The land of Brunello, steep hills and Pici, lots of Pici.

Montalcino at sunset

The narrow streets of Montalcino


Montalcino at sunset

The narrow streets of Montalcino

Montalcino’s origins date back thousands and thousands of years, to a time when it was inhabited by Etruscans, in 800 BC—that’s 2820 years ago. Throughout the following centuries it was inhabited by farmers who produced a very large variety of products, such as olive oil, vegetables, beans and wine, in order to be self-sufficient.

The area owes its prosperity to its extremely convenient location along the Via Francigena, the route which merchants, pilgrims, Popes, kings and emperors would transit on their way to and from Rome.

Throughout the Middle Ages it was for the most part independent, even though the Guelfi (who protected the Papacy) and Ghibellini (who protected the King) fought over it. It was eventually absorbed to be part of the region of Siena, and stayed that way until Siena fell, in 1555, and it became the place where all the noblemen and noblewomen from Siena escaped to, hoping to conquer back their city eventually. They didn’t—as Montalcino was absorbed into the Granducato della Toscana, until Italy’s unification in 1861.

The municipal building, Palazzo dei Priori, in Montalcino’s centre, dates back to the 11th Century, and is adorned with multiple coats of arms, which represent all the noble families that governed Montalcino throughout the centuries.

The town’s world-wide fame is thanks to its convenient position in the middle of one of Italy’s best viticulture regions, where Sangiovese grapes are known to thrive and are transformed into Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC.

Castelnuovo dell'Abate, image by Consorzio del Brunello

Franco Biondi Santi, image by Call me wine

Corte Pavone Winery, image by Corte Pavone

Brunello di Montalcino

Castelnuovo dell'Abate, image by Consorzio del Brunello

Franco Biondi Santi, image by Call me wine

Corte Pavone Winery, image by Corte Pavone

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG is the most important enogastronomic product produced in Montalcino and its municipality. Together with Barolo DOCG, Brunello is Italy’s most world renowned and high quality red wine.

Montalcino and its municipality are particularly vocated for the production of high quality wines thanks to its terroir - the coexistence of various elements, all vital in the production of excellent enogastronomic products. Firstly, the soil: Montalcino sits upon land that has oceanic origins dating back to 5 million years ago, meaning it is a soil rich in mineral content and with many layers.

An archeological discovery was made in 2007, near Poggio alle Mura, the skeleton of a whale was found, and scientists were able to confirm that it dated back to 5 million years ago, confirming the presence of the ocean where Montalcino now stands.

Other elements that collectively form terroir are: climate (dry and warm), altitude and last but not least, the people who live and work the land.

The production of Brunello dates back to the mid 19th Century, when Clemente Santi, a local farmer, isolated some of his Sangiovese plantings with the aim of creating a single variety wine, which was 100% Sangiovese, that could be aged for a significant amount of time. Ten years later, his grandson, Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, released the first ever vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, which had been aged for over 10 years in oak barrels.

Soon after, thanks to the success and high profitability of Biondi Santi’s Brunello, many local farmers and wine makers began producing Brunello di Montalcino too.

Today, in 2020, there are 220 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG producers, spread across the various slopes and hills that surround Montalcino. Of these, 30% produce organic wine and 8 producers applied the philosophy of biodynamics, therefore producing “natural wines”.

A room of the Museo Civico e Diocesano, image by Museo Civico


Museo Civico e Diocesano

A room of the Museo Civico e Diocesano, image by Museo Civico

The Museo Civico e Diocesano of Montalcino is housed in the former convent of Sant’Agostino and has permanent collections of medieval art and archeological exhibitions, it is one of the most important and relevant collections of the whole province of Siena.

The museum is only open on weekends.

La Fortezza in Montalcino

Fortezza di Montalcino

La Fortezza in Montalcino

Montalcino’s fortress, built in 1361, is a mandatory stop in Montalcino. Halfway through the 16th Century it became the last self-defense resort of the Republic of Siena against the Medici who were quickly conquering the whole area. You can visit the walkways above the fortress walls, from which one can admire the whole of Montalcino and the rolling Tuscan landscape in the background. After the walk, be sure to stop at the great enoteca snuggled deep in the medieval walls for a glass (or two) of Brunello di Montalcino.

The Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Sant'Antimo interior, image by Edward Riddell

Sant'Antimo interior, image by Edward Riddell

Abbazia di Sant'Antimo

The Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Sant'Antimo interior, image by Edward Riddell

Sant'Antimo interior, image by Edward Riddell

The first time the name “Montalcino” was mentioned in a document was when the emperor, Ludovico il Pio, gave it in concession to the nearby Abbey of Sant’Antimo. The most important and one of the most beautiful Romanic style buildings in the whole of Tuscany.

Charles the Great, Carlo Magno in Italian, was on his way back north from visiting Rome with his loyal followers, in the 9th century, when they were forced to stop in the area of the Abbey to seek shelter from the plague. During their shelter he made a vow to God, asking him to end the plague. As soon as it was over, he decided to found the Abbey in the place that brought him such good fortune, for it must be a special place.

The Abbey is filled with bas-reliefs, paintings and sculptures who’s origin ranges between the 9th and 13th century. It is however missing the vast majority of the original monastery structure, which in the Middle Ages was the epicentre of all social life - almost like a small city. The then-monastery gathered all the public structures which were created by the Roman Empire after Charles the Great founded it. Between the 9th and 13th centuries there was great development in the Abbey, followed by a period of decline as there began to be alternative ‘social centres’—municipalities. An inevitable conflict between the feudal and modern system.

