Val d'Orcia

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Private Montalcino & Brunello Wine Tour

Siena- Landscape
Montalcino - tettiBrunello Montalcino - BottlesTuscany - landscapeMontalcino - ViewMontalcino - San Antimo - ViewMontalcino - viewMontalcino - panoramaBrunello di Montalcino - wineyardsSiena - Clay Hills

From: $88.20

TOUR DURATION

4 Hours

START TIME

09:00 AM

02:00 PM

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

MEETING POINT

Pick up at your Hotel, more details at booking

Tour
Itinerary
Tour
Inclusions
Tour
Information

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Your driver will meet you at your hotel to take you on your full day excursion to the medieval town of Montalcino, travelling through the land that produces the fine Brunello wine.

You will be driven via Brunello Road, then through the dusty and narrow wandering roads that disappear from view amidst the meandering clay hills of Siena. Old farmhouses surrounded by ancient Cyprus trees stand as a testimonial to an agricultural past. Before arriving to Montalcino, you will make a brief stop to visit the Siena Clay Hills, a strange moon-like landscape that is the subject of many photos and artworks in Tuscany.

Continue to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, an impressive monastery whose true origins are wrapped in mystery. Discover its fascinating architecture and religious treasures, and even assist with the Gregorian Melodies. Get back to your driver to finally reach Montalcino, a charming fortified hilltop town best known for its medieval architecture and production of the prestigious Brunello wine. This wine is a medium bodied dark red with a fruity aroma and dark, peppery notes. You will have the opportunity to visit one of Montalcino’s famous wineries where you will enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by local cheeses and cold cuts.

TOUR INCLUSIONS

– Round trip transportation with private car

– Expert English speaking driver and guide

– Visit of Abbey of St Antimo

– Visit of Montalcino

– Wine  Tasting and snack in a local wine estate

-Wine tasting of Brunello wine, Altero wine  and Madre wine

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

– Montalcino

– Val d’Orcia

– Abbey of St Antimo

– Visit of local Brunello vineyard and cellars

– Brunello wine tasting and other two local wines

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking

– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.

– Adult pricing applies to all travelers.

– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in Churches. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts.

Departure point:

Pick-up at your accommodation

Duration:
4 hours

Return details:
Drop-off at your Accommodation

Pecorino di Pienza

Pecorino di Pienza - Selection
Pecorino di PienzaPecorino di Pienza - SheepMontepulciano - Gattavechi Cheese Tasting

The delicious Pecorino di Pienza is a Tuscan Pecorino, one of the oldest cheeses of the world. It is made from 100% whole sheep milk.

The word Pecorino derives form Pecora that means sheep in Italian.

The Tuscan Pecorino is a sweeter and milder version of the ones produced in southern Italy.

There are three different kind of Pecorino: Fresco (fresh), semi-stagionato and stagionato (seasoned).  The Pecorino Fresco is aged for a minimum of 40 days and a maximum of 2 months; the semi-stagionato one is matured for up to 4 months and the Stagionato between 4 and 18 months.

The Pecorino di Pienza is becoming one of the most famous cheeses of the region.

Pienza is located in the Val d’Orcia, between Montalcino and Montepulciano, two cities famous for the wine production.

The area of Pienza is very different from the rest of the Tuscany; the dry clay earth is not easy to cultivate. Probably for this reason since before the Etruscan period sheep are being raised here.

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The Pecorino di Pienza is today mostly made with veal rennet; however the more traditional cheese makers still use rennet made from plants.

The raw milk used for the production of the Pecorino enters right away the cheese-making procedure.

After the coagulation with the animal or vegetable rennet the cheese is marinated with vinegar and salt or left to dry. Then the Pecorino is left to mature in humid rooms in the Caseificio (the Dairy). The wheels of cheese are covered with walnut leafs and intermittently moistened with Tuscan Olive Oil and covered with grease and wax.

The Pecorino di Pienza is superb when pared with Montalcino’s chestnut honey and Tuscan wine, especially Chianti and Vino Nobile.

 

 

Pienza

Pienza - view
Pienza - WellPienza - Duomo - FacadePienza - Church - Side view

Pienza is part of the province of Siena, located in the Val d’Orcia, Tuscany.

