The town of Montepulciano sits on a hill top in the middle of Tuscany, near the town of Siena. There has been a settlement here since Etruscan times. During this period is was part of the city Nocera Alfeterna. It first went by the name Mons Politianus in the 8th Century AD, from where its modern name comes. The town itself didn’t properly develop until the 13th Century, under the Sienese. Before this the Florentines had been battling with them over ownership of the settlement, given its strategic position.
In fact, come 1390, Montepulciano sided with Florence and remained as such until the 1500s. During this time much of the town we see today started construction. For example, the Palazzo Comunale and Piazza Grande in the center of town were designed by a Florentine. Other buildings that arose in this time include the Fortezza, Chiesa della Madonna di San Biagio, Palazzo Contucci, Palazzo Ceccconi and Palazzo Cervini.
Montepulciano is famous for its agriculture and food produce. In parituclar, its pork, cheese, lentils, honey and pici pasta are recognised as some of the best in Italy. The same goes for its wines, especially the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This wine is world-famous as being one of Italy’s best wine exports. In recent years, Montepulciano has also become famous as the set location for New Moon, the second film of the Twilight vampire franchise.
From this town you can enjoy some stunning views over the surrounding valleys of Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana. Nearby you will find Orvieto, Perugia, Siena and Florence, making it a great option for a day trip from one of these places. If you find yourself in the area at the end of August, come to Montepulciano on the last Sunday of the month to see the Bravio delle Botti take place. This curious barrel race has been taking place since the 14th Century!
Montepulciano is fairly easy to access. From Siena, Pienza, and some other nearby towns you can take a bus. The nearest train station is in Chiusi, where you will find connections to Florence and Rome as well as the surrounding area. The nearest airport lies in Perugia, followed by Florence.