Things To Do In Montalcino

Montalcino, is a beautiful village located to the west of Pienza, at the top of a hill, a well-known place for its precious Brunello red wine production. Montalcino took its name from a variety of oak trees that once covered the terrain. The town was possibly created by the Etruscans around 800 BC and the differences that it has with today are very few.  An often comment that people make about that village is the sunset that is reflected on it and the hills that surround it while they also mention the stunning greenery view that it has. We visited Montalcino as part of our one-week road trip in Tuscany and we’d love to present you all the things to do in Montalcino.

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Things to do in Montalcino

Fortezza di Montalcino

Fortezza Montalcino

Inside the town, you will meet the Fortezza di Montalcino, also known as the Montalcino Fortress. This is a castle created in the 14th century by the community of Siena as a defensive structure against the Florentines. It is surrounded by thick walls, five towers, and a bridge which also played a major role as a defensive factor. In the past, it was also used as a prison when the Republic of Siena was falling off. The fortress is located at the top of a hill overlooking the town and its surroundings, offering a great view of the Val d’Orcia and a unique opportunity for some photos. Today, it is open to the crowd and hosts a museum that informs about the history and the great role that the fortress played back in those days but also hosts the Enoteca La Fortezza, a wine shop that allows you to taste some of the oldest local wines of the region.  

The fortress requires a ticket to be explored, which comes to the price of 4 euros. You can get it from the Enoteca found within the fortress itself and then wander along the walls that were used in the past for patrolling. On the starting point, it would be helpful if you consulted the bronze map that is near the entrance for better guidance. 

Civic Museum

The civic museum of Montalcino, also called Museo Civico e Diocesano is a monument of art and archeology. For art enthusiasts, the museum holds a majority of admirable Sienese paintings. Note down to see the masterpieces of Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and Bartolo di Fredi, personalities that influenced Montalcino. Since today, the museum was in medieval times a monastery, there are items in it that make it even more unique. Some of them were found there from medieval times since 1900 and each one showcases different information about history. 

Duomo of Montalcino

Montalcino - Duomo

The Duomo of Montalcino, which also has the name Cathedral of Santissimo Salvatore, is the main church in the town, a place that obtains a significant historical role and respect. It was first built in the year 1000 but was demolished and completely rebuilt between 1817 and 1834 in neoclassical style, designed by the architect Agostino Fantastici. The front wall of the church has a colonnade of red brick columns topped with marble capitals, while the inside comes with a huge contrast of ancient and modern elements. A neoclassical design with three naves and tall Ionic columns. While it is simply decorated, it allows you to observe the architectonic details. 

Churches of Montalcino

Montalcino church

Montalcino is a place with many churches that you cannot miss visiting since they showcase the rich history behind them. One of the most popular churches is the Church of Madonna del Soccorso. The population of Montalcino shows huge respect and pride for that specific church since it is said that it was the Virgin Mary who helped the town win against a siege in 1553. Today, the church is open in the mornings and late afternoons. Another church is the  Abbey of Sant’Antimo, located just a short drive from the town center. It was built in 1118 when Carlo Magno, who, was returning from Rome with his followers along the Via Francigena, stopped to rest and escape the plague in the Starcia valley. He stayed there until the plague was over and built this church as an honor. Today, the church is open from 10 pm to 6 am in high season and from 10 pm to 5 am in low. Of course, we could not neglect to refer to the Church of San Giovanni. It is a church a bit further from Montalcino, but still a must-see. It is specifically located in Bagno Vignoni in the municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia, holding a very simple and humble facade. On the inside, there is a popular painting from the 18th century representing Saint Catherine of Siena with Bagno Vignoni in the background.  

The Chiesa di San Giovanni is open every day from 8 pm to 7 am. 

