great food and majestic cities. Great cities like Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona and Montepulciano are located here. The road system is a good one with Italy’s main Autostrada, the A1, cutting through its center. The A1 can take you out of Tuscany north to Milan or south to Rome and Naples.

A drive along the A1 reveals hill-top cities everywhere. I just want to exit the highway and find my way up to a new small city on a hill-top. Come walk with us through some of Tuscany’s major cities and some fun ones. What ever your plans  are: wine, food, old cities, museums, architecture or sheer beauty, it can be found here.

Click on the YouTube link below to visit Tuscany and some of its cities …

– George

Categories: BLOG, Chianti, Cortona, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Museums, Regions of Italy, Romance, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuscany & Umbria Fun

In 2015 we took a week-long trip through some interesting cities of Tuscany and Umbria. This is a hilly area of Italy and the cities are hill towns with narrow streets and lots of stairs. It is Italy and the friendliness of the people and quality of the food and wine comes through.

The video below is an introduction to my Italian city videos.

 

Our trip was several weeks long but the first week was in Tuscany/Umbria and the rest was at our home in southern Campania. We flew into the Rome airport, Fiumicino, and rented a car.  Our itinerary was:

  1. Perugia – Chocolates – See are YouTube Video below
  2. Assisi – Home of Saint Francis – See are YouTube Video below
  3. Cortona – Home of Under the Tuscan Sun – See are YouTube Video below
  4. Montepulciano – The famous wine city – See are YouTube Video below
  5. Siena – Home of the famous Horse Race Il Palio – YouTube video coming soon
  6. San Gimignano – My favorite city anywhere – YouTube video coming soon
  7. Florence – Home of Italian art – See are YouTube Video below

There are so many more cities in this area worth seeing but we were limited to a week and wanted to spend time in Florence.

Perugia

This is home to the famous Italian chocolate Perugina. It is owned by Nestle now but in Italy it is made the original way with not as much sugar. The American version is sold with much more sugar. This small town has an old city center with very narrow streets that barely fit a car. See the video below for how narrow these streets actually are. As in most Italian towns, life takes place outside. Piazzas are places to sit at a bar or restaurant outside and enjoy and observe life around you.

Assisi

Assisi is a small hill town in Umbria that was home to Saint Francis and the Franciscan Monks. It is above all else an Italian city. The food and wine are great. Eating is done outside in piazzas and narrow streets. In our video we caught an Italian wedding as we were seated outside at a restaurant. You never know what will happen next but it will be fun and interesting.

Cortona

OK, we all know Cortona from the book and movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances Mayes made this small town popular to tourists from all over the world. The city is high on a hill in Tuscany overlooking Lake Trasimeno. Frances Mayes has her real home here as well as Bramasole, the home used in the movie. Walk with us through this wonderful city in our YouTube video.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a famous Italian red wine city (by the same name). Here you can walk a wonderful hill-top city and drink this and other great Tuscan wines. We stayed at a great hotel outside the city called Borgo San Pietro Hotel Cortona. You can see this city and the hotel in the YouTube video.

Siena

This video will be available on YouTube on Monday January 30th. This is a larger city with a great old center that has a huge piazza that is used twice a year (on July 2 and August 16)  run a famous Italian horse race, il palio. People crowd into the center of the piazza and horses race around them. Mud flies and everyone has a fun time. Outside race times the piazza is a place to meet friends and family and sit and relax in the sun. The border of this piazza is loaded with bars and restaurants. The food is good but they are very touristy which means high prices.

San Gimignano

This video will be available on YouTube on a Monday two weeks after the above Siena video. San Gimignano is by far my favorite city anywhere. It is a walled hill city with two main gates. It has been preserved in time from its medieval beginnings. You will notice The famous town homes that help protect families from invaders. In medieval times there were 72 of these homes measuring as tall as 70 meters (230 feet). Today there are only 14 surviving towers. Tourists have found this city and with tourists came tourists stores like Gucci but it is a great town to walk. Get off the main two streets and see the real town.

