When we think of Tuscan wine it’s so easy to get distracted by thoughts of Brunello and Chianti, then move on to the Super Tuscans, totally glossing over many great wines. The greatest mistake many people make is to ignore Montepulciano, or rather the wines of Montepulciano: Vino Nobile and Rosso di Montepulciano.
Let me rephrase that just a little, missing the village of Montepulciano is almost as big a mistake as is missing the region’s wines. Montepulciano, besides being the star of some recent vampire movie, is a wonderful little hilltop town that feels untouched by the passage of time.
Travel Tip - A day trip to SienaSiena is famous for its Piazza del Campo, where the famous Il Palio horse race is run each year. It's a beautiful Piazza, and a huge tourist attraction, but do yourself a favor and skip the many restaurants that line its perimeter. You can do much better than a crappy pizzza. How about artisinal salumi and prosciutto? Visit the Consorzio Agrario di Siena and have them make a perfect sandwich to order.
The Consorzio Agrario di Siena is pretty much just a fancy name for a little grocery store. It’s not that simple of a grocery store, though, since it’s packed with artisanal meats, cheese, and condiments, as well as the staples; if you want a sandwich there is no better place to go in Siena.
Here’s how it works. You enter the store and walk past the counter toward the wooden shelves on the back wall. There you’ll find the machine to get your numbered ticket (very important here) and all the breads. The breads are frequently wrapped together in packages of two. Don’t worry if you only want one sandwich, the folks at the counter will open the pack and make exactly what you want.
In my case, that was one pannino made with Salame Toscane and cheese, and one with Prosciutto Falorni. I grabbed a bottle of mineral water on my way to the check out and paid a grand total of just over 5 Euros. I then headed off to the Piazza del Campo to enjoy my lunch al fresco, enjoying the day, and the sights of bustling Siena. Crappy 10 Euro pizza? No thanks, I just ate!