Though Montepulciano is all over today’s news as the location for the filming of Twilight sequel New Moon, it was mentioned merely in passing in my guidebook when my family and I toured Tuscany last summer. Thankfully, we chose to spend a day exploring this beautiful hilltop city in its pre-Twilight days. Now, more than ever, Montepulciano, Italy, is on travelers’ must-see list when they head to Italy to explore.
Location & Parking
My family and I stayed in the Tuscan countryside, about halfway between Siena and Florence. For us, Montepulciano was a short drive in terms of mileage. For those of you traveling by car, though, be forewarned-15 miles in the Italian countryside is easily a 30- to 45-minute drive due to winding roads and missed turns. For that reason, among others, allow a full day to explore Montepulciano, arriving shortly before lunch and leaving around dinnertime.
Located in the countryside, Montepulciano is a hilltop city, complete with cobblestone streets and windows with flower boxes. Don’t expect to drive into the city proper-instead, prepare to park and walk up into the city. If you are traveling with small children, you’ll want a pushchair, but be prepared for the workout that you’ll get.
What to See & Do
You could easily spend a full day shopping in Montepulciano, especially if you make time to stop into some of the dozens of wineries that are smattered across the city. But don’t get too caught up in the shopping, though it’s easy to do. Instead, as you enter the city from your parking below, stop in one or two stores and shops, and then make your way to the top of the town, where you can see the town’s uncompleted il Duomo and clock tower, where much of the filming from the Volterra portions of Twilight‘s sequel New Moon took place. You won’t want to miss this gorgeous piazza.
Restaurants around the piazza are highly recommended-we chose to get gelato from one and eat at another, both with views of the il Duomo. Entry to the unfinished building is free, so stop in to take a look. Wineries surround the piazza, as well, each with versions of the areas two renowned wines, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano.
The pictures we took in Montepulciano are some of the best from our trip to Italy. Of course, our favorites included our daughters running along the steps of il Duomo… but close behind were pictures of the countryside below, winding stone streets, and flower boxes. Every classic shot you think of when you imagine Italy is there for the taking in Montepulciano.
Though Twilight might have brought a bit more notice to this beautiful Chianti town, Montepulciano is a celebrity in its own right. No trip to Tuscany, or even Italy, would be complete without a day trip.
Read more about Montepulciano at http://www.montepulciano.net.