Florence

Florence was the center of the renaissance and brought art, style, architecture and culture to medieval Italy. Books have been written about Florence. It is a very large city and one of Italy’s main cities. You come here for food, wine, views and art. In our YouTube video we walk around Florence and show you great museums like the Uffizi. Florence has something for everyone. Spend some time here and get to know the city and the people.

Enjoy your travels and enjoy your life…

– George

Categories: Architecture, Assisi, Bars, Cortona, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Enoteca, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lakes of Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Ristorante, Romance, Saint Francis, Saint Peter's Basilica, San Gimignano, Siena, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Uffizi, Umbria, Under the Tuscan Sun, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Montepulciano, Italy

Montepulciano is music to the ears of wine drinkers. I know it is music to my ears. It is a hardy great Italian red wine named after this small mountain town. In this town and the surrounding area you can taste and purchase great Montepulciano wines. Tuscany is a fantastic wine-producing region of Italy. It has become world-renowned for great red wines. Walk around Montepulciano and stop in an enotecca to taste the wine.   Maybe stop at a bar for something to eat and some wine. You may be rewarded by a medieval parade as we were (see video below).

Watch our VLOG video on YouTube (Below) and walk this small mountain town with us. If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, stop by here and enjoy Italian life in a small town.

The streets are small and narrow and there are stairs but this is a great town. We stopped at a bar in the main piazza and had something to eat and some wine. Sit and watch Italian life all around you. OK there are also tourists. Just erase them from your mind’s eye and focus on the locals. They are the well dressed people speaking Italian.

We wandered all over this town and in the very back corner found a wonderful small shop that sold a man’s art works. We met him, spoke for an hour and bought one of his paintings for our place in Italy. He is in our video above. Look at his smile. These people are very happy and live a good life. Maybe it’s the wine … who knows?

Montepulciano is near Perugia, Assisi, Cortona, Siena and Florence. Include it in your Tuscany vacation. You do not have to be a wine drinker to enjoy this romantic city.

I truly wish that all of you could visit this town in real. If you can not, visit it with us in our videos on YouTube (above). If you enjoy the video, please like it and subscribe to our channel.

Visit small and large Italian cities with us in our videos on YouTube. Our Italian series has many great Italian cities to see.

– George

Categories: Assisi, BLOG, Cortona, Eating, Eating Italian, Enoteca, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Perugia, Romance, Siena, Small Towns, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wine in Italy

Italy is famous for its great wines.You can get very good wines in every region of Italy. Many are exported around the world. We know many of the more famous wines like Chianti, Brunelli, Barolo, Super Tuscany, Montepulciano, etc. These are very good and many are expensive. Italians love their wines. They have solved the problem of expensive wines or everyday use. What makes a wine expensive? The bottle, label, cork, foil and the wine itself. Suppose we bought just the wine! In Italy you can do this at most restaurants but also in bulk wine stores for home use.

These stores allow you to choose from several different whites and reds. They range from sweet to dry. You bring a bottle, carafe or even an empty water bottle and fill it. You can usually taste the ones before you buy them. In our area in southern Campania the bulk wine is sold for 2 Euros per liter. That is about $2,20 for a bottle and a third of wine. Not bad!

These stores are knowledgeable about wines and the local varieties that they sell. When we arrive at our Villa Velina we do several things. One is to stop at the wine store with an empty liter water bottle (or two) and buy some wine. I wish this was available in America.

Here is to wine and Italian ingenuity.

George

 

Categories: Chianti, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Montepulciano, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some of Our Best Memories

We have assembled pictures of some of our best memories in Italy. Italy is always romantic and it is always memorable. There are so many special little moments. The architecture, the sites, the history, the people, the food, the wine, … and so much more.

Enjoy your trip to see relatives, sites, museums or to just be Italian for a short while.

Dolce far niente!

George & Jo

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Coliseum, cornetto, Dolce, Dolce far niente, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Paestum, Panini, Pantheon, Pastry, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Positano, Ravello, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Montepulciano Pictorial

Montepulciano is another mountain town known for its wine and grape named the same. It is a medieval and Renaissance hill town in the province of Siena, region of Tuscany. It has a population of only 14,000 people. The montepulciano grape is well-known worldwide. It produces one of Italy’s best wines.

