View of Montepulciano buildings from afar.
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Montepulciano, Italy – A Traveler’s Guide Written By A Local

Last updated on July 22nd, 2024

Do you have plans to visit Montepulciano? Are you looking for tips and advice on how to make the most of your time in town?

I have lived just around the corner from Montepulciano Italy for over 10 years now and our family spends quite a bit of time in this beautiful Tuscan town. 

After years of visiting Montepulciano Italy both as a tourist and now as a resident, I am confident in sharing my best travel advice for your time here. Don’t waste any time trying to figure out parking, questioning what you should be doing or when you should be coming.

Whether you are just getting started planning your trip or are driving to Montepulciano as you read, you are in the right place!

In this article, I will include my top tips based on first hand experience for:

  • Pronouncing Montepulciano
  • Best time of year to visit Montepulciano
  • How much time to spend in Montepulciano
  • How to get to Montepulciano
  • Parking in Montepulciano
  • Where to go shopping in Montepulciano
  • Montepulciano’s best restaurants
  • Wineries in Montepulciano

How To Pronounce Montepulciano

Montepulciano is pronounced mohn-teh-pool-CHAH-noh in Italian and is located in Southern Tuscany, where I live, between two valleys – Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia. 

Listen to the pronunciation of Montepulciano here:

Best Time Of Year To Visit Montepulciano

Piazza Grande, empty, in Montepulciano, Italy.

I think the best time to visit Montepulciano is in the Fall (October-November) and early Spring (March-early April). Montepulciano is a small village and feels so overly crowded quite easily.  The holidays are also lovely, as Montepulciano’s Christmas market is one of the best in Tuscany.

The streets are narrow, the storefronts are small and restaurants fill up quickly. To avoid the crowds and truly get the most out of your experience, come in the off season in the Fall and Spring. You will still find everything you want to see open, the weather is more mild and the crowds have significantly gone down. 

Good To Know: For wine lovers, the best time of year to visit Montepulciano is in the fall when the vendemmia or grape harvest is well underway. You can tour many of the most famous wineries in Southern Tuscany and see them in action as they prepare their new vintages. 

How Much Time Do You Need in Montepulciano?

Barrels at winery in Montepulciano, Italy.

As a visitor, I would suggest anywhere from half a day to an entire day in Montepulciano.

If you just want to walk around, maybe sit down to taste a couple of wines and have a meal, I suggest either a morning or afternoon. 

If, however, you are more interested in leisurely touring Montepulciano with a visit to the beautiful San Biagio Temple and a wine tour, plan to spend at least a day here. 

Looking for all the best things to do in Montepulciano? Don’t miss my comprehensive guide to What to See and Do In Montepulciano, Italy.

Tip: If you are traveling to Montepulciano with kids, I suggest a full day, especially in the summer months. There are two parks to chill out at and Piazza grande is a fabulous place for them to run around. 

Looking to spend one day or less in Montepulciano? Read my one day itinerary for Montepulciano and half day itinerary in Montepulciano!

How To Get To Montepulciano

The best way to get to Montepulciano is by car. Montepulciano is a great day trip in Southern Tuscany as it’s not too far from some of Italy’s top destinations:

  • San Casciano dei Bagni: 55 minutes
  • Cetona: 40 minutes
  • Florence: 1.5 hour drive
  • Pienza: 20 minute drive
  • Siena: 1 hour drive
  • Arezzo: 1 hour drive
  • Montalcino: 40 minute drive
  • San Quirico d’Orcia: 30 minute drive

There is no train station that brings you directly to the village. Rather, the Montepulciano station is located several miles away from the  historic center. If, however, this is your only option, you can take either a bus or taxi to the bus station, called the autostazione. 

The other closest train station hub is in Chiusi, about 25 minutes away. Chiusi is relatively well connected to other major Italian cities such as Florence and Rome but you will either need to rent a car or take a bus to Montepulciano upon arrival. 

Parking in Montepulciano

Parking signs for town of Montepulciano, Italy.

There are a total of eight parking lots in Montepulciano, just outside of the historic city center, the closest being parking lot P1 at the base of the main entrance to Montepulciano at Porta al Prato. Here there is also a bathroom and information point. 

The other seven lots are scattered around the edges of the city with lot 8 being the closest to the top of Montepulciano next to the Fortezza. 

