My husband walks with a cane and cannot walk far at a time. Is a visit to Montepulciano possible for us? Is there a long(ish) walk from transport into town?
Firstly, how were you planning on coming up from Rome, via train with a change at Chiusi? If so, do please note that cabs are few and far between at Montepulciano Stazione, most of the time you have to ring the number on the wall and wait, assuming driver is available. Better that you get off the main line train at Chiusi and take the bus, though they don't always connect with trains plus take about forty minutes. The bus should drop you at the town's main bus station at the bottom of the hill from which you will find the little minibus service that plies around the town including going up into the old town. Subject to the time of day, it's surprisingly frequent. Get off at Piazza Grande at the very top where you will be on the flat. Must say though it's a fairly long day out from Rome if you purely reliant on public transport as you could spend a lot of time hanging around waiting for connections.
Is there an alternate bus company between Siena and Montepulciano? The Tiemme timetable on line shows that the earliest you could get to Montepulciano by bus from Siena is 2:45 in the afternoon. Surely there must be another option?
And they don't offer a return later in the day so you'd have no way back, which doesn't make sense: tiemmespa.it/var/ezdemo_site/storage/origina…
Elstravels - I'm far from an expert on public transport but I rarely see buses plying the route so it wouldn't surprise me if there are only a couple a day, and even then I thought a change was required at perhaps Buonconvento? There is a more frequent train service from Siena to Montepulciano Stazione on the local Chiusi line but, again, the station is a long way out of town. Due to straddling a very steep hill, Montepulciano is tough to negotiate unless you are fairly fit . The alternative is to purely visit the flatter part at the top of the town around Piazza Grande having taken the bus up.
Let's speak the truth, Montepulciano has been built as a fortress town, it has been designed to be inaccessible. Even a young marathon runner could get tired walking up and down the narrow medieval streets. If you want to visit a nice city, which is flat and has a lot of charm Pienza is the best option for you and your husband.
Montepulciano is a terrible location for anyone with mobility issues. Even with a hotel within the ancient walls, the streets themselves are seriously steep. And if you don't have a car, the train station is not near the town center. We spent 2 weeks here in an apartment and it was a steep climb everywhere -- down to get bread in the morning and then back up, and up to the main square. The town is the steepest town we have spent time in. Some hilltowns are fairly flat -- e.g. intramuros San Gimignano or Pienza -- but Montepulciano is on a steep slope and is a challenge anywhere you want to go. This is just not a good choice for anyone with mobility issues.
I absolutely agree with reply #8. Back in 2009, when we were more mobile than we are now, we stayed for 4 nights in Montepulciano. Our hotel was within the walls, but down at the bottom of the hill.We made it up to the main square only once, and with great effort. We would not be able to do it now.
Thanks to all who replied. We found a private driver could take us almost to the top, much farther up than where busses park. We walked up just a block or so of hill, got to the fortress and then went down a street to eat at a nice Osteria. We found our driver through a friend, but if you call some travel agencies in Siena or Florence you should be able to hire a private driver. Not budget of course but at least possible.