Montepulciano

A cornerstone of Tuscan wine, Montepulciano is also a delightful village nestled in the Sienese countryside. Here is all the information you need for a visit.
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Between Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia, nestled in a bucolic setting on the typical Sienese hills, lies the ancient village of Montepulciano, a true oasis of peace and tranquillity, set amidst splendid views, vineyards as far as the eye can see and all the charm of a classic medieval Tuscan village.

People go to Montepulciano to relax in the countryside, often staying in one of the many agritourisms in the area, but also to drink excellent wine: this is in fact the land where Nobile di Montepulciano is produced, the famous red wine with Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), esteemed by connoisseurs, wine enthusiasts, oenologists and sommeliers all over the world.

In addition, let us not forget that there are many things to see in and around Montepulciano. Last but not least, its favourable location straddling two of the most beautiful valleys in Tuscany also makes it an excellent base from which to explore the entire surrounding area, to enjoy the true Tuscan experience that so fascinates and makes tourists from all over the world fall in love with it.

Things to do in Montepulciano

Montepulciano is small, but within its walls there are many things to do and see. Moreover, it is worth making a few small detours to visit some beautiful attractions in the surroundings.

Piazza Grande

Let us begin with the heart of the centre of Montepulciano: Piazza Grande is the central square of the historic town, is entirely pedestrianised and occupies an area of about 2500 square metres. Some of the city’s most interesting and architecturally valuable buildings, such as the Duomo, the Palazzo del Comune, and the noble Contucci, Nobili-Tarugi and Capitano palaces, face onto its quadrangular plan.

Montepulciano Civic Museum

Inside the elegant Palazzo Neri Orselli, the Montepulciano Civic Museum was established in 1957, one of the most interesting museums in the city. Inside there are five distinct sections, the most important of which is undoubtedly the picture gallery, which houses numerous works dating back to the 17th and 18th century by masters of the Florentine and Bolognese schools. Among the masterpieces on display in the gallery are the Madonna and Child with Two Angels by the Master of Badia a Isola, the Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio, and a portrait attributed to Caravaggio.

Next to the picture gallery, it is possible to visit the other four sections: these are the Della Robbia terracotta section, where several splendid terracottas are displayed, the Poliziana section with stone artefacts of different origins, the archaeology section displaying artefacts from the Etruscan and Roman periods, and the studiolo, a curious and interesting room in which furnishings and paintings dating back to the 16th century are displayed.

Municipal Palace

In the splendid setting of Piazza Grande, one of the most illustrious buildings is undoubtedly the Palazzo Comunale, which stands on the west side of the square. It is an elegant palace built in late Gothic-Renaissance style, the façade of which was designed by the architect Michelozzo in Florentine style, so much so that it closely resembles Palazzo Vecchio.

The civic tower can be admired in the centre of the façade. The building dates back to 1440 and consists of three levels, an inner courtyard and a crowning, formed by a gallery on which rises a splendid Guelph battlement.

Cathedral of Montepulciano

The Cathedral of Montepulciano, officially the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is located in Piazza Grande, and was built at the turn of the 17th century to a design by architect Ippolito Scalza in Renaissance style.

On the outside, you can admire the 15th-century bell tower, while the façade is unfinished. Inside, on the other hand, under the elegant barrel vault of the nave and the cross vaults of the aisles, there are some works of art really worth a visit, including the triptych of the Assumption, by Taddeo di Bartolo, located above the high altar.

The Funeral Monument of Bartolomeo Aragazzi, in Carrara marble, by Michelozzo, is also very beautiful. The organ in Montepulciano Cathedral, on the other hand, dates back to 1838, and has some noteworthy features, including the extension of the keyboard.

Church of San Biagio

The Church of San Biagio is located a few hundred metres from the centre of Montepulciano. It can be reached on foot, taking the street of the same name that winds downhill from the town centre, or by car, taking the SP146 road and then turning right at the viale della Rimembranza, lined with elegant cypress trees.

The church is very beautiful and was designed by Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio, who took as an example the basilica of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato, designed by his brother Giuliano.

On the outside, the façade of the church of San Biagio is divided in two: in the lower part there is the beautiful entrance portal, while in the upper part there is a window and five rectangular mirrors. Inside, in the shape of a Greek cross, you can admire thehigh altar dating back to the end of the 16th century and several frescoes, including that of the Madonna of San Biagio, believed to be miraculous.

Medici Fortress

Finally, you cannot leave the centre of Montepulciano without first visiting the Medici fortress, originally built in the 13th century but destroyed and rebuilt several times during its history, as it has always been at the centre of the wars between Siena and Florence. The appearance it has today dates back to 1885, when it was restored by the Sienese Augusto Corbi.

Inside, a large part is used as an exhibition space, while other areas are reserved for an American university.

Thermal baths of Montepulciano

To enjoy a completely relaxing day surrounded by a special environment, we recommend a visit to the thermal baths of Montepulciano. They are located in Sant’Albino, and date back to the second half of the 16th century. Their waters are rich in carbon dioxide and have numerous beneficial properties for the health of adults and children.

Montepulciano Lake

Downstream of Montepulciano, not far from the border between Tuscany and Umbria, is Lake Montepulciano, which, together with a number of neighbouring areas, forms the Lake Montepulciano Nature Reserve, covering an area of 470 hectares. It can be reached from the city centre by taking the SP17 and SP326 roads in an easterly direction for about 15 kilometres; the lake is very quiet, and there is also a small beach and some scenic spots. The shoreline is not always accessible, there are some stretches of reeds and others of unspoilt vegetation.

Bravìo delle Botti

The Bravìo delle Botti is the ‘Palio’ of the eight contrade (districts) of Montepulciano, which takes place in the well-known Sienese town on the last Sunday of August. The competition consists of rolling barrels weighing about 80 kg each.
The word ‘Bravìo’ derives from the vernacular ‘Bravium’ and indicates the prize awarded to the winning contrada, consisting of a painted cloth bearing the iconographic image of the city’s patron saint, Saint John Beheaded, in whose honour the event is held.

Where to stay in Montepulciano

If you want to sleep in the centre of Montepulciano, expect to find many flats and B&Bs, as well as small, mainly family-run hotels in typical Tuscan style. In the surrounding area, on the other hand, there are plenty of agriturismi, surrounded by fairytale scenery of rows of vines, gentle slopes and crazy views of the countryside. The agritourism is one of the most common types of structure in these parts, and they are of every category and budget.

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How to reach Montepulciano

Montepulciano can be reached from both north and south along the A1 motorway by taking the Valdichiana exit, about one hour from Florence and two and a half hours from Rome. From the tollbooth there are about 16 kilometres, which can be travelled in just over 20 minutes, along the provincial roads SP327 and SP135 going south.

For those who choose to travel by public transport, the centre of Montepulciano cannot be reached directly by train as it does not have a railway station. The nearest stop is in the hamlet of Montepulciano Stazione, about 10 kilometres away, where regional trains to and from Siena and Chiusi-Chianciano Terme stop.

Montepulciano Weather

What's the weather at Montepulciano? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Montepulciano for the next few days.

Saturday 20
13°
Sunday 21
12°
Monday 22
12°
Tuesday 23
11°
Wednesday 24
14°
Thursday 25
16°

Where is located Montepulciano

Montepulciano is located in the hills between Val d'Orcia and Valdichiana. To the east it borders Umbria, while the other borders are with Torrita di Siena to the north, Pienza to the west, and Chianciano Terme and Chiusi to the south.

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