All the parking lots are marked by a large blue sign with a “P” indicating public parking. You can pay for your parking with a credit card at the small machine and put the ticket well displayed on your car’s dashboard. 

Looking for a covered lot? Parking P6’s lower section is covered. 

Good To Know: If you park at lot P5 or arrive by bus at the autostazione, there is an elevator or ascensore that will take you up to the Giardini di Poggiofanti at the base of the entrance to Montepulciano. 

You might notice many tourists parking at the CONAD grocery store covered garage or outdoor 1 hour parking lot. You can park here but only for one hour (they do give tickets here) and if you choose the covered lot, it’s only free for two hours and you need to then go into the CONAD grocery store to have your parking ticket validated to get out. It’s really more of a hassle to park here than to walk the extra 5 minutes from one of the further lots such as P7 or P3. 

Summer Travelers: Keep in mind that Montepulciano is extremely busy in the summer, which can make parking challenging. Plan on arriving in Montepulciano on the earlier side, before 9:00 am, to avoid parking troubles!

How To Get Around Montepulciano

Huge stone wall with large archway in Italian village.

The best way to visit Montepulciano is on foot. This small Tuscan village is relatively small but being on a hill, there is some steep climbing involved to get to the top of Piazza Grande. 

Even if you only have half a day in Montepulciano, so much of what makes your experience as a first time traveler is the time you spend exploring the streets and taking your time to walk up to the Fortezza. 

If for any reason walking is not an option or you need a break, you can look into the local bus AutoLinee Toscane, which does run buses (number FT) up to the top of Piazza Grande. Check seasonal timetables online here. You can easily purchase tickets online or at tabacchi, which are small newsstands marked with a large black sign with a white “T”.

Hand holding tour brochure for Montepulciano, Italy.

You can also opt to hop onto the Montepulciano trolley for a tour of the village, which will also take you up to Piazza Grande. 

Tourist Office Montepulciano

There are two tourist offices located in Montepulciano. The first is at the base of the village in the P1 parking lot just outside of Porta al Prato, open Monday-Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

The second tourist office is located at the top of Montepulciano in Piazza Grande, just beside the large fountain and bar, holding similar hours. 

Montepulciano’s Best Restaurants

People sitting at small, tall tables with umbrellas in front of an enoteca in a small Italian town.

There are so many amazing restaurants in Montepulciano, no matter what kind of food you are looking for. Whether it’s just a glass of wine and a charcuterie board, a full Tuscan meal with traditional poliziano cooking (the local cooking of Montepulciano), or a quick pizza, there is something for you.  

For a full guide to eating in Montepulciano, read My Favorite Montepulciano Restaurants.

Plate of pici pasta at restaurant in Italy.
The pici pasta al cacio e pepe that I ordered at La Briciola in Montepulciano.

My family’s favorite spots for lunch in Montepulciano:

  • Acquachetta – Best authentic, casual restaurant with shared tables
  • Vineria – best for tagliere (charcuterie and cheese boards)
  • Osteria del Conte – Best family friendly restaurant 
  • La Briciola – Best local cuisine 

Wineries in Montepulciano

Hand holding up wine glass with a small amount of red wine. There are wine bottles stacked and displayed behind it.

One of Montepulciano’s top attractions is its world-famous wine, il rosso di Montepulciano. Don’t miss the eight historic cantine or wineries, most of which are located within the village walls. 

My favorite historic wineries in Montepulciano:

  • Cantina De’ Ricci – Best underground tour
  • Contucci – Oldest and best location in Piazza Grande
  • Fattoria della Talosa – Best hidden gem and usually less crowded
Wine bottles stacked at Talosa Winery.

If you are looking to spend more time in Montepulciano and get outside the city into the countryside, consider visiting one of the 70+ wineries. For these visits, I highly recommend pre-booking a wine tasting and visit to make the most of your time. 

My favorite wineries outside Montepulciano city center:

Bottles of wine in wooden box shelf on stone wall.
  • Macchione – Best for natural wines
  • Combarbia – Best for natural wines
  • Sanguinetto – Best family-run winery
  • Valdipiatta – great atmosphere and friendly owners
  • Avignonesi – largest and most famous

Shopping in Montepulciano

Woman at entrance of truffle shop in Italian village. Displays of truffle products to left of door.

