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Buongiorno and welcome to Stefano's RomeCabs! Our exclusive Tuscany, Castles, and Wine Tour takes you on an unforgettable Tuscany tour from Rome to visit the remarkable historical towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino which reign supreme as two of Italy’s top wine-producing towns.
Enjoy free time on your own for sightseeing and tasting locally produced wines available at local wine shops in the towns. Drive through the heart of Tuscany’s Brunello wine country to visit the enchanting Castello Banfi wine estate and sample a selection of its exquisite wines at the elegant Enoteca (wine shop).
* Prices do NOT include Wine Tasting Fees at the wine shops (see more info below)
** You may also do a QUICK PRICE CHECK using the Price Check & Booking Form on the Right Side of this page. Once you receive the PRICE QUOTE based on the information you input, you may proceed to SUBMIT your Tour Request.
*** Dates on the Booking Form Calendar that are NOT Selectable, are NOT AVAILABLE.
Your personal English-speaking driver will meet you at your hotel accommodation in Rome in your private deluxe vehicle. You will journey from Rome through the picturesque landscapes of southern Tuscany to your first destination: Montepulciano.
Montepulciano is a captivating hilltop town filled with magnificent palazzi, local Tuscan charm, excellent wines, and enthralling views of Valley of Chiana (Val di Chiana).
Montepulciano’s history goes back to ancient times as an Etruscan city named Nocera Alfaterna with vestiges of its ancient past still visible today. During Medieval times, Montepulciano was controlled by Florence and Sienna.
While Tuscany is celebrated for its exceptional wines, Montepulciano was crowned “King of all Wines” in the famous poem, “Bacchus in Tuscany” written by 17th-century poet Francesco Redi.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Noble Wine of Montepulciano ), was first documented as far back as 789 AD, making it one of Tuscany’s most ancient wines. Since the 15h century, this classic red was considered a sophisticated wine for the table of nobles and preferred by Italy’s aristocracy and royalty.
Pope Paul III’s cellarman, Sante Lancerio, described Montelcino’s wine as “very perfect and suit to the taste of gentlemen”. Montepulciano’s wine earned its title of “Noble” (Nobile in Italian) in 1787, a title that still holds firmly to its glory and history. Learn more about the history and characteristics of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano below.
It is possible to enjoy wine tastings throughout Montepulciano’s wine shops (enoteche) and wine cellars owned by top local wine producers. The presence of so many wine shops in Montepulciano conveniently enhances visitors’ opportunities to sample and purchase a variety of local wines and regional food products during their sightseeing in this magnificent historic Tuscan town.
Following your visit to Montepulciano, you will once again join your driver to journey through the Tuscan countryside to your next destination on this Tuscany, Castles, and Wine Tour: Montalcino.
Montalcino is another majestic hilltop town in Tuscany that boasts spellbinding views of the surrounding Valley of Orcia (Val d'Orcia) where many vineyards and olive groves produce the local Brunello wines and silky olive oil. Like Montepulciano, Montalcino’s rich history also extends back to the ancient Etruscans who thrived in this region for centuries until they were conquered by the Romans.
Montalcino’s name derives from its ancient name Monte Ilcinus due to the oak trees that once grew in this area. It wasn’t until the early 9th century that the first written documents that refer to its modern name “Montalcino”.
Today Montalcino is well regarded for its prestigious Brunello di Montalcino made from the Sangiovese grapevine (also called Brunello grapevine) as well as its historic, artistic, and architectural treasures. The hilltop town is dominated by a magnificent 14th-century fortress that was built over previous fortifications and served as the last bastion of resistance of the Sienese Republic against Medici’s expansion and conquests.
Montalcino’s historic streets are lined with enticing shops and boutiques that sell local crafts and products, delightful cafes, tempting restaurants, and wine shops. While in Montalcino, you have free time on your own to enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant in town, window shop, or sample and purchase some delicious Brunello di Montalcino wines at the local wine shops.
Brunello wine is a newer “invention” created by Clemente Santi in the mid-1800s to diversify local wine production at this Il Greppo Tuscan estate. His careful wine experiments produced a rich deep reddish-brown hue “bruno” colored wine that was christened Brunello.
