Montepulciano is situated in Central Tuscany in the south of Sienna’s province, at above 605 m above sea level, is a high interesting renaissance city. It lies on a hilltop in a wonderful panoramic position. The area is internationally well-known for its superb red wines, being the most famous the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. In fact, there are many good wine cellars where local wines can be tasted going well with other renowned local products which are there offered.
Montepulciano was originally an Etruscan fortress. During the Middle Age it was contended between Sienna and Florence. In the 15th century the locality was conquered by the Mediceo States, coming under its permanent management in the 16th century.
By commission of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de Medici, Montepulciano was rebuilt and encircled by new walls and fortifications, which were designed by Antonio da Sangallo “The Elder”. In 1561 it became an Episcopal site as well as one of the favourite centres of the Grand Duke.
Inside the walls its narrow streets are brimming with Renaissance palaces and churches. Its main street, Via del Corso, is a pretty long snaking street from where visitors will reach any point of the city, from right to left and from the southwards Porta del Prato to Piazza Grande at the top of the hill.
Main monuments to visit in Montepulciano:
- Piazza Grande: a monumental square which also hosts the gorgeous Town Hall. In Gothic style, it was built in the 13th century. In the 15th century was remodelled by architect Michellozzo who also added a big tower. From there visitor can overview the Orcia and Trasimeno valleys and the town of Radicofani.
- The Cathedral: Built up by Ippolito Scalza, between the 16th and the 17th centuries. The interior in Classical proportions houses several masterpieces like, the splendid High Altar by Andrea della Robbia; over it the big marvellous triptych painted by Taddeo di Bartolo (15th century) representing “The Assumption”; the “Madonna del Pilastro” by Sano di Pietro.
- The Civic Museum: located in the Gothic Palazzo Neri-Orselli (14th century) hosts a collection of terracotta relieves by Della Robbia’s family, as well as Gothic and Renaissance paintings.
- Palazzo Bucelli: coming from the 17th century, its façade is studded with innumerable Etruscan relieves and funerary urns.
- The Church of S. Agostino: was built by architect Michelozzo in the 15th century. It has a highly crafted engraved portal representing the Virgin and Child flanked by St. John and St. Augustine.
- The Church of Santa Agnese: outside the city walls, it was built in the 14th century to venerate Santa Agnese di Montepulciano (1274-1317) who was born in Gracciano Vecchio, a small locality of this area. The church was renewed by Antonio da Sangallo “The Elder” in the 16th century. In the indoors, there is a chapel with a beautiful frescoed by Simone Martini.
- The Sanctuary of Madonna di San Biagio: close to the city, in the countryside, is a majestic monument with two bell towers considered one of the most remarkable Renaissance works. It was built in the 16th century in white travertine by Antonio da Sangallo “The Elder”. In the interior, its masterpiece is the imposing marble High Altar.
Where to eat in Montepulciano:
-La Grotta: just in front of the Sanctuary, in the indoors of a building from the 15th century, is located this top-class restaurant. The dining-room is large and suited to formal style. In the outdoors there is a pretty garden for meals in summer time. Prices run into 50-55 euros.
- Osteria dell Acquacheta: is a popular and charming Trattoria. The cuisine is superb, faithful to local roots. Its specialities are Tuscan cold meats and grilled big steaks. Price is about 30 euros.
-Caffe Poliziano: an elegant and really well preserved Liberty style structure. It comes back from the 19th century and has been recently perfect restored. It has an exclusive tea room and walking down its grand staircase is located the restaurant area in either the large winter garden dining-room or in the summer terrace. They offer a refined Tuscan cuisine.
It houses a prestigious art gallery where artistic, musical and cultural events are organized.
Where to sleep:
"Villa Luciano": Private villa with pool for up to 13 people. Price from 5000 euros per week.
"Villa Conte Berna":
Private villa with pool for up to 10 people. Price from 3250 euros per week.
"Vila Montepulciano":Luxury Bed and Breackfast, price per day double room from 166 euros
"la Burraia": Nice apartments and rooms, price per day from 100 euros
Main Towns of Valdichiana
Arezzo, Cortona , Montepulciano,
Torrita di Siena,
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