Piazza Del Popolo

Montalcino - Piazza del Popolo

Piazza Del Popolo is said to be the heart of the town. It hosts there the Palazzo dei Priori, the town hall that was built in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Its facade is decorated with coats of the mayors that ruled the city all these years and a very tall medieval tower is integrated into the palace. The entrance to the tower is free for the public and you can take some amazing photos of the whole town from there. The interior of the town hall is not that easily accessible but if you have the chance to enter it you will see amazing wall paintings and stunning decorative rooms. When visiting Piazza del Popolo don’t miss the chance to enjoy your coffee there and relax in this friendly, historic atmosphere. Of course, after that, you can wander in the narrow, traditional streets that host small tourist shops for souvenirs and art shops as well. 

Giardino Delle Favole

The Giardino delle Favole is a small garden on the North side of Montalcino, decorated with beautiful various plants. It is an ideal place for kids and adults as well to release stress and enjoy their time. The garden is open all day long and when you enter it you will see various sculptures blending in the greenery environment. A perfect space to capture a great time. 

Glass Museum

The glass museum is mentioned to be a stunning place for a visit. On the inside of it, you will explore the procedure of glassmaking. This is not only about the creation and evolution of glass elements, but it is also about art. The museum took its name from Banfi company, Giovanni F. Mariani. The Museum not only exhibits a rare collection of Roman glassware, but also ancient wine bottles, and refined carafes.  

It is open from 10 am to 7.30 pm in the summer and from 10 am to 6.30 pm in the winter while the price to enter it comes at 4 euros.  

Old Town Alleys

Montalcino - Old Alleys

Since you are visiting Montalcino you will surely find yourself walking along the narrow alleys. These streets are perfect for a relaxing walk, and they are easily accessible anytime. As you wander there you will meet many local restaurants, cafeterias, and shops with products to purchase as a reminder of your trip. We also met street musicians that made our day lighten up. 

Cathedral Santissimo Salvatore

Montalcino - Duomo

This is a cathedral located in Montalcino that was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. It holds a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles, and it’s popular for its front wall which has a rose window and sculptures of saints. On the inside, it hosts monuments of art and architecture, yet it is said that the most notable thing is the altar which represents the religious artistry. This church provides a peaceful atmosphere that you cannot miss. It is not only a place of worship but Montalcino’s cultural and spiritual heritage.  

The church is open to the public from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm daily. 

Wander the Streets with a Gelato

What is an exploration in Tuscan without a gelato? While walking in the town and admiring the medieval structures and the narrow streets do not forget to grab a gelato and make your tour an even better experience. The best gelato is said to be in Gelateria Artigianale offering a variety of flavors and fresh seasonal ingredients while you can also have the option for a vegan choice! Most of these shops are typically open from mid-morning until late evening. 

Plan a Special Event at Banfi Castle

Montalcino - Banfi Castle

The Castello Banfi is a winery and a castle that was founded in 1978 by John and Harry Mariani. It extends at more than 7000 acres and includes vineyards, olive groves, forests, and a village with medieval style. In addition to that the castle offers other amenities like a hotel, a spa, restaurants, and a golf court. What makes it so unique besides its beauty is that it is open to the public to host an event there. You can arrange the style, the theme and the occasion it will surely come out perfectly. This place even offers different places based on the season or your preferences. You can host an event in the courtyard, the Fireplace Hall, The Terrace, and the cellar. The staff there, which is very friendly can guide you to a good outcome. Besides that, there is always good quality wine that promises an unforgettable event. The price just for a tour is 15 euros.  

Attend a Show at Teatro degli Astrusi

Montalcino - Teatro Degli Astrusi

The Teatro degli Astrusi was constructed in 1678 and was renovated in the second half of the 18th century by the architect Leonardo De’ Vegni. The roof of the theater represents a neoclassical Chariot of the Sun with Apollo surrounded by the nine Muses. A magnificent piece of art. The theater represents an important place of culture, ballet, and music concerts, as well as conferences, seminars, and meetings. It is equipped with large rooms including a room used for tastings. Some prices for performances and events vary from 7 to 15 euros. 

