Girls just wanna have fun. And wine, and pasta, and more wine. And they really know how to make the best out of a weekend trip to picturesque Tuscany! I visited this region for the first time in 2013 with my best friend. We loved it so much that this spontaneous trip turned out to become a well observed custom. Ever since than, every end of August we are heading back to this Italian paradise for a traditional, girls-only trip. We have fun, we talk about life, we eat a lot pasta and drink wine. This experience always feels like a tradition that brings so much joy and fulfillment to our female friendship. So grab your own girl gang and book a flight to Italy! It’s gonna be an epic trip that you may be willing to do more often. Tuscany is a pretty addictive place, trust me.
Which part of Tuscany is the best?
The whole Tuscany is stunning and each of its visitors probably have own favorite region. My top place from where you can easily explore this astonishing area is a beautiful medieval city of Montepulciano. There is no other place where I love to come back so frequently and there are few reasons for that.
First of all the beauty of the city is just beyond words. Narrow streets will take you back in time and the views will leave you speechless, as the city is located on the hill. You can stroll around whole day to discover countless picturesque corners. This is a true paradise for every enthusiast of photography and historical architecture.
Secondly, city location is perfect to explore Tuscany and its treasures. Pienza, Cortona, Bagno Vignoni, Bagni San Filippo, and many more gems are just a short drive from Montepulciano. So even if coming for a weekend only, you will be able to explore Tuscany and see some spectacular landscapes on the way.
And last but not least, local culture that I absolutely admire. Every last weekend of August you can join Montepulciano’s community for a famous Bravio Delle Botti, historical wine barrel race that comes from the 14th century. I love to join locals in celebration of these old customs and rituals so we are always trying to plan our girls gateway during the Bravio weekend. You can read the whole story of this unique festival here.
What to see around?
Bagno Vignoni – small village in Val d’Orcia with natural hot springs and a waterfall on the hill from where you can enjoy beautiful panorama of the area. Perfect place also for an evening apperitivo in one of the local bars or restaurants. The entrance to hot springs is free of change.
Bagni San Filippo – another hot springs locations, still not very known among tourists. It’s located in the forest, outside the small town of Bagni San Filippo. This place will take you to another world as the white landscape looks actually like covered with snow. The entrance is free of change.
Pienza – a must visit place when in Tuscany. It’s a UNESCO Heritage filled with historical buildings, located on the hill and overlooking impressive landscape. Basically, every single street looks like a postcard from Tuscany.
Cortona – another Tuscan gem worth visiting. You will be amazed with the main square of Palazzo Comunale or Piazza Signorelli, one of the filming locations for Under the Tuscan Sun movie. Countless number of small Italian bistros will tempt you and won’t let you stay hungry for sure.
Vineyard tour is a must
You haven’t really been to Tuscany if you haven’t visited a vineyard. I’m not sure if I can recommend this one enough and give it a justice with my words. Sante Marie di Vignoni is a really special place. Of course, there is lots and lots of different vineyards around the region, but most of them have more commercial approach or are already sold to foreign investors. Sante Marie di Vignoni stayed as an authentic, family run place where heart and love are put into every bottle of wine they produce. Almost all the work at the vineyard is still done by hands what nowadays is already a rare exception. The owners of the vineyard are the most welcoming and open people that will make you fill like home from the minute you arrive. You can not only test their amazing wines and olives but also see the wine production and explore beautiful area where all the grapes are growing in the Tuscan sun. I keep visiting this vineyards every single year and the owners already feel like a family to me.
Where to book your stay in Montepulciano?
There is a great number of different guesthouses, Airbnbs and hotels you can find in Montepulciano, but the one that I sincerely recommend is a family run hotel Albergo Duomo, located in the heart of the old town. There is no better place for me to feel this Tuscan atmosphere and be treated like a VIP guest. Rooms are simple but equipped with everything you may need and the brother and sister running the place will serve you delicious breakfast in the patio filled with plants and flowers. The location is just more than perfect to explore the city but I must warn you, that sipping your cappuccino in the morning in this cozy hotel’s atmosphere makes it really hard to leave! I can also tell you in a secret that if you ask, you will be served some great Italian sparkling wines to make your breakfast even more fun.
