Of course, you’ll want to start the day as the locals do with an espresso or cappuccino at one of the two coffee bars in Cinigiano. Should you visit on a Tuesday take some extra time, as this is the weekly market day and you can stock up on fruit and vegetables or just enjoy a bit of people-watching. Then drive to Porrona. Castello di Porrona is a hotel today, but part of the hamlet surrounding the castle is still privately owned and the fields, olive groves and cypress lined roads in the area make for the perfect Tuscan background.
From Porrona drive on towards Monticello Amiata. During the 15 minutes’ drive the landscape changes completely: vineyards are substituted by shady chestnut groves and wheat fields by woods. Have a stroll through Monticello’s old town centre before you follow one of the signed out hiking trails that will take you through ancient chestnut groves. Bring along a picnic and enjoy the fantastic panorama views that stretch from mount Amiata all the way to the Tuscan coast.
Or spend the afternoon at the Basile winery for a wine tasting with equally gorgeous views. Cinigiano and Monticello belong to Montecucco territory, a young DOCG which isn’t as well known yet as Brunello di Montalcino on the opposite side of the valley. However, this may change soon as Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau have been spotted sharing a bottle of Basile wine during a recent lunch meeting.
After your tasting follow directions for restaurant Lucherino in Monticello Amiata. Sunsets are fabulous from up here, but locals return to this simple family run restaurant for its handmade tortelli Maremmani - the large ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese – and for fresh porcini mushrooms found on the slopes of mount Amiata.