Although Montepulciano still has a very active local community, the town also caters to the large amount of tourism, offering several shops to get great souvenirs and gifts to bring home.

Apart from the usual wine that you are sure to stuff your suitcase with, be sure to check out some of Montepulciano’s other beautiful storefronts. 

I highly recommend these shops:

  • Tartufo Montepulciano – truffle shop towards the top of the village (not the one at the base)
  • Cugusi pecorino cheese shop
  • Bottega del Rame – copper store
  • Alimentari Enoteca Lo Sfizio Montepulciano – for canned goods
  • Eredi Biagianti – best for textiles, tea towels, hand woven fabrics, etc. 
Entrance to cheese shop in Montepulciano. You can see the cheeses in refrigerated cases inside.

These are just some examples of gift shops that I have purchased from in the past.  There are several high end clothing stores, home decor stores and leather shops to browse as well.  

Enoteca Montepulciano

Entrance to an enoteca in Montepulciano, Italy. You can see displays of wine bottles inside the doorway and there are also wine bottles displayed on a shelf to the left of the door, outside.

Enoteche (plural of enoteca) in Montepulciano are great little wine bars selling a wide selection of wines to bring home with you. Stop in and sit down for a glass and a small snack or feel free to go directly to the counter and ask for a bottle to bring home with you. 

My favorite wine shops for wine in Montepulciano:

  • Base of Montepulciano: Vini Di Toscani
  • Midtown: Borgo Di Vino (higher end) and Alimentari Enoteca Lo Sfizio (more casual)
  • Top of Montepulciano: Enoliteca

Read more about my top recommendations for wine bars in Montepulciano in Top 5 Montepulciano Enoteche.

Entrance to Vini di Toscana shop in Montepulciano, Italy. The doorway is arched and there are wines on shelves on either side of the door.

Markets Montepulciano

Man looking at stalls at outdoor market in Italy. You can see plants and clothing for sale.

Every Thursday morning in Montepulciano, the weekly open-air market is held in the large P5 parking lot, with around 40 vendors selling an array of goods from clothing and fabric to plants and vegetables. You can find just about anything you want here, including some great street food and local products. 

Tip: Don’t miss the porchetta panino, a pork sandwich made with sliced roasted pork with a crispy, crackling pork rind and lots of herbs. Look for them from one of the food trucks on the backend of the market. 

Public Restrooms Montepulciano

Italy might not be well-known for their public bathrooms but Montepulciano does have three bagni pubblici:

  1. Downtown: There is one public restroom located in parking lot P1 next to the tourist office.
  2. Midtown: Stop in to the right of the Sant’Agostino church at the public restrooms. 
  3. Top of Montepulciano: Another one is just outside Piazza Grande on the backend of the Town Hall (look for white W.C. signs).

Looking for a cleaner experience? My best advice is to go to any bar, order a coffee standing at the counter and kindly help yourself to their facilities after paying. In my experience, the €1.50 spent on coffee is well worth the clean bathroom with soap and toilet paper, especially if you are traveling with children. 

Grocery Shopping in Montepulciano

View of glass door and window entrance to a Conad grocery store in Italy.
The Conad grocery store in Montepulciano

There is a large grocery store just outside the city walls at the base of Montepulciano called CONAD. Here you can get everything you need to cook meals if you are staying at an apartment, agritourisms or other accommodations equipped with a kitchen.

You can also pick up lots of snacks, pizza or sandwiches to eat on the go. 

Bike Rentals in Montepulciano

E-bikes and normal bikes outside a bike shop in Montepulciano, Italy.

Montepulciano is a great place to rent bikes and tour Southern Tuscany. There are two main companies, Urban Bikery located just outside of Piazza Grande and ByBike just below the CONAD outside the center of Montepulciano.

Both bike companies offer tours as well as individual ebike rentals. 

Entrance to bike rental shop in Italian village. Stone walls and wooden door. Bike to left of door.

Consider visiting the following neighboring towns while touring Tuscany by bike:

Bike rental stalls in Italian village.

Available Now: The Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia have teamed up to offer a hop-on, hop-off, bike rental formula with ebike stations dotted throughout Southern Tuscany, making it easy to bike from one hilltop town to another without returning the bikes to the original rental shop location. It’s now open for business, making it easy to return bikes in any of the surrounding towns!