Enjoy Hikes in Nature

Montalcino, as we previously said, is a small town on the top of a hill, and it offers a great greenery view worth exploring. Do not hesitate to go on a hike in the nearby environment and enjoy the plants and the quiet atmosphere. There are many routes to choose from, from easy ones to more challenging ones. A popular trail is a route around the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, an easy route approximately 7.5 km. In this route, you will face beautiful vineyards, olive groves, and a breathtaking view of the Abbey and its surroundings. 

For even more challenging routes, you can try the paths that lead through the Brunello vineyards. The town hosts an event to honor the Brunello wine by creating three different hiking trails once a year. The trails are 14km, 24 km, and 45km. The trails incorporate forests, vineyards, villages, and farms, with stunning views of the Val d’Orcia and surrounding landscapes. Some of them include stops at wineries for quick wine testing since the procedure of hiking is less competitive and more about fun. 

Day Trip to San Quirico d’Orcia

San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany

San Quirico d’Orcia is a small medieval town located in the heart of Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A day trip there would be a magnificent experience to spend the day. The distance from Montalcino is about 14km and you can reach it by car or bus even if it’s a bit limited. Start your day by wandering in the historic town and admire its medieval style including the Collegiate Church of San Quirico which hosts a museum and the Horti Leonini, a Renaissance Garden. You can take a break to rest and enjoy a local meal at one of Piazza della Liber restaurants offering Tuscan cuisine. A place not to miss is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, a 12th-century structure known for its beautiful wall paintings and sculptures. End this magnificent day trip with a wine tasting at a winery like Podere Podernuovo or on an enoteca while enjoying the sunset which makes this day even more outstanding. 

Locanda Demetra & Montalcino Cooking School

This cooking school is a family-run establishment offering an authentic experience by mixing the rustic style of Tuscan with modern gastronomy dishes. The cooking classes are taught by professional chefs that love the Tuscan cuisine using fresh ingredients. There, you can become a local Italian by mastering making pasta and pizza. The courses last 3 hours and the maximum number of guests is 6 per group. And of course, that implies enjoying your creations. Besides the classes, Locanda Demetra is also a restaurant offering not only great food but a warm and friendly atmosphere as well. 

Visit a Vineyard

You cannot visit Montalcino and not go to a vineyard. As previously said the region is known for its Brunello wine. Many vineyards offer tours, wine tasting, and snacks to enhance the whole process. Each vineyard has a unique character that complies with your preferences, from traditional family-run wineries to more modern facilities. A popular option is the Banfi castle, known for its wide variety of wines and its beauty but also the Biondi-Santi which played a primary role in the Brunello production. Today, it still produces the Brunello wine using the same methods meaning that amongst others, the wine ages for at least 2 years in a barrel. 

Temple of Brunello Museum

An attractive museum in Montalcino that you must visit. It is located at the center of the town, and it is dedicated to honor the Brunello wine. The museum includes many ways to attract visitors besides the history of Brunello wine. Some of them include virtual reality experiences showcasing the vineyards, interactive displays explaining the winemaking process, and digital exhibits highlighting the cultural significance of Brunello. It shows not only the Brunello wine but also the history of Montalcino.  

Montalcino - Get Off The Beaten Track

Montalcino is known for its medieval style and local wine, but it still offers many experiences that can be unforgettable. You will learn about all the truffles  

Truffle Hunting

A unique outdoor adventure accompanied by a dog to search for these Tuscan delicacies in the forests of Montalcino. The hunting lasts from 1 to 3 hours and the prices range depending on the number of persons per group. 

Visit Small Vineyards

Famous vineyards, of course, offer a great experience but there are still small vineyards around Montalcino where you can meet the winemakers and taste the wines as well. Even if they are smaller, they are still charming.  

Hike to Remote Castles

Besides the castles mentioned above, a great experience can be a hike to hidden castles and their remains which still add a charming note to the greenery landscape. One of them is the ruins of Castiglion Brunello. It’s a 7 km round trip and it’s quite easy to explore. The trail offers great views and provokes you to imagine how the castle was before it was ruined. 