Abbazia di Sant’Antimo’s interiors are very distinct from the richly decorated Renaissance basilicas and cathedrals, although artists from all over Europe were called to decorate and adorn the Abbey. They could not express their own creativity and style freely as they were obliged to conform to the desires of the person in charge of construction work. Their presence nonetheless is a strong indication of the Abbey’s importance, and proof of a collaboration between different reigns.

The aim, in creating Sant’Antimo was that it would look like a French cathedral—something extremely rare in Italy. During your visit, look out for the Latin inscription at the Abbey’s entrance and pay close attention to the second column on the right, which was created by the Master of Cabestrany - the name given to an anonymous sculpture active in the 12th century. The column’s capital depicts the prophet Daniel who is being eaten by lions, who is then saved by God, represented by an angel.

Sant’Antimo is open Monday to Saturday from 11AM to 3:30PM, and from 10:30AM to 4:30PM on Sundays.

The Duomo, Montalcino. Image by Podere Santa Pia

Duomo di Montalcino

The Duomo, Montalcino. Image by Podere Santa Pia

Montalcino’s Duomo rises where there once used to be an Ancient Roman church built in the year 1000. Pope Pio II, born Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini in Carsignano - present day Pienza - declared it to be the Duomo in 1462. Above the first altar you can find a painting by Francesco Vanni entitled “Immacolata concezione con gesù e dio padre” completed in 1588.

Benvenuto Brunello, image by Dievole

Street dinner in Castelnuovo dell'Abate


Benvenuto Brunello, image by Dievole

Street dinner in Castelnuovo dell'Abate

February - Benvenuto Brunello
April - Corsa di Alcide (vintage car gathering)
May - Festa del Patrono (Maria Santissima del Soccorso)
June - Long Live Brunello
June - Tutto d’un Sorso (natural wine festival)
July - Cena Paesana di Sant’Angelo in Colle (open air, town dinner)
August - Festa di Mezza Estate di Castelnuovo dell’Abate (Midsummer party)
October - Sagra del Tordo
October - Sagra del Galletto di Camigliano
November - Mostra del Mercato del Tartufo Bianco delle Crete Senesi


Bike & Walk

Tavernelle to Castello di Argiano

8 km - 2 hour walking itinerary

When arriving from Montalcino, park your car at the far end of Tavernelle, in the parking lot by the recycling bins. Follow the road sings for Argiano and make your way down the dirt road, passing Poderi and olive groves until you reach an imposing villa lined by cypress trees, on your right. If you're feeling like walking a little longer, keep going straight until you reach the Medieval Argiano Castle.

Image by @albertogorlini


Alle Logge di Piazza

Champagne, Brunello & plates

Wine bar and bistro with a great wine selection in Montalcino’s main square overlooking Val d’Orcia.

Image by @eatstayseries

Trattoria il Pozzo

upscale traditional Tuscany

delicious food in a quaint hamlet overlooking endless vineyards in Sant’Angelo in Colle, just a 10 minuti drive in Montalcino.

Image by @evadotravel

Locanda Demetra

farm to table

Fresh pasta, cooking classes and kid friendly restaurant set in a traditional Tuscan farmhouse.

Image by Il Giglio

Il Giglio

traditional with a twist

A welcoming and formal restaurant with adjacent hotel in which one can savour local products and traditional dishes.

Image by Osteria Porta al Cassero

Osteria di Porta al Cassero

rustic Tuscany

A rustic, traditional and welcoming osteria in Montalino’s pedestrian centre.

Image by Locanda Franci


Drogheria e Locanda Franci

rooms with a view

Cosy suites in a historic building overlooking Montalcino’s Medieval fortress.

Image by Villa Palazzetta

Villa Palazzetta

modern villa

All the comfort and privacy of a villa, just a few hundred meters from the town centre. A breathtaking 360 view of Montalcino, Val d’Orcia and Monte Amiata.

Image by Castiglion del Bosco

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

classic luxury & golf

The epitome of classic luxury in a wonderfully secluded hotel which offers every service you could ever desire.

Image by Mastrojanni Relais

Mastrojanni Relais

vineyard stay

A brand new relais with a selection of curated suites and all the perks of residing in one of Montalcino’s best wineries.

Image by Capanna Relais

Capanna Relais

luxury farm stay

A luxurious farmhouse with a SPA and infinity pool overlooking Montalcino in the south and endless vineyards all around.

Prosciutto hanging at Poggio Stenti, image by Poggio Stenti

Wine selection at Bruno Dalmazio, image by Bruno Dalmazio

Montalcino with Val d'Orcia in the background


Prosciutto hanging at Poggio Stenti, image by Poggio Stenti

Wine selection at Bruno Dalmazio, image by Bruno Dalmazio

Montalcino with Val d'Orcia in the background

Macelleria Poggio Stenti


High quality local meat, sausages and cold cuts in Sant’Angelo Scalo, a 20 minute drive from Montalcino.

Gelateria Artigianale e Yoghurteria Why Not?

ice cream

Researched and traditional delicious ice creams in the town centre.



Quaint boutique with a great selection of made in Italy clothes.



Great selection of handmade jewellery and accessories.

Montalcino 564

textiles & ceramics

A wonderful selection of Tuscan textiles, ceramics, wines, spirits and olive oils in Montalcino's main square.

Enoteca Bruno Dalmazio

wine shop

A very well equipped and reasonably priced enoteca on road towards Siena.

La Sfinge

ceramics and more

A little quaint shop selling home goods, textiles and more.