Monticchiello is a small, ancient village on a hill in the heart of the Tuscany countryside close to Pienza.
When you arrive you park a short distance below the village and follow a path through a park area to reach the village entrance which is one of the original passages through the stone defensive walls that still surround much of Monticchiello, with imposing towers to ether side.
Before going through the gate stroll across to the belvedere (viewpoint) for a lovely view across the countryside towards Montepulciano: this area has some of the most attractive scenery in Tuscany.
The town is said to have been founded more than 1000 years ago, although the oldest structures we see today are the walls and their associated towers, and the church, both dating back a mere 850 years! Apart from these the pleasure of a visit comes from simply strolling through the ancient streets.
The village inside the walls is small and easy to explore. The Church of Saints Leonard and Christopher, in roman-gothic style and in the centre of Monticchiello, is the principal historic monument and contains some interesting ancient frescoes. Perhaps the village would be better known if the principal painting from the church, a Madonna by Pietro Lorenzetti dating from 1315 had not been transferred to the church museum in Pienza...
Italy This Way comment: Monticchiello is not one of the most visited villages in the region and we discovered it largely by accident: the owner of the hotel where we were staying in Montepulciano suggested we visit the village, otherwise we would not have discovered it. There were very few other visitors, which was an interesting contrast with most of the places we visited in the region which were typically very crowded indeed!
Several of the residents have made efforts with their gardens and flowers adding a splash of colour to the town, and the streets are mostly surprisingly broad unlike the narrow alleys you expect in a Tuscan hill town.
Above the village we discovered an area of parkland that contained lots of paintings and artworks in the open air and surrounded by olive trees. This was very pleasant to stroll around, although as far as we could tell the village had made every effort to hide it from the public by putting it somewhere that visitors wouldn't find it and then not giving any signposts to tell visitors of its existence!
This is a particularly lovely part of Tuscany and there are many other places of interest to visit nearby. Among these our favourites include the small town of Pienza to the west and the delightful hill village of Montepulciano to the east.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Tuscany guide.