Biking Through Ancient Trails

Rent a bike and explore ancient paths through olive groves and vineyards. The Montalcino Loop has a 58km distance and it’s a great way to know the region. The prices range from 30 to 50 euros. 

Photography Tours

Many companies around Tuscany host photography tours. In that way, you can capture all the beautiful landscapes while exploring the area. Some programs last from 5 to 7 days, and you can have guidance from professionals. Prices typically range from €1,500 to €3,000 per person. 

Cooking Classes in Rustic Settings

Attend a cooking class in a countryside farmhouse, where you can cook traditional Tuscan dishes with local ingredients. Nonna Ada is a family-run cooking school that can teach you the secrets of Tuscan cuisine and cook with ingredients fresh from their garden. The estimated cost ranges from 80 to 150 euro per person. 


Neighboring Villages To Visit

Montalcino is a village worth visiting for its beauty and history. However, there are plenty of villages that surround it with many attractions as well. If you have time, use a car or sometimes a bicycle, to have a day trip around them. 


Pienza is a village around 25 km away from Montalcino, also well known as the Pearl of the Renaissance. Do not miss visiting it and tasting its local cheese while exploring the palaces and churches that it holds. 

Pienza, Tuscany

San Quirico d’Orcia

A village even closer to Montalcino, around 14 km away. Besides the car, you can reach it with a bike as well. It’s known for its beautiful Collegiate Church, Horti Leonini gardens, and the Museo Archeologico. A small traditional place worth visiting for its unforgettable views.  


Montepulciano is a beautiful hill town around 30 km from Montalcino. It was first inhabited by the Etruscans but thrived during the medieval years. Try their local wine Vino Nobile wine, and visit the church of San Biagio and Piazza Grande, the main square that hosts shops selling Cantucci, a traditional twice-baked almond biscotti.

Church Of The Madonna Di San Biagio​, Montepulciano, Tuscany

Castiglione d’Orcia

Another village close to Montalcino, about 11 km, that can be reached by car and bicycle as well. Not so popular as the others but still with a unique beauty. Castiglione d’Orcia offers a great view of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia, monuments like Palazzo del Podestà and Church of Collegiata and local Tuscan dishes. 

Must-Try Bars & Restaurants in Montalcino

Caffe La Fortezza

Caffe a Fortezza is a popular spot located in the center of Montalcino. It offers a mix of local wines, delicious Tuscan cuisine, and even coffee. It is the ideal place to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and grab a quick coffee as well. Furthermore, it is open from 6 pm to 8 am, provides outdoor seating in the warm months, and has super friendly staff.  The price is around 10 euros per person. 

Boccon Di Vino

A stunning restaurant that takes place in the town of Montalcino. This restaurant not only offers great local cuisine but combines it with the most beautiful view of the Tuscan landscape. It holds some signature dishes that you must try if visiting. The Pici al Ragu di Cinghiale and the Bistecca alla Fiorentina are the most popular. Besides that, the staff is very welcoming and warm and the atmosphere there is peaceful.   

Bar Il Leccio

You cannot miss visiting a bar in the town that wine rules. Bar Il Leccio is a place to try wine and other drinks as well while eating light delicacies. It is located near the Piazza del Campo, and it is easily accessible on foot. It is open from 8 pm to 11 am meaning that you can enjoy drinks, coffee, and breakfast as well.  The prices range from 10 to 20 euros per person.  

Taverna del Grappolo Blu

A very popular place for tourists and locals as well. Taverna del Grappolo Blu is in Montalcino, and it is known for its delicious local cuisine and inviting atmosphere. Do not miss trying ribollita and local meats there, of course, accompanied by local wines.  The price here comes to approximately 35 euros per person.  

Caffè Fiaschetteria Italiana 1888

Caffè Fiaschetteria Italiana 1888 is one of the oldest cages in town, attracting locals and visitors. It was founded by Ferruccio Biondi Santi, the inventor of Brunello di Montalcino. There you can taste coffee, wines, and authentic plates while feeling the importance of the history that it holds.  A very affordable place that costs usually less than 10 euros per person to be served.  

