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Looking up a street


We swung through tiny Montalcino to visit a winery and have dinner. It was a quick, but rewarding trip. The town is on a steep hill overlooking the Orcia valley, full of vineyards, orchards and olive groves, surrounded by walls and overlooked by a castle. The many enoteches offer tastings and will sell you as […]

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Well-stocked shop

La Bottega del Nobile, Montapulciano

This was our favorite wine shop in tiny but saturated Montapulciano. La Bottega del Nobile carries more than 300 labels of Tuscan wine- everything from Vino Nobile dii Montepulciano to Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Super Tuscans and more. The young sommelier owner, Cesare, was eager to talk about local wines, show off his wares […]

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Overlooking Valdichiana


I’ve always enjoyed Montapulciano wines, so I was really excited to go to the source of beloved Vino Nobile! It wasn’t surprising that this small town (14,000 residents) was saturated with wine shops, wineries, wine accoutrements and restaurants serving wine. As the town is mostly pedestrians-only, we parked right outside the town walls and walked […]

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Award-winning olive oil

Poggio Antico, Montalcino

Poggio Antico produces what Montalcino is most famous for – Brunello di Montalcino. We tasted two Brunellos and a Super Tuscan. The microclimate, high altitude and winemaking process contribute to turning out elegant, complex wines. Poggio adheres to the traditional method and refines the wine in barrels for at least three years and in bottles […]

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The main street

San Gimignano, Italy

I knew San Gimignano, a walled town in the province of Siena, was best known for its skyline medieval skyscrapers, but I was still surprised to see them in this otherwise pastoral area. Of 72 original towers, 14 have survived. Most of the towers were built in the 12th and 13th centuries and were symbols […]

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The grand palazzo

Palazzo Communale, Siena

13th-century Palazzo Communale was built as Piazza del Campo’s centerpiece. Its concave façade mirrors the piazza’s opposing convex curve. The structure was built to house the government. Today, the council still offices in the upper levels, but the main rooms house the Museo Civico. The marble chapel at the base of the tower, the Cappella […]

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Busy piazza

Piazza del Campo, Siena

14th-century hilly Piazza del Campo is the heart of the city and the former site of a Roman marketplace. It is divided into nine sections, which represents the number of ruling council members in the Consiglio dei Nove (Council of Nine), an elected executive committee dominated by the mercantile class. 15th-century Fonte Gaia, or Happy […]

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Chianti Hills

Hotel Villa Scacciapensieri, Siena

This 19th-century villa is about 2 km north of Siena on a hill with views of the Chianti wine region. Since we wanted to explore the area, it was easiest to stay outside a city. Also, my husband and I were training for a marathon, so we needed areas where we could get some long […]

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Bell tower

Duomo di Siena

In a country overrun with churches, Siena’s 13th-century Romanesque and Gothic Duomo really stands out. This striped marble building is one of the most striking cathedrals I’ve ever seen. The interior pops with bold bands of black and white (the colors of Siena’s coat of arms) and vivid blue vaults. The inlaid-marble floor depicts historical […]

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We stumbled into a car show

Siena, Italy

Siena is a striking, well-preserved Gothic city. Many of the original buildings remain, and few new structures have been built, mostly due to limited resources after its 13th-century boom and subsequent bust. Myth has it that Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, but it was likely founded by the Etruscans and established as […]

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