Do you happen to be in Montepulciano or Southern Tuscany around the holidays and looking for a good Christmas market? I have the one for you!
I have been living just outside of Montepulciano for over 10 years now and you can bet it has become an annual holiday tradition to explore and eat our hearts out at the Christmas market in Montepulciano.
In this article, I will share all the practical information you need to know about the Christmas market in Montepulciano including my favorite stalls to purchase from, best food stalls to eat at and the best time to visit.
Whether you are planning a trip for a family of 6, a romantic walk in Montepulciano for two or a girls night out, you are guaranteed to have the best time at the Christmas market in Montepulciano with some of the best food and drink in hand!
Jump to Section
When Is the Christmas Market In Montepulciano?
The Christmas market in Montepulciano starts at the end of November and goes through the New Year. A yearly schedule is posted on their website.
Plan Ahead: Keep in mind that while weekends are much more crowded, they usually have more events and longer opening hours.
Where Is the Christmas Market In Montepulciano?
The Christmas Market in Montepulciano is located at the top of the village in Piazza Grande and in the Fortezza. The mercatino or Christmas stands are in the main square along with the large Christmas tree but Santa and his workshop is located within the Fortezza.
How To Get To The Montepulciano Christmas Market
There are several ways to get to Montepulciano. The best is by car. From Rome, take the A1 North and exit at Chiusi-Chianciano Terme. Follow signs for Chianciano Terme and then for Montepulciano (this can also be achieved via Google maps).
If you’re coming from Northern Italy, take the A1 South and exit at Valdichiana-Bettole and follow signs for Torrita di Siena. Once here, follow signs for Montepulciano.
If you are coming directly from your international flight and heading directly to Montepulciano, fly into one of the following and rent your car directly at the airport:
- Florence Amerigo Vespucci (FLR) – 120 km
- Rome Fiumicino (FCO) – 205 km
- Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi (PEG) – 75 km
I don’t suggest taking public transportation. Trains do arrive at Montepulciano Stazione but the buses are not reliable nor regular and we only have 1 taxi driver serving all of Montepulciano!
Parking At The Montepulciano Christmas Market
The closest parking lot is Lot 8 (Il Bersaglio) about 200 meters from where you want to be in Piazza Grande.
Alternatively, you can park at any of the other lots and either walk the 20 minute walk from the base of Montepulciano at Porta al Prato or catch the free navetta or shuttle bus leaving from the Monteulciano Autostazione (FT1) which will bring you up to the Fortezza, just outside of Piazza Grande.
Helpful Maps: Download a map and timetable of the shuttle, a market map and events on their website here.
Best Time To Visit The Christmas Market In Montepulciano
The best time to visit the Christmas market in Montepulciano is on the weekends in December before Christmas. It’s much more crowded and I suggest you pre-book your tickets to visit Il Castello di Babbo Natale but there is also much more going on. The pony ranch is more likely to be running and there will be a lot more life and Christmas cheer in the air.
Things To Do At The Christmas Market In Montepulciano
I suggest combining your visit to the market with one of the many other activities that Montepulciano has to offer, which you can read about in
10 Best Things To Do In Montepulciano With Kids + Where To Eat Close by
Montepulciano Wineries – All You Need To Know About Visiting The Eight Historic Wineries
Things To Do In Montepulciano – These are the Best Activities For Your First Visit
One Day Itinerary for Montepulciano – 24 Hours In Tuscan Wine Country.
Il Castello di Babbo Natale
Visiting Santa’s castle is definitely the highlight for families at the Montepulciano Christmas Market.
It’s best to pre-book your tickets online, especially if you are visiting on the weekend. There is an entrance fee but it grants you access to several activities that will take around 45 min – 1 hour to complete including elf activities, visiting Santa, seeing the light show, visiting the reindeer, writing a Christmas letter and more!
The Christmas Terrace
The Christmas terrace is a temporary outdoor seating area set up for the holiday season where you can sit down on comfy outdoor couches with a glass of wine for an aperitivo or after dinner drink. It’s covered so don’t let the rain scare you! It’s a great place for adults to sit down and rest your legs after a long walk up to Piazza Grande.