Food and wine places you will love
You are in Italy, so no other diet than pasta and wine is possible. My favorite places:
La Bottega del Nobile – The most delicious food and spectacular selection of wines. A must visit place. It’s located in the cellars what adds more rustic vibes and makes the wine tasting even more special. If you come in bigger group it is recommended to have a table booked. The place offers a great number of wines in testing portions and one of the best traditional pici pasta in town.
El Luceval Le Stelle – The most perfect wine bar & bistro in Montepulciano for a sunset time. Offers not only the most spectacular sunset view but also great selection of wines, drinks, and tasty food. On some evenings you can also enjoy life jazz music.
Ristorante Cittino – Family owned restaurant still holding all the traditions of pasta making. It’s where you can try the most famous hand made pici pasta and have a sneak pic into the kitchen to see how the old lady is rolling the pasta by herself. All the pasta lovers cannot miss the opportunity to try this happiness served on the plate and see how it’s really made in a traditional way.
Osteria Acquacheta – You will not get better meat probably in the whole Tuscany. Famous place for all the meat lovers where the butcher will give you a choice of a slide of meat for your steak. Unique experience also because of the setting as you will be sited along long tables together with other guests. It’s not a posh restaurant, it’s more a tavern with easy going, festive atmosphere. Table booking is obligatory and the dinner is served in two evening rounds.
Caffe Poliziano – Legendary place in the historical part of town. An obligatory option for a breakfast or apperitivo. The interior details have been restored to its original look from previous centuries what leaves the impression that time stopped here in the best possible meaning.
OUTSIDE OF MONTEPULCIANO
La Torretta in Chianciano Terme – Italian cuisine with a bit of modern twist. We always go there for a long lunch and order everything from the menu. Wine list is great and the owner is open to prepare also something on demand.
Osteria del Teatro in Cortona – fantastic place for a lunch break when visiting the city. Best food in town, fantastic atmosphere and really unique setting in a 6th century building totally renovated and restored to its original splendor.
Which airport to fly to?
Where to take the flight to is a serious decision as you do not want to spend hours driving from the airport to your destination, right? The best option is to choose one of the flights from cheap airlines variety to Pisa, Bologna or Roma. From each of these airports you have around 2 hours drive to Montepulciano. I usually use Ryanair or Wizzair that both have lots of great connections from many european cities.
I would avoid taking the flight to Milan or Bergamo. We tried this option once tempted by a very cheap flight tickets but would not do that again. It is pretty far and getting to Montepulciano takes around 4 hours drive. Also, around long weekends this direction can be really crowded. Especially in August when all the Italians are driving to or from holidays. It happened to as that we stacked in a traffic on a highway and almost missed our flight back home.
If you are not a driver there is also an option of taking public transportation from Bologna, Pisa and Roma. Just bear in mind the connections are not the most convenient and it will take you twice as much time as with a car. I would highly recommend you a car rental to make the best out of your stay in Tuscany.
How to move around?
Driving tuscan roads is a pleasure itself. Landscape full of vineyards, roadsides lined with cypresses and endless fields dotted with picturesque estates. This all will be stopping you every few minutes of driving. And here we are moving to another important part of girls only trip. There is no better way to drive Tuscan roads with a group of your girlfriends, than in a convertible car. Of course, rental fees for this kind of car are higher than for a standard one, but if you book it well in advance and share the cost with your companions, it is affordable and surely will not ruin your budget. What you will get in return is overwhelming feeling of freedom. The smell of Tuscan air and the wind in your hair are simply priceless. I have never felt more free and happy in the car.
We usually use Rental Cars and it never disappoints. Just bear in mind that car rentals have very limited number of convertible cars available so it is always recommended to book it well in advance, especially, if you have a car type that you are particularly interested in.
Have a wonderful stay in Tuscany!