Montepulciano is located between Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana. It sits on a narrow hill with dazzling views from all sides. A prime example of medieval and Renaissance architecture, Montepulciano is also the home of the Vino Nobile. The town is about an 1.30 hour drive from Florence and a perfect location for a day trip. The beautiful area around Montepulciano (Val d’Orcia), with cities like Pienza, make a longer stay also worthwhile.
Here are some ideas of what to do and see in Montepulciano.
Stroll through Piazza Grande and the historical center
The main square of Montepulciano, Piazza Grande, regroups some of the most important and historical buildings in town: the Palazzo Comunale, the cathedral, Palazzo Contucci and Palazzo Tarugi. The architecture of the Palazzo Comunale is similar to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Climb to the top of the tower for spectacular views of Montepulciano and the surrounding countryside. The cathedral is a classic example of Renaissance architecture and the home a stunning golden triptych by Taddeo del Bartolo. Near Palazzo Tarugi, you will find a well flanked by two towers and the Medici lions across the top.
San Biagio, a church surrounded by nature
Just outside the city walls, you will find a cypress tree lined road that leads you straight to the San Biagio church. It was built in the 16th century with travertine stones that take on a golden hue at sunset. San Biagio has a Greek cross layout (with its four sides of equal length) and a very high dome that pulls your eyes skywards. It is considered one the most representative churches of the Renaissance.
Relax at the Montepulciano spa
A few minutes drive away from the Montepulciano city center take you straight to the Terme di Montepulciano. The sulfur and bromine in the thermal water is good for respiratory, articulation and skin problems. The spa offers treatments for patients as well as beauty and relaxation services for the general public.
Drink some Vino Nobile
Montepulciano is famous for its Vino Nobile, produced in the surrounding countryside. Unlike many other wine producing areas, travellers can find wineries directly in the center of town in the cellars of historical buildings. Take this opportunity to go on a wine tasting tour and learn all about the Vino Nobile. Lazier visitors can always kick back at one of the many wine bars and restaurants and enjoy a glass of red with views over the Val d’Orcia landscape.
The Bravio delle Botti, which takes place at the end of August, is an unmissable event and one of the many Medieval festivals in Tuscany ! Eight teams of two, representing the different neighbourhoods of Montepulciano, roll an 80 kg wine barrel across town. The 1700 meter race goes up and down the sloping narrow streets of Montepulciano while each contrada (neighbourhood) shouts encouragement. The race usually ends in the Piazza Grande.