Montalcino to Sant'Antimo

Montalcino

Route: Montalcino to Sant’Antimo

Area: Italy, Tuscany

Date of walk: 8th October 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 8.2 miles

Ascent: 1,000 feet

Weather: Sunshine and cloudless blue skies

Today’s walk was another linear one, and we’d checked in advance that we would have sufficient time to complete the walk in time to catch the local Tiemme bus back to the start

From our base near Pienza we drove over to the famous medieval walled town of Montalcino, which stands on an elevated ridge and can be seen for miles around. The hills which surround it are planted with vines dedicated to the production of Brunello di Montalcino and Rossi di Montalcino, and the town offers plenty of tasting and buying opportunities for anyone partial to a glass or more of red wine

We parked just below the Rocca, the 14th century fortress which formerly guarded the town against attack. We decided to look around Montalcino at the end of the walk – if we missed the return bus there would be no others

We left the town along Via del Poggiolo, which offered some good views back, and we then followed a succession of paths and dirt tracks mostly through scrubby woodland. This restricted the views, but did at least have the merit of shading us from the hot sun. The woodland section lasted rather too long for us, and it was a welcome change when we at last emerged into open countryside, with some extensive views

As we started the long but easy descent we left the main track briefly to walk through the historic hamlet of Villa a Tolli, which dates back to the 13th century and is a charming little place. Beyond the hamlet another woodland section followed and beyond it we arrived at our destination, the abbey of Sant’Antimo, set among old olive trees and cypresses. After wandering around the abbey and its grounds we joined the road and climbed up to the quiet medieval village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. We had sufficient time before the bus arrived to wander around this lovely place, which is worth a visit in its own right

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