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Montalcino
Montalcino is an ancient hill-top town with fantastic views across the Asso, Ombrone and Arbia valleys below. Famous for the Brunello wine, Montalcino and its ancient walls are firmly on the tourist map of Tuscany.


Origins
An Etruscan dwelling in the area of what is now known as Montalcino, is recorded as far back as 814 AD. Historians believe that the dwelling existed here because of its proximity to the nearby Abbey of Sant’Antimo.
In medieval times, Montalcino was famous for leather goods such as shoes and boots produced from leather made in the local tanneries.


Today
Whilst the tanneries of Montalcino have now gone, there are many opportunities for employment in the area within Tourism or in the wine and olive oil production.
The main attraction of Montalcino are the 13th Century fortress and historical centre.


Attractions

Medieval Walls and Fortress
The Fortress at Montalcino was first built in 1361 and is in the shape of a pentagon (five sides). The southern walls, the Keep of Santo Martini, the San Giovanni tower and the ancient basilica or castle chapel are part of the original build of the Fortress. The Fortress was the seat of the Abbot of the nearby Abbey of Sant’Antimo.
The Walls had been started in the 13th Century before the plans for the fortress were completed.

Musei Riuniti
Originally a convent building, the Musei holds a collection of various religious works across the centuries, including 2 beautiful 15th Century sculptures made of wood, some of terracotta and some noted artwork by Italian painters.

The Duomo
The San Salvatore Cathedral dates back to the 14th Century but was renovated in the 19th Century which has given it more of a neo-classical appearance.

The main piazza and streets
Montalcino is similar to many of the ancient Tuscan cities and is divided into different quarters (contrade). Throughout the contrade are beautiful buildings and churches along with stunning views across the valleys below and a walk around the streets of the town are certainly worth including in any itinerary for a day out in Montalcino.
The Piazza del Popolo is full of medieval buildings and a tower very much worthy of photos.

The Abbey of Sant’Antimo
On the outskirts of Montalcino, the Abbey of Sant’Antimo stands out amongst the countryside. Originally a Benedictine Monastery and hostel for religious visitors of 714 AD and visited by Charlemagne on his return from a trip to Rome, it was granted Abbey status in the 814 AD. At the height of its power, the Abbey controlled 96 castles and 85 other churches and monasteries.


Activities
Below are some ideas of things to do in and around Montalcino. More information and ideas can be found on the Montalcino website (an English language version is being completed)
http://www.prolocomontalcino.it/ 

Wine estates
Castello Banfi

In 2007, Castello Banfi became more famous for the discovery of a fossilised whale skeleton than its normal Brunello wines.

Lambardi
Canalicchio di Sotto is near to the turning from Buonconvento.

Palmuccis
Run by a husband and wife team, visits can be made to the Fattoria Poggio Di Sotto.

Market
Takes place every Friday morning

Local produce
Montalcino produces local honey, salamis and cheese. The salamis are made from a mixture of the Cinta Senese pigs and wild boar.


Events
Montalcino plays host to a number of events throughout the year from cycle tours and jazz festivals to ballets and wine festivals. Details of all the events can be found on the local tourist information website - http://www.prolocomontalcino.it/


SHOPPING

Food Stores

There is a main COOP supermarket in Via S. Antonio. Other smaller grocery stores can be found throughout Montalcino.
These are normally open Monday – Friday from 9am - 1pm and 4pm – 7pm. Saturday 10am – 1pm

Market
A small ‘local’ market is held here every Friday.

Chemists
Main chemists can be found in Corso Mateotti Giacomo and Piazza del Popolo

Banks
There are various banks in Montalcino with cash dispensers that accept credit cards.

Tourist Information Office
A local tourist information office can be found in Via Costa del Municipio. Ph: +39 0577 849331. Here you can find local maps, public transport information, information about local vineyards, trekking and biking trails and guided walks. Various posters and pamphlets are also provided. Tickets for local concerts and theatre shows can also be bought here.
During the summer months (April – Oct) it is open every day from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5.50pm
During the winter months (November – March) it’s open from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5.50pm. Closed on Monday


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