For lovers of good red wine, a visit to Montalcino is highly recommended. The birthplace of the famous Brunello wine and entirely surrounded by vineyards, this urban complex of Etruscan origin enjoys a splendid panoramic position overlooking the Orcia Valley. Still characterized by fourteenth-century Gothic buildings, Montalcino offers breathtaking scenery for anyone who is keen on the Middle Ages. Do not miss the visit to the impressive keep dominating the whole town. The fortified complex was built by the Republic of Siena in 1361 as a very important defensive garrison for the southern territories of the city. A great ally of Siena, Montalcino was the last Sienese possession to be conquered by the Florentines in the year 1559.
If you want to visit one of the Brunello wineries, it is possible to organize wine tastings with guided tours that allow you to learn about the history and the quality of one of the most famous wines in the world.
A few kilometers away from Montalcino is the Sant’Antimo Abbey, a wonderful place for nature, art, and history. Founded by the Benedictines in the VIII century as an important pilgrimage stop and destination along the Francigena Road, in the X century the abbey was awarded the imperial seal by Charlemagne, becoming one of the richest and most important places of the early Medieval period. Completely renovated in the first half of the XII century, the abbey church, the only building surviving in the entire monastic complex, is still a rare expression of a pilgrimage church in Italy, the result of Nordic workers linked to France and Lombardy. Splendid indeed are the thirteenth-century wooden sculptures inside the church and the sculpted three-dimensional decoration of the capitals, carved into travertine, onyx, and alabaster.