At the very top of the ancient walled town, at the very end of the quaint and lively street full of shops, wine bars and osterias, on the corner is an enoteca called Il Barlanzone. The building probably dates from the renaissance, but it has been completely restored into rooms for visitors. Each room has a view to the fortress where the Montalcinese backed by the French staged their resistance for 5 years in the great siege of the mid 16th century in defense of the city-state of Siena. Fighting the Florentines and the Spanish, the Montalcinese developed archery skills along these walls that kept the enemy at bay for years. In the end, the superpowers of the day settled their scores on faraway battlefields and seas and the Montalcinese and Senese were force to surrender to the will of the hated Medici and Florence to become part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
When I lived in Montalcino, if someone was coming to town to visit me, all they had to do was to stop at the enoteca and ask where to find me, and the proprietor, Simone Biliorsi, would call me on my cell phone to ask me if I wanted to be found. There are some great advantages to living in a small town. I can also get free parking passes from Simone — worth their weight in gold in a small medieval village!
Those of you lucky enough to be assigned to a room at Il Barlanzone will enjoy the great views, the downhill stroll to yoga in the morning, and find yourselves close to a myriad of daily treats from gelato to and costume jewelery (mention my name for a discount!) at Tomoko’s shop, stemware and wine accessories (at Fabio’s), a hand made copper vendor, and even a suit of armor for your den, or a chestnut roaster for your fireplace back home! On Friday you’ll be in the thick of the weekly market day. Go to the link below for photos.