Shopping And Walking The Mercatino
The Mercatino or Christmas stalls are the main event at the market. Spend your time walking through the various stalls and sampling local food products. You can pick up souvenirs, gifts and even artisan made items to bring home or eat on the rest of your Tuscan trip.
Choose from several snacks (donuts, crepes, cotton candy, panini) and drinks (hot chocolate, Spritz, wine,) at the mercatino if you don’t plan on heading to Il Ristoro for a full meal. I suggest a Spritz or a Mela Brule (mulled apple cider) from the vendor selling wine in Piazza Grande.
At the park outside the Fortezza the Christmas market also hosts a small pony ranch on the weekends. The hours are not reliable (depend on rain, cold, etc.) but it’s an exciting event for small kids.
Eating At Il Ristoro
Eating at Il Ristoro, just beyond Piazza Grande under the Fortezza in the parking lot of Via Fiorenzuola Vecchia, is your best option for food. This temporary food court has so many options including local specialties, burgers, crepes, fried foods, Neapolitan specialties and pizza. Everyone can order what they like at a different food stall and then eat together at the communal tables in the middle.
Other Activities in Montepulciano To Consider
Montepulciano is full of other fun activities to do with or without kids. Here are some of my favorite things to do close to Piazza Grande:
- Go wine tasting at the historic wineries or at the Fortress
- Climb the Torre Civico at the town hall in Piazza Grande to get some of the best views of the Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia.
- Ride the Trolley
- Visit the Civic Museum
- Play at the park outside the Fortezza
Tip: Make a whole day of it at Montepulciano with my itineraries, adding in a Christmas market pit stop when you get to Piazza Grande.
Where To Eat At The Christmas Market In Montepulciano
The best place to eat at the Christmas market in Montepulciano is at Il Ristoro. They have regional Tuscan specialties such as beef stew and pici with meat sauce and aglione but also Chianina beef burgers and würstel from South Tyrol.
If you aren’t up for a big meal, you can choose to buy a snack such as a crepe or sandwich to share at one of the vendors.
We always choose the Chianina Station offering a wide selection of local hamburgers and pork specialties with a modern twist. I suggest the Toscanaccio, a Chianinia and Cinta Senese burger with truffles and cheese!
Things To Buy At The Christmas Market In Montepulciano
The Montepulciano Christmas market is not unlike other Christmas markets in Italy meaning, you will see stalls resembling other markets selling Christmas decorations, holiday cookies, chocolates, candies, toys, regional cheese and sausages, handmade goods, regional food specialties and wine.
At the Christmas market in Montepulciano I suggest opting for the food items that you can bring home as souvenirs and gifts because the vendors are local. While trinkets, gems, stones, magnets and ornaments are nice, they aren’t unique to this Christmas market in Italy.
My favorite items to purchase at the Christmas market in Montepulciano:
- Pecorino Cheese (ask for it vacuum packed to bring home with you)
- Local wine (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano)
- Chocolates from Tuscany
Tips For Visiting The Christmas Market In Montepulciano
- Although more busy, it’s much nicer when the sun sets and the whole square lights up with Christmas lights.
- Walk through the entire market before marking purchases (don’t miss the side road that heads up to the Fortezza).
- Warm up with hot chocolate or a glass of wine, available from various vendors
- If it’s too cold to eat outdoors at the market, warm up with a hearty bowl of ribollita at one of the many restaurants surrounding the market.
- Let our kids run free in the park at the Fortezza to warm up and unwind.
- Carry Cash. Many vendors take cards but prefer cash for small purchases.
My Favorite Restaurants Around The Montepulciano Christmas Market
Montepulciano is full of amazing restaurants but some of the best are at the very top near Piazza Grande.
Choose from one of the following restaurants in Montepulciano if you don’t feel like eating at the market but be sure to pre-book your table:
- Osteria del Conte: Best for more expensive meal just off of Piazza Grande
- Il Teatro: Best for a romantic evening under Piazza Grande
- Osteria Acquacheta: Best for families or casual dinner
For recommendations on wine tasting and wine bars in Montepulciano read My Top 5 Wine Bars (Enoteche) in Montepulciano – A Local’s Guide.