Brunello wines are rich medium-bodied reds with pronounced tannins, high acidity, and subtle flavors that can be described as vanilla, wild berry, red plum, spice, chocolate, and sweet tobacco. The wine’s flavor changes with age, and Brunello is meant to be aged for years making it a more expensive and exclusive wine enjoyed by wine enthusiasts. Learn more about Brunello di Montalcino wine below.
After your visit in Montalcino, you will join your driver for a short-distance drive through Montalcino's wine country to the enchanting Castello Banfi for a relaxing wine-tasting experience at the castle's elegant wine shop.
Nestled amidst 7,000 acres of picturesque vineyards and olive groves south of Montalcino’s wine-producing region is the historic stone castle Castello Banfi, the family-owned vineyard estate and winery that produces some of the region’s most renowned wines.
Subterranean excavations revealed that the castle was built over an ancient Etruscan settlement that may have evolved into an ancient Roman villa. Castello Banfi is not just a castle, but a charming medieval hamlet (il Borgo) with a cluster of an artfully restored cluster of 9th-13 centuries buildings that includes an inviting wine shop (the Enoteca) where you will have the opportunity to delight in the famous Banfi wines.
The Enoteca boasts the refined atmosphere of a classic Tuscan wine shop where guests can sample elegant estate wines, spirits, and extra virgin olive oil at the wine bar. Numerous local artisan food and crafts are also available for purchase at the shop.
A helpful wine bar wine-tasting list guides guests in selecting their preferred wine-tasting options at the listed prices. This simple and convenient wine-tasting approach offers guests the most flexibility and choice. Delight in the opportunity to purchase the perfect bottles of wines or other tasty products of Castello Banfi for you or as cherished gifts for your loved ones back home.
Also discover the “Museum of Bottles and Glass” which was established within the 13th-century castle that boasts the world’s largest collection of ancient Roman glassware from the 5th -4th centuries BC molded glass to 4th-5th centuries AD blown glass, as well as antique wine bottles, ancient and modern glassware from Venice including the remarkable “The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso.
Raise a glass to your unforgettable sojourn to this exquisite wine estate surrounded by the idyllic Tuscan wine country.
Following your relaxing wine tasting at Castello Banfi, you will join your driver for a leisurely journey through the idyll Tuscan countryside back to Rome reminiscing the superlative sights and flavors you enjoyed on your exceptional wine-tasting tour to Tuscany.
Thank you for booking our Tuscany, Castles, and Wine Tour and choosing Stefano's RomeCabs for your Italy private tours. We look forward to showing you beautiful places in Italy!
Payment for this Tour can be made in EUROS directly to your driver on the Date of Tour, or prepaid in advance via PayPal or Credit Card online upon request. (See Cancellation policy below)
We kindly ask that cancellations be made via E-mail at least 7 days prior to Date of Service.
Cancellations are accepted only via E-mail so your cancellation is on record. We do not accept cancellations by phone, text message, or 3rd parties.
** Cancelations for PREPAID SERVICES will be refunded the Reduced Net Rate we receive from your prepayment. Reduced Net Rate: actual service price minus PayPal/Credit Card fees retained by PayPal/Credit Card as they do not reimburse us the fees they retain from your payment.
** This tour is offered AS IS without modifications to the existing itinerary, towns, or winery. If you wish to make changes to the existing wine tour please send us an email and we can assist with a customized tour to suit your preferences.
** Wine tasting fees at local wine shops in Montepulciano and Montalcino vary depending on the shop. Some shops such as Ercolani in Montepulciano offer complimentary wine tastings, while other shops may offer them at a price or free with the intention to purchase. Inquire with the wine shop you visit for their wine-tasting fees.
Wine-tasting prices at Castello Banfi vary depending on the wine options selected which generally include 4 different wines, and wine-tasting prices listed on their wine bar menu range from approximately 16 Euros to 46 Euros per person, with spirits at approximately 15 Euros per person, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamico Etrusco at approximately 8 Euros per person. Wine Tasting is available only at the wine bar inside The Enoteca (the wine shop). Your visit to Castello Banfi does not include a winery visit or winery tours as the winery facility is in a different location from the castle, and their scheduled winery tours are not compatible with this tour itinerary.