Dinner at Il Moro

Il Moro is a well-known restaurant, for its warm atmosphere and delicious food. You should keep in mind booking a reservation before visiting since it fills up instantly. We could not neglect the wide range of wines that it hosts.  The price here ranges from 20 to 30 euros. 

Attend Local Events

Many local events take place around Tuscany every year. Some of them are hosted to honor the history, some others for wine, and some for the traditions.  

Sagra del Tordo

The festival of the Sagra Del Todo is also known as the festival of the Thrush. The festival takes place on the last Sunday of October and it’s the outset of the hunting season. It starts early in the morning around 10 am and the streets of the town fill up with people. There is a parade taking place with colorful costumes. The highlight of the festival is an archery competition between the four historical districts of Montalcino: Borghetto (white and red), Pianello (yellow and blue), Travaglio (yellow and red), and Castel Muri no longer participating but is still honored. It also offers traditional plates like pappardelle and of course Brunello wine. There is no entrance fee for the festival, you just have to pay for the food and drinks.

Benvenuto Brunello

This festival is dedicated to wine lovers since it is hosted to honor the Brunello wine. It takes place once a year, every February, and represents the techniques that were implemented in wine production. You can do wine tasting and try the local cuisine with the guidance of the winemakers. Most of the time this event fills up very soon, so we suggest securing your tickets in advance. The prices for this famous event range from 20 to 100 euros based on several factors such as the number of wines and the food.

 Jazz & Wine Festival

This is an annual event taking place once in year, in July. It combines the traditional jazz music with the tasting of local wines. Once a year this event that is hosted at the Banfi Castle and Montalcino Fortress presents a variety of concerts, jazz artists, and local wine, including the popular Brunello. Since it is a very popular event keep in mind buying the tickets in advance the price of which ranges from 5 to 25 euros. The event starts in the evening during the sunset hour.

Corsa di Alcide

This event, also known as the Ercole Rally is an annual vintage car exhibition. It usually takes place in April, but the exact date varies from year to year.  Owners of the vintage car participate in a parade where judges evaluate them based on the conditions of each. If you own a vintage car then this is the most authentic event to participate but if you don’t, it is still a great experience to admire them.

Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Montalcino is one of the biggest in Italy hosting more than 65 wooden houses. It takes place during the Christmas season, from late November to early January. Even if the Winter months are colder, this Christmas market is an attraction for many tourists around the world. It offers a unique experience for adults and children as well by owning houses with gifts and of course the Santa Claus castle. There is no entrance ticket for this event.

Accommodations in Montalcino

Albergo Il Giglio

Albergo ll Giglio is a hotel hosted in an ancient palace that was built near the town’s defensive walls. It has a great view of Siena and holds a restaurant that serves unique Tuscan dishes and a wide range of wines. It is a family-run business and the hotel operates with a very warm atmosphere and respect. The cost per night, here, comes to 148 euros, and the breakfast is included.  

Castello Banfi – Il Borgo

The Il Borgo hotel is located 10 km away from Montalcino and has a great view of the vineyards, the olive groves, and the sunset. It offers elegant rooms, an outdoor pool, a gym, and its wine cellar. Of course, it could not miss having a restaurant serving local dishes with fresh ingredients. The price per night is 1300 euro for a double bed and the breakfast is charged with 40 euros.   

Drogheria e Locanda Franci

Combining a modern style with the ancient Tuscan one, this hotel holds unique rooms for anybody. The atmosphere is peaceful and makes you feel at home while the beds are comfortable, and the colors are in warm tones. This hotel also has a restaurant that serves traditional plates with local ingredients. The price per night is about 224 euros.  

Si Montalcino Hotel

A more affordable hotel but also with charming decoration, Si Montalcino offers a great experience to visitors. It features an outdoor pool with a bar, a restaurant, and of course a beautiful view of the surroundings. The hotel also provides visitors with bike and car services, and it is about a 4-minute drive away from the town. The price per night is 144 euros.   

