Many visitors to our area might miss this little beauty completely, passing by on their way to the more famous Pienza. But wait a moment! didn’t you say you were hoping to stumble across somewhere spellbindingly Tuscan yet not quite registering on the typical Tuscany vacation Itinerary?
In the Commune of Torrita di Siena (on the way to Pienza from Torrita Historic Centre) you’ll find Montefollonico. Look out for the left turn just beyond the Ristorante Il Botteghino at Osteria delle Noci. We got engaged there, on a spot which in the cooler Spring and Autumn must be one of the most romantic picnic locations. In front of the Church on the view; where the boulders are carved into Elephant shapes, and the views are long…
I was here today searching for a wedding location, I heard that it was possible to hold a civil wedding ceremony at a very reasonable rate somewhere here… I parked just next to the bar under a couple of huge Caper plants, flowering in the walls of the Villa on the edge of town. Passing on the Cappuccino that tempted me and heading straight to the view as the sun was getting high and the landscape bleaching out in the haze as is typical in high Summer. I took some pictures around the Parco Tondo and then headed through the gate into the little town.
I have to admit I got rather distracted by the empty, beautifully kept streets and houses with their potted Geraniums, rather forgetting the purpose of my errand. A touch of ‘trespass’ coloured my usually blatant photography. At half past ten on a Sunday morning in July I saw only very few people.
But don’t get the wrong impression, it was a sense of intimacy that took me – no feeling of not being welcome. The people that I spoke with were charming; open and helpful, directing me toward my destination with a smile, accompanying me a few paces whilst chatting.
The streets in Montefollonico are built in red and amber brick, blue-grey Pietra Serena, golden Tufo stone, and grey-white Travertine. Look out for the detailing under the roof line, the ironwork, the beautifully weathered painted doors of the houses. The Church buildings at the top of town are so suggestivo. The place is clearly medieval. I got the sense that Montefollonico used to be on the tourist maps but it has ‘fallen off’ them in recent times. Alternative languages on the shop front of the mini market, several serious looking restaurants and a few B&B’s…But like the historic centre of Torrita there are apparently no souvenir shops, there’s a nice bar, some super views and a couple of serious looking places to eat. I am out of date on where to dine (talk to us about this when you are here) so I have no favourite place to eat to suggest, but recommend it wholeheartedly as a destination: Montefollonico is a lovely hill town offering a romantic backdrop for exploring hand in hand honeymoon style. Pretty narrow streets, stone and brick work, shuttered windows and flower filled iron balconies, friendly tabby cats, the odd piece of Etruscan stone carving preserved in the walls…the lovely locals. The long long views of the valleys. Close to the house and so easy for an evening stroll, or a marriage proposal ;-)
THE DRIVE: Scenic/curvy: 10-15 minutes from the house PARK on street: be sure to use the blue spaces if not in an obvious car park. VISIT have the place more or less to yourselves if you go between 13.00 and 16.00… when everyone’s home eating pranzo SPECIAL EVENTS *Montefollonico is inexpensive for your civil marriage in Tuscany DON’T MISS The amazing views of Montepulciano, Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia from the PARCO TONDO just outside the city walls head there immediately you’ve parked your car (follow the road that brings you to the town ‘to it’s end’ as it were, between the city gate and the bar across the road) it is closed to cars just beyond the bar so carry on on foot ITINERARY A quick stop in Montefollonico en-route to Pienza or on the way home to Siena House is recommended, but it’s sweet, small and not far away, so go any time. EAT a fantastic scenic Pizza on the way home at LE MACINE or head to AL BOTTEGHINO either right en back to Siena House from Montefollonico.
Siena House is a boutique hotel in Tuscany with British owners. We write and photograph Tuscany year round as a resource for our guests publishing our insider guide to Tuscany and our blog, Tuscany Reportage.