Yet Another Tuscany Question

Old Aug 1st, 2022, 02:05 PM
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Yet Another Tuscany Question

My husband and I will be in Rome for 4 days and then Tuscany with another couple for 3 days, staying about a 30 minute drive from San Gimignano. We will have a rental car. Our time is limited, so the question is how best to spend it. So far, we plan to spend part/most of one day in San Gimignano, stopping at a winery for a tour and tasting en route back to our hotel.
The next day, we are thinking of exploring Siena (though the other couple already has been there) or Montalcino.
The third day, Volterra.

However, we are very open to suggestions from experienced Italy travelers on this board. Also, if you have suggestions for lunch spots or wineries, etc in either the towns I mentioned or ones you recommend, I would welcome them.

Thank you in advance.



















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Old Aug 1st, 2022, 04:32 PM
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It sounds like you have a good plan. We have stayed in the Chianti villages many times. The road from Siena to Florence is historic.
You may want to visit some of them as they are nearby to Siena- Radda, Castellina, Panzano to name a few.
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Old Aug 1st, 2022, 06:46 PM
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30 minutes in what direction from San Gimignano?

Unless you're staying between SG and Siena and/or very close to SR2, Montalcino may be a bit too far for a day trip. If you're driving from Rome to your base near SG, you could stop at Montalcino or Siena on your way. It would be a long day, though. Otherwise, how were you getting there?

If you're staying N, NE or E of SG, you could make better use of your time exploring the Chianti towns. I second the ones mentioned by HappyTrvlr. I would try to drive as much of SR222 as possible and go as far north as Greve, perhaps driving a different route back.

Are you familiar with the limited traffic zones in Italian cities? You need to be on the look-out for signs so that you avoid driving into the zones during prohibited hours. .GPS on your phone or in the car will not warn you. You need to park outside the historical center of a town and walk in/out. Parking lots are well signed.

https://www.autoeurope.co.uk/travel-...to-avoid-them/

FWIW, with limited time, I wouldn't spend an entire day in SG. That's just me. It's a lovely town, but there are dozens and dozens of lovely towns, many attracting smaller crowds. Without knowing exactly where you're staying, it's hard to suggest another thing/things you could pair with SG, but if you want to do something other than see another town, there is a 'wilderness' park about 30 minutes SE of SG with a beautiful 2-3 mile trail following the Elsa River.

https://www.visitcolledivaldelsa.com...l-sentierelsa/

FWIW#2, although visiting a Tuscan winery might seem almost mandatory, it can be a time-eater and the driver can't do any tasting. Reservations are required to visit almost any winery in this area. Many towns have an enoteca (or two or three!) or a winery tasting room.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 08:23 AM
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I am loving your suggestions. Montalcino is "off the list" - for this trip! SR222 sounds like what we want to do.

Have you been to Gaiole or Volpaia? Worth a stop?
What about Volterra?

Thank you.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 09:58 AM
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Montalcino produces Brunello.- just go.

Itís a stunning place of long vitas of wheat fields and vineyards. In terms of a red that is not too demanding or robust is the best wine in the world. Call a vineyard for a pre- arranged tour, preferably with a smaller family operation.

The best wine in the world without any caveats is , of course from the left bank of the Gironde.

Donít go to SG in summer between the hours of 10am and 5pm - there are few restaurants in the centre so later itís quiet - during the day - itís a dire tourist trap.



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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 10:48 AM
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Yes, we grocery shopped in Gaiole when we rented a villa in Panzano. The Chianti villages are on or just off the ST222, the Chiantigianna. Volterra is an interesting hill town. You drive up and right before the town, you turn into an underground garage. You will see lots of alabaster for sale. I bought a selection of alabaster
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BritishCaicos View Post
Montalcino produces Brunello.- just go.

Itís a stunning place of long vitas of wheat fields and vineyards. In terms of a red that is not too demanding or robust is the best wine in the world. Call a vineyard for a pre- arranged tour, preferably with a smaller family operation.

The best wine in the world without any caveats is , of course from the left bank of the Gironde.

Donít go to SG in summer between the hours of 10am and 5pm - there are few restaurants in the centre so later itís quiet - during the day - itís a dire tourist trap.
BC, I agree about the Brunello. Having said that, it is apparent that JMK 38 is NOT that interested in the "wine" part of the journey, or she never would have eliminated Montalcino from the itinerary.
And I must disagree with your comment about the "best wine in the world". That is like asking someone, "What is the best automobile in the world?" The answer will always be subjective. But this is not a wine forum...let me just say that when my clients (invariably) ask, "What is your favorite wine?", I always answer the same way; my favorite wine is the one I'm having that night with my friends.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 04:14 PM
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You don't have to go to Montalcino to taste/drink Brunello or to take in vistas that are any more beautiful than dozens of other views throughout Tuscany. I like Montalcino a lot, but it doesn't work well in every itinerary.

As to Gaiole, Volpaia, Volterra... Frankly, while I love some Tuscan towns more than others, I can't think of one I've visited that I wouldn't visit again if given the chance. We visited Gaiole on market day which is always interesting but not always the best way to get a full sense of a town. Volpaia is much smaller and the road we took to reach it was smaller, more scenic and less traveled than the one to Gaiole. (Again, I wonder where you're staying and coming from.) The only "problem" I see with Gaiole/Volpaia is that they take you a fair distance off SR222. The upside to that is that I absolutely love to turn off a small road to see where it goes. If you had more time, I might be more encouraging of the detour, but you need to decide your own priorities.
I enjoyed Volterra's atmosphere a lot. Hopefully, the fans of the "Twilight" series have moved on, but we found it big enough to hold tourist numbers without feeling crowded. We visited a couple of alabaster carving studios and bought some pieces.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 05:23 PM
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I believe you may have missed my point. One need not go to Volterra to purchase alabaster; I found beautiful pieces in Staffordshire, smack in the middle of England. I could be in Lindau, on the shore of the Bodensee, and drink a glass of Shafer Cabernet from the Napa valley. But to an AFFICIONADO, being in Napa, talking to the owners, hearing their anecdotes about their lives, winemaking, etc., gives one a better sense of what the wine is really ABOUT....in addition to tasting the wine on the winemaker's doorstep. That's all. Because JMK 38 decided NOT to include Montalcino in their itinerary, I believe that - just as you stated - they decided that their priorities did not include a visit there.
I DO agree that just cruising around on back roads - ANYWHERE - can lead to some very memorable experiences. But again, as you mentioned, in their case time is of the essence. To me, even sticking to SR222 is rather restrictive.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 08:26 PM
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We provided information, and hopefully it was helpful. I don't think I missed your point, but it doesn't matter. JMK38 can certainly decide what works for them.

BTW, one of the alabaster pieces I bought in Volterra was carved in front of me, and I picked it up a couple of days later when it was finished/polished.
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 09:41 AM
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If the OP is driving up from Rome, a detour via Orvieto and the Val de Orcia/ Pienza/ Montepulciano/Montalcino area on the way to SG would be pleasant. While I do like Brunello I much rather prefer Barolos and my wine collection is heavily skewed to France with Bordeaux/ Burgundy / CDP/ champagne/ Chablis. Also a significant amount of Cal cabs/Pinots/ Zin/Syrah/Chards. Italy accounts for less than 20% of my collection. My tastes of course
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