Travel bucket list idea:
Walk from Montalcino to Sant Antimo
Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy|
This beautiful 3-hour walk leads through farmland and vineyards (this is Brunello wine country), passing old farmhouses and tiny stone hamlets that seem caught in a time warp.
It begins in the lovely old town of Montalcino, famous for its production of red Brunello wines. There is only a short stretch on an asphalt road; otherwise, there is no traffic, just eyefuls of glorious scenery and a feeling of being very much away from it all. The route finishes at the ravishing abbey of Sant’Antimo, where, if you are lucky, you can hear the resident monks singing Gregorian chant at evensong.
Getting there & doing it
The walk starts in Montalcino near the southwest tip of the Fortezza, along Via del Poggiolo, which soon turns into a country path. The route passes along rough country tracks, through woods, along panoramic hillsides with only a short stretch on asphalted road. There’s a certain amount of uphill walking involved, but nothing too strenuous.
Past the half-way mark, the route meets the charming 13th-century hamlet of Villa a Tolli. Soon after this, the abbey of Sant’Antimo comes into view below, set among olive trees and vineyards. The route is well-marked, but a local walking map is recommended.
It’s best to start in Montalcino and catch a local bus back from Sant’Antimo, so you need to time the walk to coincide with the bus times (the last one leaves at around 5pm and there is no service on Sundays). You can also arrange a taxi service in Montalcino: ask in the tourist office for details. They can also supply maps.
When to do it
The route is accessible all year; in summer you are likely to have quite a lot of company along the way, but in winter it’s quite possible not to see another soul for the whole route. In July and August, it’s advisable to avoid the hottest hours of the day; start first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience
The astonishingly beautiful region of Tuscany has it all: art cities and ancient hill towns, high mountains and long sandy beaches, alongside luxurious hotels and some of Italy’s best food and wine.