If Montepulciano is one of my favorite hill towns, Palazzo Carletti is one of my favorite hill town hotels. With a grand total of 5 rooms, booking Palazzo Carletti requires a bit of forethought and planning, but it’s absolutely worth it. If I had to choose a base for exploring Tuscany, I would choose Montepulciano.
Regardless of season, Montepulciano is one of the most lively hill towns. We visited after Christmas this past year and it was hopping! We actually tried to get a room at Palazzo Carletti before finding Borgo dei Conti. Not only was it sold out in the days after Christmas, but also it was sold out for New Year’s, too. I guess we aren’t the only ones who find the idea of staying in an 18th century palace appealing.
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Getting to Palazzo Carletti
Before you arrive, the hotel will reach out to you with a map, driving directions, and parking instructions. We’ve never had an issue finding parking for the hotel. If you are feeling strong, you can drag your luggage up a gravel hill and back down Via dell’Opio nel Corso to reach the hotel. If you aren’t feeling up to that walk, the hotel also provides instructions for dropping off your luggage before parking your car. (I finally convinced Tom to try that when we were departing this year – so much easier!)
Palazzo Carletti Amenities
We’ve stayed in two of the five deluxe suites at Palazzo Carletti, and they are both huge. All rooms include free wifi, free breakfast, and free parking. There is also a complimentary minibar, tea and coffee supplies, and an ice maker in every room, along with an honor bar in the foyer. Rooms include air conditioning, though the windows open and work just as well. As weird as it might be to say, I really love the linens. They are warm, cozy, and incredibly soft.
For what it’s worth, we don’t typically watch TV when we are traveling, but we happened to be in Italy with Notre Dame caught fire, and we wanted to see more about what was going on in Paris. The hotel had a number of channels available in a variety of languages. Despite its small size, Palazzo Carletti has thought of every single amenity and then some.
What I like most about this hotel is that they’ve maintained the traditional design elements, including ceiling frescos, but the bathrooms have every modern convenience. It’s also incredibly quiet. Whether we stayed facing the street or overlooking the Val d’Orcia, we had no issues with noise at night.
The Nerazzini Suite is a spacious (read: huge) room that overlooks the streets of Montepulciano. The room includes a small sitting area and table where you can work and/or enjoy a dinner in. (We did this when we were too tired or when it rained.) The bathroom is very large and includes heated towel racks, a large soaking bathtub, and plenty of counter space. The shower is equipped with a rain showerhead and a hand shower.
This is a perfect room for couples and/or families traveling with children. In addition to the king-sized bed downstairs, there is an iron staircase that leads to a loft that is perfect for kids (or teenagers). There’s also a second desk and another TV up there.
Suite Deluxe – Albany
Let’s just call this the room with a view. I don’t know that Tom will ever stay anywhere else. (I loved it, too.) The bedroom has a huge sweeping window (and balcony) with views over the Val d’Orcia. There’s also a beautiful sitting room, but truthfully, I didn’t want to be anywhere else but in front of that window. The view is so beautiful. We ate a lot of our meals (and snacks) at our hotel because we loved the view so much. This room offers the most spectacular view of the sunrise in Montepulciano. (You can catch some video of the views from our room at the bottom of our post or on our youtube channel!)
The bathroom is very well laid out and includes a separate shower and a jacuzzi tub big enough for two. While I really enjoyed having the tub, I want to caution you that it takes awhile to fill. Most of the time, I would fill it as little as I could so it could relieve my hip pain, but it was very difficult to use the jets. Just as you have to plan ahead for Palazzo Carletti, you also have to plan appropriately to use the jacuzzi tub. It is not a fast process. It is, however, a nice amenity and they even put in glass so you could enjoy the views of the valley from the tub.
Wine Tasting with View
Enoliteca Consorzio Vino Nobile – Located at the top of town, this enoteca utilizes modern technology and a swipe card to allow you to taste and try wines by a few sips or by the glass. They also offer olive oil tasting. (The organic is my favorite!) What I like about this is that you can try a number of different types of wine without any pressure. If you want more assistance with your tasting, you can ask for recommendations from the staff. They also have a fabulous terrace that overlooks San Biagio, Pienza, and the Val d’Orcia.
Osteria Acquacheta is my favorite meal. Even if you don’t like steak, the food is delicious. My consistent recommendation is to order the pici pasta with garlic, chili, and olive oil and split the bistecca. The staff will make a recommendation for a starter, and they have never steered us wrong. Our favorite staff recommendation thus far is the pecorino cheese with truffle. You will need a reservation. There are two seatings for lunch and two for dinner. We have been turned away, so it’s worth trying to plan for this meal.
Favorite Coffee Shop in Montepulciano
Caffe Poliziano is a coffeehouse reminiscent of my favorite cafes in Vienna. Located in the city center, they offer an assortment of delicious fresh pastries and coffees. I alternate between taking a book to read and enjoying the view of the countryside from the back of the cafe. With the beautiful art, the dark wood, and the traditional menu, it’s easy to imagine your favorite writers and philosophers debating ideas here.
Most Beautiful Churches in Montepulciano
On our first trip to Montepulciano, we walked from the bottom of town to the very top. We visited every church along the way, and I fell in love with a few of them. (The altar piece in the duomo is under construction, but I’m excited to see it when the restoration is complete! I highly recommend that everyone make that walk, but one of my favorite churches is the Chiesa Del Gesu. It was a dark and rainy day when we visited, but the art seemed to shine anyway. Just stunning. This guide to the Hill Towns of Italy is Tom’s favorite resource for creating routes for our adventures.
It took us three trips to Montepulciano before we visited San Biagio. It is worth the entrance fee (and then some). The ticket comes with an audioguide. I think it’s best to visit early in the morning to skip the crowds. We essentially had the church to ourselves. The views of the surrounding countryside deserve their own time, too. It’s worth making the trip down the hill to visit San Biagio.
When to Visit Montepulciano
While I love Montepulciano at any time of year, our day trip to Montepulciano during the Christmas holidays was particularly magical. I’ll chalk that up to the Montepulciano Christmas market (when is a Christmas market not magical??) and the beautiful weather. The whole town seemed jovial. There is just really something extra special about Montepulciano at Christmastime. As a bonus, the market starts on the weekends in November, so spending Thanksgiving in Tuscany isn’t a bad idea either. All that said, April is a fine time to visit Montepulciano. It’s not too crowded, weather is nice (though it can be chilly), and the Tuscany countryside is starting to bloom.
TL,DR: Planning a trip to Tuscany is never a bad idea.