FAQ about Montalcino

What makes Montalcino famous

Montalcino is primarily famous for its Brunello red wine. There is no way for a visitor not to do wine tasting. Besides that, like most of the small traditional towns in Tuscany, Montalcino also has a great view of the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, it is a town with a significant history and an interesting tradition, all represented in its design and monuments. For food lovers. Montalcino could be heaven, with all the local dishes that it serves and the warm atmosphere that the shops and hotels observe. Why not visit a place where people welcome you? What do the residents of the town believe is essential with dinner?  Wine, and since wine is the center of their lives, they honor it with many festivals.   

Comparison with Montepulciano

Montepulciano and Montalcino are both two small traditional villages with many attractions for visitors. Montalciano is well known for its Brunello red wine, while Montepulciano produces Vino Nobile. While Montalciano has a great history and a charming, peaceful atmosphere, Montepulciano showcases more attractions and energetic life.  

Famous Foods and Drinks

Montalcino is a small town known for its Brunello wine. Specifically, the whole life of the residents is based on wine, and tourists who visit this town are wine lovers or become wine lovers here. A good wine is always better accompanied by food. The Tuscan, traditional cuisine that Montalcino offers. Includes the Pici pasta, a pate with noodles and rich sauces, the Ribollita, and a vegetable soup perfect for the colder months   

How to pronounce Montalcino

Montalcino is pronounced asmohntahl-CHEEnoh.” 

How far is Montalcino from Montepulciano

The distance between Montalcino and Montepulciano is about 42km. If traveling by car or bus it takes 1 to 1.50 hours to reach each village.  

How big is Montalcino?

Montalcino is a relatively small town based on other nearby towns. The town’s total area with its surroundings is 243 square kilometers, The population is approximately 6000. 

How far is Montalcino from San Gimignano?

The gap between Montalcino and San Gimignano is about 77km. If using a car, you will need 1 hour and 22 minutes, while by train you will need 1 hour and 56 minutes. 

How far is Montalcino from Cortona?

To reach Montalcino from Cortona you will need to pass through 47 kilometers. The driving time is about 1 hour, while by bus is approximately 4 hours and 57 minutes. You’ll need to take a bus from Cortona to Montepulciano, and then another bus from Montepulciano to Montalcino. You can take a taxi as well, but it will cost you between 80 and 120 euros.


What does Montalcino mean?

The name “Montalcino” is of Italian origin and can be broken down as follows: 

– “Monte” means “mountain” or “hill” in Italian. 

– “Alcino” is likely derived from the Latin word “Alcinium,” which was the name of an ancient Roman fortress in the area. 

So, “Montalcino” roughly translates to “Mountain of Alcinium” or “Hill of Alcinium,” referring to the elevated location of the town and its historical connection to the Roman fortress. 

Is Montalcino worth visiting?

Yes. Montalcino is worth a visit. It is a small quiet place for anyone looking for a relaxing trip or a whole family. Based on its red wine, Brunello, this town has to offer many traditions, history, and sights 

Is Montalcino in Chianti?

No. Montalcino is included in a separate wine region, in the southern part of Tuscany.  Chianti is located in the north part.

Is Montalcino nice?

Yes, Montalcino is known for its natural beauty, stunning views, and welcoming residents. On a trip to Montalcino, you will meet many archeological monuments and historic landmarks, you will taste a wide range of wines, and eat their local cuisine. A great place for adults and kids. 

What is Montalcino wine?

Montalcino is popular for its Brunello red wine. Brunello is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and is known for its exceptional quality. Some also call it Prugnolo Gentile. Noted for having thicker-skinned berries, and because of this, Brunello produces wines with exceptionally bold fruit flavors, high tannin, and high acidity. 

Where is Montalcino wine region?

Montalcino wine region is in Tuscany, Italy. The ideal season for the grapes to mature is in Summer. Mid-winter is the time of the year when grapes rest, while in Spring and Autumn when it usually rains the grapes grow. The harvesting is taking place from late September until mid-October. 

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