We want to rent a car and drive (~90 mins from Florence) for 2 night stay in Tuscany. Our objectives are to eat great food, drinks great wine and stay somewhere nice. I’ve never been to Italy and having a very difficult time sifting through all the info and recommendations on the interwebs.
Learn to speak a little basic Italian . Get yourself a food glossary with the Italian translation . Go explore . Have fun.
San Gimignano and Montepuliciano are my two favorite Tuscan hill towns. The former is insanely touristy for good reason. The latter is relatively quiet and has a somewhat underappreciated local wine (Vino Nobile di Montepuliciano) and in the town’s restaurants it’s easy to get great mature vintages and some of the older producers have cellars you can visit in the town proper.
Be sure to visit Pienza if you’re driving anywhere nearby.
Thanks Robert. We will check out Pienza and Montelpuciano. Pienza looks like a good mid way point between Meontelpuciano and Mantalcino.
I’m trying to stop by Dario Cecchini then will make our way down south to this area.
+1 on the two recs. For the short time you’re planning don’t dismiss San giminiano, although touristy its really a very picturesque Tuscan town. There’s a great gelato place too at the top of the town square.
While the distances between towns appear short, really takes 2x to 3x navigating the single lane windy roads and the numerous Kodak moments along the way. Traveling just takes a lot longer. You dont want to end up spending all your time driving … I.e Montalcino will probably take a good 3hrs from Florence.
Drink lots of Chianti, Brunello and savor the cured meats. Such a bargain compared to the US. Love Tuscany, even better when you avoid the mad rush of the peak summer months.
Greve in Chianti has a quaint town square to stopover if you’re headed to Dario’s.
Thanks for the driving advice Sgee. I mapped out a bunch of towns on Google Maps and I guess they don’t take into account the single lanes and windy roads. We’ll probably have to adjust our trip since we only have 2 days and I don’t want to spend all of our time driving.
We’ve got our reservation for Darios and likely doing a wine tasting tour the next day. We’re probably going to end up staying in either Pienza or Siena but leaning towards Siena.
Montalcino’s a relatively boring town compared with lots of others in the area.
Siena’s so big it’s a lot like staying in Florence. Pienza’s tiny.
THREAD DRIFT (slightly)
I am also planning to visit Tuscany and Florence this May. For those who have been (Robert?), would it be better to stay in Florence and hire a driver for two days, or rent a car and stay somewhere in Chianti for the two days? Any ideas?
I plan on visiting (probably) only three producers while there – all three of which I used to import once upon a time, in a past life: one in San Gimignano, one in Radda in Chianti, and one in the Chianti Ruffina region. Any specific restaurant recommendations are appreciated.
I think it depends on two factors (at least for me)
- how much do you want to spend?
- how much are you going to drink?
The drivers from Florence are expensive. The ones I’ve researched are in the 300-400 EU per person per day. It’s usually an all day type of excursion. If you don’t plan on drinking a lot there are places that are not too far away that you can drive to.
I found a great deal for a place that came recommended at Hotel Villa Campomaggio.
In Raddha in Chianta near some good wineries. We’re making a two day trip out of Florence going to Greve in Chianti, Dario Cechhini and some day wine tours.
OLD thread but we’re heading to Tuscany in a few weeks. For anyone seeking info Montalcino to Florence is an hour one way by train and costs about 5#. We’re basing out of Montalcino and then doing day trips to other spots.
Oops, sorry, we’re staying in Montacatini!
30 years ago there was a great restaurant on a hill just outside of Montecatini Terme that specialized in bistecca fiorentina.
Will you have a car?
We will have a car. It’s a great deal. Roundtrip air, rental car, week in a hotel with breakfast for $700pp. I’ll have to see if that place is still there. Thanks, r.
Though I might be confusing Montecatini Terme with Chianciano Terme.
Although I hate the name, this sounds like it.
Wow - Windows on the World
The name is likely to say a lot…it’s focus is on the location as well as the menu! Situated in Montecatini Alto, that is a room with a stunning view. This restaurant’s position offers an awesome vista over the Valdinievole (Nievole Valley) and especially at night when everything is illuminated. Ask for seating on the terrace: if you arrive in late afternoon, when it’s still daylight, you can enjoy the marvellous sunset on Montecatini and the closeby towns.
A sort of paradise with a rustic style. The food is simply excellent and perfectly cooked, commonly referred to as top class gourmet, service is fantastic and quick, staff welcoming and very nice and always makes all guests feel special. Tuscan steak also known as “Bistecca Fiorentina” and “Pollo al Mattone” (literally it means chicken under a brick) are their top dishes.
Address: Via Fratelli Guermani 2, 51016 Montecatini Alto, Italy
Phone: +39 0572 911381
Web Site: www.ristorantewowmontecatiniterme.com
The place I went was a rustic steak house. Location and setting look similar. If it’s the same spot they renamed, remodeled, and modernized the menu.
Easy enough to check it out. I see the steak is sold by the hectogram, a measure I wasn’t familiar with
You get a whole bistecca fiorentina (a Porterhouse, more or less), meant to be shared by two or more, and the price is AQ, that is, by weight. The Italian word for hectogram is “etto,” which you’ve seen if you’ve ever been to a market or grocery store produce section in Italy. €4 for 100 grams is €40 per kilo or around $22 a pound. The steak will typically be over a kilo and up to two kilos.