Montepulciano is a small hill town located in Tuscany, in the province of Siena. Montepulciano is mostly known for its medieval buildings and its natural beauty. The town is located at an altitude of 600 meters and is perched on top of a limestone ridge. The town is located quite close to Siena, Florence, Rome and Pienza. Montepulciano's economy is mainly based on agriculture and is known for its beautiful wines including "Il vino Nobile di Montepulciano" which are considered to be the best in Italy by several wine connoisseurs.
According to scholars and archeologists the first inhabitants in the area go back to the 3rd and 4th BC, even before the Etruscans. After the Etruscans, the area was then ruled by the Romans.
Attractions in Montepulciano
The Palazzo communal of Montepulciano was designed by Michelozzo. The palace was built in traditional architecture which is much common in Florence. The design of the palace is very similar to the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence.
The Palazzo Tarugi is an interesting place to visit because of its beautiful architecture. The palace is entirely in traventine which makes it quite different than the palaces that are normally found in this region. The palace also has a portico which was once open for visitors but has been closed since a few years.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The Duomo or the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is the most important religious place in Montepulciano. The cathedral was built between 1594 and 1680 and has beautiful interior. The interiors of the cathedral are decorated with many interesting artworks and the most noteworthy work is a large Assumption of the Virgin which was painted in 1401 by Taddeo Di Bartola of the Sienese School.
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in the 16th century and presents a simple architecture with a three arcade portico. Inside the church is a single nave but the most noteworthy aspect of the church is the precious altar made from terracotta which was made by Andrea Della Robbia.
Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio
The sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio is located close to the city and is a typical Tuscan building constructed in the 16th century. The sanctuary was built at the location of an ancient church and has a circular shape with a large dome over a terrace. The façade is all done in white travertine and features two large bell towers.
Fierra delle Tre Berte
The Fierra delle Tre Berte is a typical festival held in Montepulciano every year in May. The festival showcases various agricultural produce and machinery which is found in the region. Visitors that attend this festival might get a chance to sample several typical food items and local delicacies which are typical to this region. The festival also showcases its local wines and visitors might get a chance to taste some of the best wines produced in Montepulciano.
Getting to Montepulciano
Montepulciano is a fairly small town so there are not many options in terms of transportation. The easiest way to reach the town is by bus. There are several buses that leave for Montepulciano from Florence, Rome, Siena and Pienza each day at regular intervals. There are also many buses that reach the town from other smaller towns in the province. Buses are generally very comfortable and regular; however, delays are not uncommon. The tickets are easily available even in peak tourist seasons. Those who have their own cars can reach Montepulciano quite easily by road from Siena, Florence and Pienza, which is the easiest way to reach the town.
Moving Around the Town
Montepulciano is not a very large town so visitors can easily move around without any problems. Most of the town can be explored on foot since streets here quite picturesque and not very crowded. The town is known for its beautiful car free pedestrian streets so walking around can be quite enjoyable. Those who have their own cars can easily move around the city in their own car, except for the pedestrian only areas. Visitors can also use the public buses for exploring the other areas and quarters of Montepulciano.
Stay and Accommodation
Montepulciano is a very small town but because of the rise in agritourism there are quite a lot of good hotels in town. Most hotels in town are converted from old villas and family homes. There are also a few good bed & breakfasts in Montepulciano where tourists can find clean and comfortable rooms for low prices. Some good hotels to try in town are Hotel Granducato, Hotel Panoramic, Albergo Duomo, Hotel Albergo Marzocco and Meubel II Riccio. Most hotels are located close to the center of the town and rooms are easily available all around the year.
Eating in Montepulciano
Montepulciano has many good options for eating out. The town is known for its agricultural produce and local dishes so there are plenty of good restaurants, pizzerias and bars located in town. Most of these restaurants serve local Tuscan dishes and the specialties are pork, cheese and a thick pasta called pici pasta. Most restaurants also offer excellent quality wines since the region is famous for it. Some good restaurants to try in Montepulciano are Osteria Acquacheta, Le Logge Del Vignola, Ristorante La Grotta, Ai Quattro Venti and Trattoria Di Cagnano.
Shopping in Montepulciano
Montepulciano only has a few places to shop, mostly on the main street of the town which stretches from Porta Al Prato to Piazza Grande. The best thing to purchase in Montepulciano is wine since the town is very famous for its many vineyards from where the famous Vino Nobile is made. Plenty of wine shops in the town sell Vino Nobile since it is the local specialty, however, visitors must be careful since there are also other inferior quality wines which are sold inexpensive. Visitors can also find a variety of locally made cheeses in Montepulciano.