This is a town of small streets and stairs like all of Italy’s hill towns. You can find many enoteca to taste its great wines.The word enoteca means wine repository.It is a type of wine store that originated in Italy. You can buy wines but also taste them. Some  even have small plates of food.

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Wonderful small streets

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Enoteca

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Inside enoteca at a tasting

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Unfinished church (no facade) in piazza

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Lunch outside at a small trattoria

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Ancient gate in original wall

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Small street

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Stairs

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Some of that famous wine

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Famous Tuscan crostini

Like all the small hill towns we have visited, Montepulciano is wonderful and very romantic. There are several parking lots outside the town that are numbered. Get lost and ask the way to your parking area number. Montepulciano is very near to Siena, our next stop.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Driving in Italy, Eating Italian, Enoteca, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Parking Garage, Siena, Small Towns, Trottoria, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cortona Pictorial

We drove from Assisi to Cortona. Cortona was made famous by Frances Mayes and her book and movie Under the Tuscan Sun. Cortona is in the Province of Arezzo, region of Tuscany.There are 23,000 people there. It is a mountain town like so many small towns in Italy. Another town of small streets and many stairs.

The house that was in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun is there as well as the real house of Frances Mayes.

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Our wonderful small hotel outside Cortona

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Yes there are stairs

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Looking into the Main piazza

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The main piazza and church

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The church steps where the Christmas scene took place in the movie

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As we were having a glass of wine at an outdoor bar, we heard music

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Suddenly a medieval band appeared

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The King and Queen

Cortona is fun and alive. The small streets can get crowded as there are many tourists. Stop near the main piazza at a bar and have a drink or lunch and sit outside. You will feel the life of Cortona as it passes by. You may be as lucky as we were and see a medieval band march by.

Come for the romance, the food, the wine and the people. This is Tuscan wine country. It is not only Chianti but Montepulciano and Brunello. Stop at an enoteca (wine tasting) and try some Tuscan wines.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chianti, Cortona, Driving in Italy, Enoteca, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Romance, Small Towns, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tuscany Wine Tasting

OK you know we love wine. George has enjoyed and collected the great French first growths and has sampled local wines all over Europe. Wine is a living thing and like our children, we never know how they will turn out. All you can do is raise them properly and give them love. Most of the time the wines turns our great but every once in a while you get a bad bottle. In Italy I find the local non bottled wines are very good. We have enjoyed many a meal with a half or full liter of wine. Italy also makes some great wines. Tuscany is most well-known in America for wines like Chianti, Barolo and Brunello. Brunello may be Italy’s best wine. It is expensive here but it is one of the great wines of the world.

The famous wines come from regions in Tuscany with one city at the center:

  1. Chianti – This area is not a town but a wine growing region. It is near Sienna and San Gimignano.
  2. Montalcino – This is a city famous for Italy’s great Brunello wine. It is located about one hour south of Siena. It is a mountain town that is fun to visit. Brunei flows here like water.
  3. Montepulciano – This mountain town is known for the great Montepulciano wines. It is located about one hour south-east of Siena and about one hour East of Montalcino.

Wine tours in Tuscany lists 26 one day tours you can take. Wine is a staple of life in Europe. Children taste it and adults drink it at most meals. Enjoy your food with wine. Sip it and watch the locals go by. Life is slower in Italy. It’s about people, food, wine and of course love and romance.  My only rule in Italy is to taste the local unbolted wines where ever I am. If I am in Tuscany I taste the Tuscan great wines. A great place to taste various local wines is in a local Enoteca. These are small wine tasting places that may have small plates of food as well. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chianti, Driving in Italy, Enoteca, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Romance, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wine in Montepulciano

Montepulciano is known for its wine. You can find many different bottles with the Montepulciano name. It is a full bodied dry red wine. In this city there are many enotecas to taste the wine. Again this is a small mountain town high on a hill. You park in lots on the edge of town and walk in. The streets are, you guessed it, narrow and many turn into stairs. This is the nature of a hill town.

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Wine Tasting Room

The streets and the piazza are medieval. They are best enjoyed by walking around them and stopping at a bar or ristorante to watch the people. Montepulciano is near Siena, our next stop for two nights.

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George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Enoteca, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Romance, Siena, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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