I'm putting together a high level packet of informatin for Andy and Katy, who will be joining us on our trip in November to Montalcino. So I figured I might as well copy the info here too in case anyone else can use some of the reference. I'll also have this in pdf format, so if anyone is interested in a copy, just let me know. Remember though, I'm just copying and pasting the stuff I'm sending it to them, so it's written as if they're my audience.
Let me start by saying that Andy really has no idea where we're staying so I started with that information. I think Katy's probably more on the ball, but she's just so excited to have a vacation where she can just show up, without any planning, I haven't felt like I needed to bore her with the details.
Where We’re Staying
We’ve rented a house outside of Montalcino in Tuscany.
Montalcino is about 2.5 hours northwest of Rome and about 1.8 hours southeast of Florence. It’s a walled, hilltop town known for its production of Brunello di Montalcino wine in the surrounding areas.
We’ve rented the house through Italian Journeys via Isabella and Luigi Dusi, an Australian couple that relocated to Montalcino several years ago. The house though actually sits just outside the walls of Montalcino on the property of Enzo Tiezzi’s winery.
By the way, Chris and I drove up to Stirling NJ on Friday night, to visit Stirling Fine Wines and buy some Tiezzi wines. We got a bottle of the Rosso di Montalcino and the Brunello and enjoyed the Rosso later that evening with dinner.
If you’re interested, you can read more about Montalcino through these links:
We’re rented an Alfa Romeo 159. If we don’t want to have luggage on our laps, I suggest packing one 22”x14”x9” and one 26”x18”x10” bag per couple, plus two small carry-ons.
The weather in Tuscany during this time of year will be changeable at best. You can expect sunny days in the 50s (maybe 60s) and rainy days in the 40s and 50s. I suggest layers and for outerwear, a raincoat with removable lining. I may also bring a fleece (in case we go hiking).
The good news for this time of year, we’ll be there during the olive harvest – first pressings, truffles should abound, not to mention mushrooms.
Saturday November 8 – Arrival and Tuscan Meander
You land this morning about 8:00am. Chris and I will already be in Rome, so our plan is to pick up the rental car at 8:00am at the airport and hopefully have all the paperwork done by the time you get through immigration and Customs. You should plan on meeting us at the rental car counter (follow signs for Europcar) and we can go to the car together.
We cannot get into our rental until between 4:00pm and 7:00pm that night, so rather than taking the Autostrada (a 2.5hour ride or so), we thought we’d meander up on a more scenic route, stopping somewhere along the way for lunch (feel free to nap in the car as we go).
We have several options/destinations for this routing, but I’m thinking a coastal route, until we get to Montalto di Castro then heading inland about two hours driving. We can visit the three hill towns Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana, having lunch at any number of places (I put together some ideas below).
Pitigliano was once known as Little Jerusalem because of its large Jewish population no longer present. Part of the synagogue still stands within the walls but unfortunately, it will not be open on Saturday.
Sorano, has been crumbling over time (it hangs precariously on a cliff) but has endured several restoration projects.
Sovana another Medieval hill town with roots in Etruscan history now has only a population of roughly 190 people.
You can read more about these towns, Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano
Potential Restaurants for Lunch
Il Tufo Allegro – Pitigliano
(Vicolo della Costituzione, 5, tel: 0564/616192). In Centro Storico. Park and walk into the main piazza (Piazza della Repubblica), take the road to the left (I think it's Via Zuccarelli). Vicolo della Constituzione will be on the left. Comes highly recommended by Dean but recent feedback not as good.
Osteria dell'Acqua Ardente - Pitigliano
Via Generale Orsini 210564614037
“The food offered by Acqua Ardente is based on what we may call "Tuscan fast food", meaning with "fast food" crostini, small bruschette, salame, prosciutto (pork and boar), cheese, wine, and a selection of homemade sweets. Each day they also offer a couple of hot dishes. When we were there they had handmade spaghetti with an olive sauce, tagliatelle al ragù and roasted arista served with an apple sauce.”
Hosteria Terrazza Aldobrandeschi – Sorano
(Via del borgo 44 39 0564 638699 or 39 347 3116331) – Looks like good Tuscan cooking.
Scilla (aka Ristorante dei Merli) – Sovana
Via Rodolfo Siviero 1/3, tel: 0564-616 531
Ristorante Taverna Etrusca – Sovana
Piazza del Pretorio, 16 0564616183 - 0564616531
After visiting the towns (one, two or all three), we can hit the road, along the Via Cassia (No2), which follows the path of an old Roman road. This will take us to San Quirico di Orcia, where we can pick up the road into Montalcino.
To check in, we need to park the car in one of the free lots around Montalcino, and head over to an enotecca where Alessandro Pierangioli works (his family owns the place). He’ll give us the keys and show us how to get to the house. We should call him when we leave the Pitigliano area to give him a heads-up as to what time we’ll be arriving.
Tonight we have 9:00 reservations at Grappolo del Blu, a trattoria in Montalcino where Chris and I dined several times during our 2005 trip.