Until the beginning of the 15th century the name of the town was Corsignano. Here was born Enea Silvio Piccolomini who later became Pope Pius II. He was a Renaissance humanist that decided to have the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance one. The city was the first example of humanist urban planning projects. Many Italian and European cities later adopted this model.

The project was given to Bernardo Rossellino an architect from Florence; he was very popular at the time. In 1459 the rebuild started. Only three years later the Duomo was consecrated by the Pope.

The UNESCO declared Pienza a World Heritage Site in 1996 and 10 years later the Val d’Orcia became part of the UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes.

The most important buildings of Pienza are located in the central Piazza PIo II. Remodeling the old Corsignano’s piazza Rossellino had to give the new one a trapezoidal form in order to fit all the buildings he planned.

The principal Palace of the city is Palazzo Piccolomini; it is situated on the west side of Piazza Pio II. The building has a gorgeous internal court. From the loggia located on the back of the palace is possible to enjoy a stunning view of the Val d’Orcia.

Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, who will become Pope Alexander VI, financed the construction of the Palazzo Vescovile. The palace was built to accommodate the Bishop who would spend time in the city to attend the Pope. Today the building houses the Diocesan Museum and the Cathedral Museum.

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The Duomo is one of the first examples of Renaissance Cathedral. However the bell tower resembles the German style. Pius II in fact, before he became Pope, had spent many years in Germany and had always admired the effects of light in the German churches.

When the village of Corsignano became the city of Pienza a town hall was required. The Palazzo Comunale was built right across the Duomo; probably Rossellino choose this location to separate the religious space dedicated to the Cathedral from the secular market square located right behind it. The Palazzo Comunale’s bell tower is shorter than the Cathedral’s to remind the population the church’s superior power.

Abbey of Sant’Antimo

Montalcino - San Antimo - View
Sant'Antimo Abbey - View

Located just a few miles from Montalcino is a large and mysterious building whose true origins are still obscure today. The Abbey of Sant'Antimo is believed to have been built some time during Late Antiquity, with the earliest document confirming its existence dating from the 800s. The current church was actually built in the early 12th century at the bequest of Count Bernardo degli Ardengheschi.

The church quickly became one of the biggest powers in the area, having authority over 38 local churches and owning several hundreds of acres of farmland throughout Tuscany; the church even had control of the Castle of Montalcino, which both protected the area and housed the abbot. The abbey began to decline a century later, due primarily to Siena’s aggressive expansionism and the loss of much of its territory, including Montalcino. The abbey’s decline continued into the 15th century, despite the Church’s attempts at reviving it; it was completely abandoned and left to decay until the 19th century, eventually getting restored in the 1870s. Today, the abbey has resumed function and houses a new religious community of Canons Regular of the Order of Premontre.

Things to see

The building is Carolingian in architecture, with French and Italian influences throughout. Some of the most notable highlights are the frescoes by Giovanni d’Asciano, the French-inspired groin vaulted ambulatory, the crypt and, above all, the capital with Daniel and the Lions.

Siena Clay hills

Tuscany - Farmhouse
Siena- LandscapeSiena - Clay HillsTuscany - landscapeSiena - Clay Hills -  viewSiena - Clay Hills - landscapeSiena- Clay Hills - day view

Just south of Siena is a particular area called the Crete Senesi, or Sienese Clay Hills. This range of hills is composed of grey clay which gives the landscape an odd, moon-like appearance, broken only by a few lonely cypress and oak trees, and a few isolated farms.

The sediments of clay date back to the Pliocene, when the area was covered by sea between 2.5 and 4.5 million years ago. Now, the area is a gorgeous touristic attraction that is also famous for its production of the rare white truffle.

Things to see

The closest towns in the area are Asciano, a well preserved medieval village, and San Giovanni d’Asso, a small medieval hamlet guarded by a large castle. Asciano is known for its Etruscan Museum, housed in the Gothic Church of San Bernardino, as well as the Romanesque Basilica of Sant’Agata, which houses the Museum of Sacred Art and the Archeological Museum. The impressive castle that overlooks the hills around San Giovanni d’Asso houses the Truffle Museum, and is also the home of a festival that celebrates the history and harvest of the local truffles.