(By M.R.) Today is the day for a gita all’aria aperta. If you like beautiful things, come with us for una gita a Montepulciano!
Montepulciano is a town rich in history . The Etruscans were here followed by the Romans. The Middle Ages shaped the town structure as it is now, even though Renaissance buildings are present everywhere. Montepulciano no doubt has a strategic location, placed between Val d’Orcia (facing Siena)and Val di Chiana (towards Arezzo).
Due to the strong rivalry between Siena and Florence, centuries ago, citizens built a strong town-wall to protect the village. Montepulciano was a precious ally of Florence that from here could treatened Siena dominion.
Nowadays we are lucky as there is no war and no enemy, but the wall is still there, very well kept, as memory of the tough times.
We can enter Montepulciano through Porta al Prato and walk along Via Gracciano nel Corso. After a while we reach Palazzo Avignonesi on the right and Palazzo Tarugi on the left. These are two elegant palaces built in the 16th century and they are connected by a maze of medieval galleries.
In the Middle Ages, galleries were mainly used to store goods but, later on, they also became secret passages built by the owners of the building to secretly pay visit to their lovers.
Along the same street we find Palazzo Bucelli: an impressive medieval building restored by Bucelli in the 18th century. Bucelli was an amateurish archeologist and his feverish activity is evidentiated by the facade of his home that resembles a patchwork of Etruscan and Roman relics.
Following Via Gracciano nel Corso we reach a harmonious church: S. Francesco and in front of it, the clock tower. The tower is an unusual one, as it is shorter than you would expect. There is an interesting clock with a wooden figure that strikes the hours: Pulcinello is its name.
Going up the hill we find Porta della Cavina then we turn on the left in Via Voltaia del Corso. This street is full of nice shops and interesting buildings, and we have to procede slowly. This narrow street is quite dark because of the high building. But, suddenly, light flashes through gaps between buildings and we can have a glimpse of Val di Chiana. It’s amazing.
We have the impression of collecting pieces of a puzzle. Are you curious to see the puzzle complete? Follow me in this alley, vicolo S. Filippo, and on a large balcony facing the magnificent vista of the Val di Chiana you ‘ll have the whole picture of the jigsaw.
Far away the sparkling waters of Trasimeno lake add the extra magic.
This is the beauty of Tuscany landscape! Here, Nature and man work are so harmoniously mixed that resemble a carefully studied painting ! Luckily, instead, it is all real and ready available for us to be enjoyed.
Now it is time to move on toward the heart of this town: Piazza Grande.
Even though this square was already present in the Middle Ages, it has been seriously altered during the Renaissance period. We are not history of art experts but we find Renaissance architecture so full of grace and harmony that is incredibly relaxing.
Looking at this large and ordered open space is like to take a deep breath-in after a long apnea. It is simply beautiful.
We can see the Cathedral, la Cattedrale, the Palace of the Municipality, il Comune, a nice well, Pozzo, and elegant buildings. Inside the Cathedral there is a magnificent triptych by Taddeo di Bartolo. The face of the Madonna is beautiful.
Montepulciano is a town of wineries. Just before lunch, we would like to show you a really unique one.
Leaving Piazza Grande and entering Via Ricci, we stop in front of Ricci Palace build by Baldassarre Peruzzi in 1500. First of all we can have a glimpse, more than glimpse to be honest, to the Val d’Orcia. The vista is so beautiful from here!
Going down the stairs we then enter the so-called “la cattedrale del vino “, the wine cathedral , due to its majestic architecture, high ceilings and the impressive amount of barrels stored in here.
Have you ever see something like this? This place is so unique and amazing that has been chosen as setting for the blockbuster “New Moon”. Thanks to this, Palazzo de’ Ricci has been a tour location for months after the release of the movie!
Among incredible architecture, fascinating history and great wine…we believe this is a perfect day tour ! The wine, called Nobile di Montepulciano is 100% Sangiovese and, if you choose one of many good brands, it is as good as the more famous Brunello di Montalcino.
And now, it’s lunch time!
For lunch we have chosen a nice Enoteca close to S. Francesco church and with a fantastic view on Val d’Orcia, just in front of us. The place is warm and friendly , inside really cool. We have selected 2 or 3 different brands of Nobile, just to be able to make comparison. Now sit, breath, relax and be inspired by it. Enjoy !