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Rooftops, Montepulciano

Piazza Grande, Montepulciano

Near Montepulciano

Check out:

Bill Thayer's
Gazatteer of Italy

Welcome to Montepulciano
from Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 14,107 (2004)
Official website:
Wikipedia: Montepulciano

Map: MapQuest

Encircled by walls and fortifications  designed and built starting 1511 AD by Antonio da Sangallo on the orders of the great Florentine, Cosmo I, Montepulciano cascades down a limestone ridge whose highest point is over 600 meters (1950 feet) above sea level.

The long and winding main street of Montepulciano extends from the Porta al Prato for 11.5 km to the Piazza Grande, and will take the traveler through the old medieval districts of  one of the most pleasant and satisfying of all Tuscan cities.

The Piazza, fronted by most of the city's most notable buildings, including the  Palazzo Comunale and the Duomo, perches at the utmost top of the hill, where Poliziani (the name the citizens give to themselves) mingle with visitors from nearby and far away.

The Duomo, with its plain, almost unfinished facade, was designed and built by Ippolito Scalza in 1630.  The most important work of art in the interior is a triptych done in 1401 by Bartolo, the "Assumption of the Virgin".

The Palazzo Comunale, a seemingly smaller version of Palazzo Vecchio, was built originally in the Gothic style, but the tower and facade were added in the 15th Century by Michelozzo.  Visitors are welcome to climb the tower where breathtaking views over the city and across the Tuscan countryside can be absorbed.  Next to the town hall is the Palazzo Tarugi, built in the 16th century.

Close by is the Chiesa Sant'Agostino, built in 1427 with a mix of Gothic and Renaissance elements by the architect, Michelozzo.  Note the elaborately carved portal.  The Palazzo Bucelli (1648), also close by,  has a lower facade into which are integrated Etruscan bas relief and funerary urns.

The Church of Jesus was built with a quasi circular plan by the Jesuit architect, Fra Andrea Pozzo.  Pozzo also worked on various other buildings in Montepulciano including the Palazzo Contucci (see above).

Sangallo the Elder also built the Temple of Madonna di San Biaglio, flanked by two campanile (bell towers) outside the city gates. It is also a Renaissance building built with butter- colored Travertine marble.  Sangallo started it in 1518, and remained pre-occupied with it until his death in 1534 and it is rightly recognized as his masterpiece. The design influence or inspired the architects of many of the palazzi in Montepulciano such as Palazzi Avignose, Cocconi, Cervini, Ganoni-Grugni, Contucci and Tarug (see above).

Also outside the walls and worth a peek are Chiesa Santa Chiara and Chiera Santa Maria, both done in the Baroque style.

Montepulciano is, of course, famous for its wines, particularly the Vino Nobile, a mellow red wine that evokes the scent of flowers and is shot through with a kind of iridescent orange color.  There are many less agreeable things to do than sit in one of the city's many cafes or restaurants to imbibe a glass (or two!) or purchase a bottle (or two!) at a local shop, which you can consume later during a lazy  Tuscan picnic.

Montepulciano is also the scene of a few enlivening annual festivals.  Arrive in late July-early August for the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte arts festival founded by the German composer Hans Werner Henze.   Re-enactments of Montepulciano's turbulent history take place at the Brucello festival in mid August, and there is a parade, barrel race and banquet at the end of August, the Bravio dell Botti.

by Vian Andrews September 21st, 2005

Region of Tuscany

Alt: 600 meters
4306′N 1147′E


Castiglione del Lago - 24 km;
Arezzo - 53 km;
Siena - 61 km;
Perugia - 67 km;
Florence - 110 km

Lucca - 180 km;
Rome - 177 km;
Pisa - 214  km


Siena Hotels

Tourist Office
Piazza Don Minzoni
Tel: 0578-757-341

The tourist office has a lot of info about the town, and particularly about wine and wine production.  They can also offer suggestions for a private wine tour.

Water spout, Montepulciano



Caffe Poliziano - Via di Voltaia nel Corso 27 - pastries, tea etc

Il Cantuccio - Via delle Cantine 1 - standard Tuscan menu

La Briciola - Via dell Cantine - piazza, salads

La Grotta - Via di San Biagio - outside the city walls - good food

Osteria Porta di Bacco - Via di Gracciano nel Corso - moderately priced, nice menu

Trattoria di Voltaia - Via di Voltaia nel Corso 86 - comfortable, warm greeting


Tell us about your trip to Montepulciano. What were your favorite places to visit, stay, and dine?
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