Montefollonico, a walled city in Tuscany, lies on a hill in a strategic position between Valdichiana and Val d'Orcia. The town was likely named after Roman clothes washers; Roman cloth-launderers were called fullones and they sometimes used urine to get things really clean. There are a mere three streets, three gates in the 13th century Siennese brick walls and 700 people who live here.
Why would a travel writer send you to such a miniscule hamlet? Well, here's the thing: there are several great places to eat in Montefollonico, including La Chiusa, which holds a well-deserved Michelin Star. There is an innovative ceramics shop inside a decommissioned church that will bake your photos into a serving platter. There are several churches, including the 13th century Church of San Leonardo, one of the most important Sienese Romanesque churches around.
It's easy to park and get around the hamlet, and yet you are in the heart of the Tuscany all the tourists think about when they think about Tuscany. Once you settle into your Montefollonico digs, you can take short drives into Montepulciano and sip Brunello, or head for the perfect Renaisance city Pienza. If you feel a little stiff, head to Bagno Vignone to take the waters. Everything is right in your neighborhood.
And you get two views over two valleys for the price of one. The vista to Montepulciano is a fine one, and you don't have to worry about the wine town sacking our little village like they did in 1229 because we are an ocean away from the current endless war factory.
While you are taking in some breathtaking scenery as you drive from famous Tuscan town to famous Tuscan town, you will also notice the outposts of the white Chianina cattle of the Val di Chiana, the drought animals reborn to become the iconic symbol of a proper Bistecca Fiorentina.
In the center of the village is the Palazzo Pretorio, the 13th century city hall with the recently restored clock from 1748.
View down the street toward the Porta Follonica.
A typical courtyard in Montefollonico.
A little pasta bathed in Pecorino from the 13 Gobbi Restaurant