A lovely walk through undulating and iconic landscapes, passing wineries, vineyards and olive groves galore and finishing in the splendid hill top town of Pienza.
Make your way out of Montepulciano and through one of the town's old gates before heading out into the surrounding countryside. Upon reaching San Bagio Church you will then be walking along gravel roads and past vineyards and olive groves, with Montepulciano getting smaller and smaller as you get further away from it. From the trail as you walk onto a plateau there are really great views. At times you can see Monticchiello and even Pienza in the distance. Descend for a time from the plateau and then ascend to the lovely little village of Monticchielo where you may have lunch or a refreshment. Then retrace your steps for a while descending into the wide valley before ascending again, There will be one more brief descent before making your way uphill to the very pretty hill top town of Pienza.
Definitely do not miss out on a visit to to the little village of Monticchiello from where there are amazing views across the stunning countryside all the way to Pienza. Why not sit on the terrace of a little cafe or eat your picnic lunch from the view point just before you walk through the village gate.
At times you have to walk along roads with traffic. Even though they are not very busy it is always a good idea to be vigilant.
If you are walking during the hot months we recommend starting the walk very early in the morning, then spending a couple of hours in Monticchiello, continuing to walk when the heat of the day has passed. You could have an extended lunch for just rest under the shade of an olive tree (which is what the author did). Please be aware however that the restaurants do not generally start serving lunch until 12.30pm.
Make sure you use sunscreen and a hat when it is hot and take plenty of water. Sturdy walking boots and shoes are required. Most of today's walking is along gravel roads, which can be tough on the feet.
Food & Drink ...
You can find a few cafes in Monticchiello village which is situated along your walk today. However most do not start serving lunch until 12:30pm. Or you can take a packed lunch. There are plenty of places in Montepulciano in which to buy provisions for a picnic lunch.
Some useful links ...
San Bagio Church
A beautiful domed 16th century church: this church, situated just outside of Montepulciano is considered to be Antonio da Sangallo's masterpiece. It is in the shape of a Greek cross and its design is heavily influenced by Bramante's plan for St Peter's in Rome. There are 3 orders of columns on the free-standing tower, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Make sure you take the time to look inside the interior.
Hilltop walled village of Monticchielo: The town is said to have been founded more than 1000 years ago, although the oldest structures seen today are the walls and their associated towers, and the church, both dating back 850 years! Apart from these the pleasure of a visit comes from simply strolling through the ancient streets.
Pienza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The main buildings including the cathedral, town hall adn the papal residence, all of which surround the town square (where your walk finishes) were built in just 3 years! The Pope then decreed that none of these buildings should ever be changed. Pienza has a small population of 2,300. Some of the shots from the movie "The English Patient" were filmed att the nearby Sant 'Anna Monastery. Don't miss the short walk along the wall on the southern edge of town with its wonderful views.
This activity is included in the following itineraries: