We are back in Montepulciano, making it our base camp for exploring the surrounding hill towns of Tuscany. After renting a car in Florence and driving to San Gimignano, now here we are on Saturday evening getting settled in at Sant’ Antonio, the restored apartments on the grounds of an old monastery, in the hills around the village of Montepulciano. Late afternoon is spent meeting other guests from all over the world, who will also be spending a week here in Tuscany exploring. After our brief introduction to each other, the local maps were passed out, and we all decided to head out to the grocery store in Montepulciano before the store closes at 6pm. The store is not open on Sundays, so we must get in and get out if we want anything to eat or cook while we are at Sant’ Antonio. It was a mad dash to the grocery store! Parking is limited, and the store very busy, so we parked in the church parking lot and walked down to the store. A hint in the grocery store; we had to put one euro in the grocery cart to use it in the store and when we brought it back in we got the euro back. Also, do not touch the fruit or vegetables without putting on the plastic gloves that are provided! We were warned by our hosts about this! Although, when I shopped in the smaller shops up the hill in Montepulcinao, this did not seem to be the case. In the smaller shops the attendant was quick to help me with my selections.
We explored the hill towns during the day, all the guests going in different directions in their cars. It was fun to sit on the veranda in the evenings and over a glass of wine and nibbles find out where everyone went during the day and what they liked about the places they went to. Our neighbors to the left of us were German and Spanish. Our neighbors to the right Canadian, and in the family apartment a group, who came here every year from Hawaii. There were other guests in apartments here as well, so we were a large group of 25 or so. On one evening, during the week, we all came together to share an evening meal, prepared and served by our hosts, in the large meeting room on the premises. There was also a pool here in case you didn’t want to do a thing but relax. The other option is staying in the village of Montepulciano itself. Sant’ Antonio now offers apartments in town as well.
Another time I stayed in the Politian Apartments, when I came to Montepulciano to study Italian at the Il Sasso Language School. At that time, I didn’t have a car. The Politian Apartment was in the village. It was a huge two bedroom apartment with all the amenities, (washer, dryer, microwave, big stove and oven) and tastefully decorated with antiques. There was a beautiful walled garden that I enjoyed sitting in to do my homework. The owners were on the premises and more than helpful. There were other guests staying in other apartments, but I was up early and off to school so didn’t get to know them. We all seemed to have different agendas as they only stayed a few days and then were gone and replaced by new guests. The shops and restaurants are plentiful and the locals very friendly. Parking is LIMITED and outside of the village. The streets are pedestrian-only, but a tiny, tiny bus goes through town from the bottom of the hill to the tippy top. It only stops at the bottom of the village, (the entrance), a designated place in the middle, and the very top of the village. If you stay in the village be prepared to haul your luggage up, up, up the hill at some point! Pack light! For more highlights of Montipulciano see past blog posts about the Politian Apartments and the Il Sasso Language School. These are some reflections if you want to make Montepulciano your home base for visiting Tuscany.
Next we are off to the hill towns!
For More information about Sant’ Antonio Apartments see: http://www.santantonio.it
For more information about Politian Apartments see: http://www.politian.com