While Castello Banfi Enoteca is generally open 7 days a week, availability must always be established prior to tour confirmation in case they might be booked with large events and groups that may interfere with visiting the Enoteca.
This Tuscany Tour provides an English-speaking Driver who is NOT a licensed tour guide or a sommelier.
Italian laws permit only licensed tour guides to accompany guests to sightsee on foot away from the vehicle.
In order to comply with Italian laws, drivers are obliged by law to remain with the vehicle while guests sightsee on foot. Drivers are happy to offer basic touristic information while at the vehicle, however you will SELF TOUR on your own when away from the vehicle.
Information about wines and wine production can be provided by the wine experts at the wine shops you visit.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines are generally made from a minimum of 70% Sangiovese and other grape varieties such as up to 20% Canaiolo and other local varieties such as Colorino and Mammolo. The addition of these other grape varieties renders Montepulciano’s wines a little softer when young. Many producers also make their top Nobile wines from 100% Sangiovese grape.
The Sangiovese grape is traced to ancient Roman times and the name Sangiovese is derived from Latin for the “blood of Jove” (the ancient Roman god, Jupiter).
The aging of Vino Nobile of Montepulciano requires a minimum of 2 years, and 3 years for riserva (of which 12 months are in oak barrels). This aging period provides the wine with balance and roundness. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has also been exalted to the prestigious DOCG status - Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, guaranteeing its exceptionally high-quality standard.
This ruby-red wine can be described as dry, smooth, medium-bodied with tannic textures, and balanced with a cleansing of high acidity. There is a notable bouquet of cherry, plum, strawberry, and dark berries, with subtle floral notes of rose and violet with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, spice, white pepper, and earth.
Learn more about the history and characteristics of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Brunello di Montalcino was created in the 1860s and it quickly became an award-winning select red wine for its powerful flavors, distinctiveness, and inclination towards longevity that set it apart from other Sangiovese grape wines. The success of this exquisite wine is credited to Ferruccio Biondi Santi who, in the late 19th century, built on the previous invention and created the formula for Brunello made purely from the Sangiovese Grosso grape characterized by a strong robust structure.
Brunello di Montalcino was also the first wine to be granted the coveted Italian DOCG status in 1980 ( Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).
Making Brunello di Montalcino is a carefully controlled process. According to production disciplinary, after pressing, the juice from the grapes is left in contact with the skins for an extended period in order to extract the characteristic flavors, tannins, and dark “bruno” colors.
Brunello di Montalcino is produced from 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes and must age a minimum of 2 years in Slavonian oak cask, Frech barriques, or both depending on the producer’s preference as the Slavonian oak barrel imbue the wine with stronger earth and cherry notes and richer tannins, and the French oak barrel allows for more oak flavors and softer tannins with vanilla and sweeter fruits. For reserve wines, the aging requirement is 3 years.
SEE - See the color, depth, and intensity of the wine in your glass. The color also indicates the types of grapes used or if the wine was aged in wood.
SWIRL - Swirling aerates the wine and allows oxygen to “open it up” revealing its complexities
SNIFF/ SMELL - It’s essential to sniff the wine before tasting it as a wine’s quality can be judged by its aroma.
SIP - Take a larger than normal sip and hold it in your mouth for 3-5 seconds to taste the characteristics of the wine’s flavor: sweetness, bitterness, fruitiness, alcohol…
SAVOR - The taste doesn’t just stop once you swallow the wine. The finish is the duration of time the essence of the wine lingers and stays with you. A long finish is ideal, especially when the overall taste of the wine leaves you craving another sip.
We wish for all our clients to enjoy our Tuscany wine tours. Only guests of legal drinking age in Italy (18 years and older) can partake in wine tastings. Guests who are not of legal drinking age or who do not wish to participate in wine tastings can enjoy sightseeing in Montepulciano and Montalcino and relax at Castello Banfi. For your enjoyment of this tour, we urge you to please wine taste responsibly and never on an empty stomach. Please evaluate your personal tolerance of wine consumption and refrain from overindulging as it will interfere with your enjoyment of this tour. RomeCabs does not accept responsibility for guests’ personal wine-tasting decisions should they be excessive and interfere with their tour enjoyment. Guests who overindulge and wish to return back to their hotel sooner will not be reimbursed for shortening their tour.