Montepulciano - Tuscany -
Italy - 605 mt above sea level - population 14,000
12.5km E of Pienza; 67km SE of Siena; 124km SE of Florence; N of Orvieto
67km ; 186km N of Rome
renaissance town of Southern Tuscany and important agricultural center,
famous for it's "Nobile" wine. Montepulciano lies on a hilltop in
panoramic position and is surrounded by the 15th century defensive works
by "Antonio da Sangallo". Birthplace of the famous poet Agnolo Ambrogini,
called "Poliziano", the town thanks to its history, has preserved
throughout the centuries many
architectural jewels. The beauty of the surrounding
countryside as well as the artistic treasures to be found there.
The travertine church of San Biagio, out of the city, in the countryside,
is characterized by a beautiful dome. It is one of the most significant
Renaissance works and masterpiece of Antonio da Sangallo the Elder.
Piazza Grande is the real monumental center of Montepulciano and hosts the
"Palazzo Comunale ( Town hall ) 15th century, with a big tower from which it is possible to
admire the view of the village of Radicofani, the Orcia Valleys and
The Cathedral of Montepulciano is a stately building by Ippolito Scalza, ( 1592-1630 ),
inside, altar by A. della Robbia, a 14th Century baptismal font and
the " Madonna del Pilastro" by Sano di Pietro. On the high altar there is
a tripthych by Taddeo di Bartolo ( Assumption, 1401 ) . The overall
structure is reminiscent of the palazzo della Signoria in Florence.
The rest of the square is surrounded by several elegant buildings : Palazzo Cantucci, by Sangallo, Palazzo Tarugi, in front of the church, by Vignola
and next the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo ( XIV century ). Of note is
the ancient well " Pozzo dei Grifi e dei Leoni" , dating back to 1520, very
nice renaissance work.
Palazzo Neri-Orselli, 14th Century palace, hosts the Civic Museum
of Montepulciano, a very large exhibition of Tuscan paintings.
Palazzo Bucelli, whose facade is embedded with a patchwork of dozens of
Etruscan reliefs and funerary urns.
The church of Santa Lucia, preserves a painting by Luca Signorelli.
Outside the city walls, the church of Sant' Agnese, with a 14th-century
portal. Inside, the first chapel on the right has a frescoed Madonna by
Montepulciano has many wine shops, (local name is enoteca or cantina)
offering the chance to taste the local wine "Nobile di Montepulciano", as well
as to have a traditional Tuscan "colazione" or "merenda" (breakfast)
with local products: pecorino cheese, salami, crostini or bruschetta. A real pleasure for the senses !
In Sant'Albino, a small village close to Montepulciano, there are the Thermal
Spas of Montepulciano, famous for its waters and mud-baths whose curative
benefits have been renowned for centuries.
- Il Bruscello :
This festival takes place in the middle of August and on the big stage
set up under a symbolic tree, holds a spectacle in period costume, with
local life stories and ancient Tuscan songs. More musical shows,
theatre productions and exhibitions of figurative art.
- Bravio delle Botti :
Barrel-rolling race competition between the 8 quarters of Montepulciano.
It takes place on the last Sunday of August and consists in pushing a wine
barrel of 85 kg across the narrow streets of the historic city. The
festival opens with an historical parade with more than 200 people wearing
14th Century costumes. Each quarter is represented by drummers,
flag-wavers, ensigns, ladies, knights, capitains, soldiers and a
- Fiera di Sant'Agnese:
Traditional open air market. It take place on the 1st day of May with
about 300 exhibitors.
- Fiera della Maestą del Ponte:
Traditional market of Tuscany hosted near the train station, last week-end
of September. Many exhibitors.
- Antique fair market : Each 2nd week-end of the month in the historic center of Montepulciano. About 50 exhibitors.
Recommended Restaurants: "Il Cantuccio" good and affordable;
"La Grotta" (close to the church of San Biagio); and the "Le
Logge del Vignola", in the city center, exclusive, excellent, but
expensive, approx 40/50 Euros per person, only 22 places, reserve
Buy the wine at : "Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano",
just outside the city walls, and "Metina" winery close to the only
supermarket of Montepulciano. For high quality wine lovers we
suggest "Cantina REDI", on the top of Montepulciano.
By Train :
The closest railway station is Chiusi stazione on the main Rome - Florence line:
By air :
International flights to Rome or
Florence - Domestic flights to Perugia.