We will be spending five nights (six full days) in Tuscany and a few nights in Rome in mid-June of 2013 for our honeymoon. We were planning to fly into Rome from NYC, arriving around noon, hopping a train to Chiusi, and renting a car from there to drive to Montepulciano, where we'd stay for the entire time. We plan to do day trips, possibly to Florence, Pienza, and Montalcino, but definitely to Volterra and Chianti. We will probably eliminate some of them just to have a day or two "unplanned". We will have a car the entire time we are in Tuscany and give it up before moving on to Rome.
We really want to stay in the "postcard" setting of the Val d'Orcia region, and can't wait to see Montepulciano, both for the experience, views, and the wine (we're not big on Chianti wine). However, the more I read, the more I wonder if we should base elsewhere and daytrip to Montepulciano. I don't really want to have to park far away from my hotel, nor do I wish to walk up a huge hill with my luggage. I also would more enjoy a countryside view than the city view it seems we'd get staying in the city. However, it's not like we're going to spend much time in the hotel (we actually are leaning more towards a B&B but can't decide).
The big question is this: the only two things we are absolutely positive we are doing are a sunrise hot air balloon tour and a horseback riding/wine tasting tour, both of which are based in Chianti. Therefore, would it be more practical to stay closer to Chianti, even though we'd really much rather have the scenery of the Val d'Orcia region, and daytrip once to Montepulciano, Montalcino, and/or Pienza? We LOVE driving on scenic country roads. We're not really looking for art since we'll get our fill of that in Rome. We are looking for the Tuscan experience, the wine, the food, the breathtaking views, etc. My husband is trying to talk me into staying in the Val d'Orcia region for a couple nights and Chianti for a couple nights, but I feel like it'd be too much to stay in more than one place in Tuscany, and in Rome.
My guidebooks have all been little help so far, as they make all areas sound equally inviting! I'm looking for OPINIONS of people that have been-there-done-that. Would we be better off staying in another location in Val d'Orcia? If so, any suggestions? Or what are your thoughts on staying in Montepulciano? Thank you so much for any help--so far any and all decisions we HAVE made were based on T.A. advice!