The Montalcino region of Tuscany appeals both to everyday tourists and wine lovers.
Tourist Office: L’Ufficio Turistico Comunale, Il Museo di Sant’Agostino, Via Ricasoli, 31 | Tel+39 0577 846014.
Where to eat
Gelateria Artigianale e Yogurteria WHY NOT? (sic): Superlative iced creams and iced yoghurt in the centre of town. Address: Costa Garibaldi, Montalcino. Eat in, takeaway, Delivery. (The best iced creams I have ever tried.)
Boccon DiVino: Località Colombaio Tozzi, 201 | boccondivinomontalcino.it | Tel+39 0577 848233 | Outdoor seating on a terrace with a view over the Orcia Valley. The name means “a sip of wine”. Mario Foriani and his wife Vanna and daughters Marina and Alessandra. Try re-working of traditional dishes like ‘peposo‘, ‘carrabaccia’ (an onion soup, with a slice of pecorino cheese and toasted bread, olive oil and some herbs); and scottiglia di cinghiale (stewed wild boar, small pieces of meat on the bone, with tomato sauce, oil etc); or new ones like tortellini with saffron and truffles.
Caffè Bar Alle Logge di Piazza: Owner: Simone Muggianu and family. List of cocktails and aperitifs. Daily wine tasting. Reading area by an open hearth plus small library of books on the local area, its wine, food and history. Wine shop with tasting room. Outdoor seating. Contact: Caffè Bar Alle Logge di Piazza Piazza del Popolo, 1. Tel+39 0577.846186. Closed Wednesdays. Open 07.00-01.00 hours. Hot food throughout the day.
Grappolo Blu: Scale di Via Moglio, 1 | +39 0577.847150 or www.grappoloblu.it. | Like an old hostelry or inn. 350 wines on the wine list. Owners are Maria Pia (cook) and her husband Luciano (front of house). Ravioli with sheep’s cheese, crostini, pinci pasta with garlic and rabbit with Brunello.
Il Giglio: Hotel with restaurant. Very good multi-course wine tasting dinners, relaxed ambience, super knowledgeable staff, and a varied menu (not the same-old same-old Tuscan repertoire). Well stocked list of Brunellos for those wanting to do a vertical tasting.
Il Marrucheto: Via della Stazione, 7 – Sant’Angelo ScaIo. Good seafood and pizza’s. Popular with locals. Tel+39 0577 808000
Il Pelo nell’Uova: Loc Sprugano, San Giovanni d’Asso (SI). www.ristoranteilpelonelluovo.it. Home style cooking, focus on locally sourced, and home grown produce from the estate’s own allotment and garden.
Petto’s Pizza: Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1. In the centre of Montalcino. Take away pizza by the slice. Naples-style pizza (thin crust, puffed-up dough). Soft drinks. Seats while waiting. No tables or chairs.
Poggio Antico: Restaurant of the Poggio Antico wine estate. | Tel+39 0577 849200.
Enoteca Grotta di Brunello: Costa di Piazza Garibaldi, 3. Tel+39 0577.848095. Old wine cellar. Room dedicated to Brunello grappa. Honey, pasta, oil and jam. Contact Giancarlo Luciani.
Enoteca La Fortezza di Montalcino: Piazzale Fortezza. | Tel+39 0577.829211. www.enotecalafortezza.it. Open summer 9am-8pm. Restaurant inside the former guardroom of the Montalcino fortress. Cold meats, cheeses, olive oils and honey (strawberry, acacia and chestnut), plus Brunello to taste by the glass (but not riservas it seems). Can taste and nibble.
Enoteca Les Barriques: Guido and Marco Martini’s wine shop is in Montalcino’s main street. Food served too. Wine served by the glass. Wine stored in the insides of old ‘botti’. Contact: Enoteca Les Barriques, via Bellaria, 10 (0577.848414).
Enoteca Pierangioli: Piazza del Popolo, 16. In the centre of Montalcino, near the clock tower of the old City Hall. Founded by Sergio Pierangioli, this was one of the first wine shops in Montalcino to open. Local wines plus olive oil, pasta, honey, jam, dried mushrooms and aromatic herbs. His two sons now run it. One son, Alessandro, runs a wine tour business, with Giovanni Paris, owner of Montalcino Wine Tours. They cover Montalcino, Chianti, Montepulciano and Bolgheri. Contact: Enoteca Pierangioloi, Piazza del Popolo, 16. Tel+39 0577.849113. Sergio Pierangioli. Lots of Brunello plus olive oil, pasta, honey, jam, dried mushrooms and aromatic herbs.
Enoteca Vino al Vino: Viale della Libertà, 14. Tel+0577 846026: W wine shop and one of Montalcino’s historic wine bars, founded in 1985 by Wasma Franci and her husband Federico Pazzaglia. Now owned by Gianluca Turchi.
Vini Lazzeretti: Via Ricasoli, 14. This belongs to the Lazzeretti family whose winery is just north of the town (see here). Tel+39 0577.848475 | www.vinilazzeretti.it.
Where to stay
Hotel Il Giglio: Traditional. Tel+39 0577 848167 | www.gigliohotel.com. See also above for its restaurant.
Hotel Vecchia Oliviera, Porta Cerbaia, Via Landi, 1 | Tel+39 0577 846028. | vecchiaoliviera.com. In the historic centre, panoramic, hilly. Closed 26 Nov. – 26 Dec. Bar. Parking. Swimming pool with hydromassage. A former olive mill (‘frantoio’).