LocalitÃ?Â Crocina, Montalcino, 53024, Italy
More about Montalcino
Where we had to go for wi-fi
Abbey San Antimo in the distance
My watercolor of Abbey San Antimo
Weekend hours off-season
Interested in knowing if Montalcino or surrounding area wineries or Enoteca are open on Saturdays and Sundays off-season( November )? Are sites to visit( Castello; Abbey in Anselmo ) open?
Re: Weekend hours off-season
We've been there during the weed in late October and early Nov. Nearly everything was open, certainly the main tourist sites were. The only place we ran into closings was beach areas. On weekends you should have absolutely no trouble.
Re: Weekend hours off-season
Most sites will certainly be open as in November there are lots of people doing short weekend trips to visit the various autumn fairs that take place in Italy (mushrooms, nuts, cheese, depending on the regional speciality will be the focus theme).
The wineries do business as usual, so you should be able to visit.
Travel Tips for Montalcino
Fresh Olive Oil
My fondest memory of this whole trip is, without a doubt, Don Celso, the monk in charge of the monastery's olive mill. He didn't speak any English, but our guide translated for us as he explained their traditional methods of harvesting the olives and then pressing them into oil. We were lucky to be here right at the end of November, during the olive harvest season, and I think our guide worked quite hard to set up this appointment with him. He was featured in a wonderful article on olive oil in National Geographic magazine in September, 1999.
We were lucky enough to be able to buy two bottles of fresh olive oil from him, which he bottled by hand right in front of our eyes. It was quite a revelation to us how different fresh olive oil tastes compared to older olive oil - here in the U.S. they don't even put the date on olive oil, and most of it is many months old by the time someone buys it. We're missing out on all the best flavor this way! Now we seek out shops that import the oil seasonally each year, so we know it's from the most recent harvest. It's a whole different taste from the lifeless stuff that's been sitting around on shelves for a year or more : )
Brunello and Rosso Wines
Even if you don't have time to visit a winery, at least buy a bottle of this excellent wine, or have some with dinner while you're here. Brunello is made from Sangiovese grapes and is aged for four years total, longer than most wines. It's very full-bodied. Also it's on the expensive side, so it's a splurge for me. We were told that Italians would never drink a glass of Brunello by itself, but only with a meal. The Rosso wine is made from the same grape but only aged for a year, so is somewhat lighter, as well as less expensive. I liked that, too.
Tip from our guide at the winery - 1997 was an excellent year for Brunello : )
Civetta Super Bike
Once a year there is a mountainbike competition in Montalcino. It's on a Sunday during September. (2005: 4 September). The interesting thing about it for a tourist is that you can have free lunch in the fortress.
Chairs and tables are put on the courtyard of the castle and there are stands where you can get free wine, pasta, salade and cakes. It was all homemade and delicious.
San Antimo - interior
The Church is very basic, but beautiful. The word harmonious comes to mind- the architecture, stones, colors, light of the Church fit flawlessly in the Tuscan valley where it resides.
The main alter is surrounded by seven arches, with light emanating from the well placed windows behind. The crypt with relics of Saint Antimo lies below the alter.
Of interest inside the Church include the wooden figure of Christ above the altar. This is a work done most likely by a monk or layman who stopped here for as long as necessary to realize this work. From the 13th century it shows French influence. Also check out the capital of Daniel in the lion’s den- this done by the master of Cabestany, who’s done some other great works around Europe.
This is the small town right next to/above the Abbey of San Antimo. The photo is taken from just outside the doors of the abbey.
In the town you have the chance to vist a nice, midieval Italian town, not inundated with tourists. It is small, but has a few nice looking restaurants. Just be prepared that as it is not a major tourist center, some places will not be open all the time- i.e. afternoon reposo from 1-3:30 p.m., sundays, etc.
Popular Hotels in Montalcino