Toscana - Places to Visit - Montepulciano
Montepulciano still offers the same characteristics today that it had when it first formed as a medieval town: its stone and brick houses "cling" to the top of a hill that rises up between the Val di Chiana and the Val d'Orcia.
Legendary tradition maintains that Montepulciano was founded by the Etruscans' mythical King Porsenna. Yet it most likely originated as the property of the Roman gens Publicii, who would have given it the original name "Monte Publiciano".
After it became a free municipality at the beginning of the 14th century, Montepulciano was contested at length between Siena and Florence before it finally became the established property of the Medici family in 1511.
During that period, the city's history was peppered with battles between the noble families that were vying for power.
Yet credit is due to those families for constructing important public and private buildings that allowed Montepulciano to aspire to compete with Siena and even Florence.
It was precisely during that period, in 1454, that the famous poet Agnolo Ambrogini was born in Montepulciano. Known as "Il Poliziano", the poet later went to Lorenzo de' Medici's court to educate Lorenzo's two sons. "Il Poliziano's" fame brought such good fortune to Montepulciano that most of the town's structures were rebuilt in the 16th century as requested by the Florentine nobles and by Pope Leo X (Giovanni de' Medici), whom "il Poliziano" was very fond of.
Today's Montepulciano is nearly identical to what it was five centuries ago: its building and streets form a historic centre that appears to have been frozen in time. The beauty and majesty of the Renaissance buildings have remained intact, allowing the centre to boast of its nickname as the "Pearl of the 1500s." From the city's lowest entrance, alternating buildings lead up to Piazza Grande that were designed by Antonio Sangallo il Vecchio, Andrea Pozzo, Vignola, and Michelozzo.
The Piazza Grande is where the Palazzo Comunale was built by Michelozzo. Palazzo Contucci and Palazzo Nobili-Tarugi were also built here, along with the characteristic wells Pozzo dei Grifi and Pozzo dei Leoni, and the majestic Duomo where Taddeo di Bartolo's triptych is kept.
Some of the most renowned buildings include the splendid temple of San Biagio, which was constructed in a Greek cross layout, the Poliziano Theatre, and various noble buildings that were owned by the Ricci, Cervini, Bucelli and Avignonesi families.
One must not forget the churches of Santa Lucia, Sant'Agostino and the unique Torre di Pulcinella. Other noteworthy sites are the Museo Civico, which was recently remodelled and expanded, along with the Fortezza (Fortress), the Casa del Poliziano, and a great number of others.
Montepulciano is also acclaimed for the great wines that are produced in the area. The most widely known is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a high-quality wine that has been listed among Italy's top wines for years. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is also recognized with D.O.C.G. status, which is the controlled and guaranteed certification of origin. Our guests can visit wine cellars just a few steps away from the hotel in the historic centre.
Wine tastings are offered at the cellars, where it is also possible to purchase premium wines, extra-virgin olive oil and other products from Montepulciano.
In addition to the city's architectural and artistic wealth, its pure, natural surroundings, and the high quality of life it offers, Montepulciano can also boast of its bustling activities, which range from culture and art to the recovery of historic traditions and folklore.
The main annual event is the "Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte" (International Arts Workshop) which takes place every summer and primarily features musical concerts as well as drama, dance and figurative art. Another important event is the "Bruscello", in which the townspeople perform an ancient form of street theatre. Montepulciano's medieval history is relived in the "Bravio delle Botti", which recalls the rivalry that has existed since 1337 between the eight "contrade" (neighborhoods) into which the municipality was divided. The main annual event is the "Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte" (International Arts Workshop) which takes place every summer and primarily features musical concerts as well as drama, dance and figurative art.
Another important event is the "Bruscello", in which the townspeople perform an ancient form of street theatre. Montepulciano's medieval history is relived in the "Bravio delle Botti", which recalls the rivalry that has existed since 1337 between the eight "contrade" (neighborhoods) into which the municipality was divided.