Montepulciano, gem of Renaissance and home of the Vino Nobile! This amazing hill-top town, that reaches 600 meters on the sea level , is absolutely worth the long way up to the pure beauty of Piazza Grande,
visiting Piazza Grande represents an actual travel back in time to the days when Montepulciano was strongly linked to Florence, not only politically but also esthetically. Along the main street that brings from Porta al Prato to the main square, among ancient buildings and small traditional shops, you will find the famous “cantine” (Italian for “ wine cellars”)! Almost each wine farm in the area has its own aging wine cellar in the old town, where they store the well-known Montepulciano red wine, the Vino Nobile. These wine cellars are open for tasting classes, and most of them deserve a visit: going deep down these old caves (some of them were actually Etruscan tombs), feeling a significant change of temperature and humidity and smelling that special barrel scent (some barrels are so big that they make an odd echo effect between them) is a unique experience. Not to miss: Cantina de Ricci, just a small walk away from Piazza Grande, in the heart of Palazzo Ricci and the wonderful view from San Francesco Square. There’s so much to talk about strange echo effects in the stunning church of Saint Biagio, just right out of Montepulciano on the way to Pienza, thanks to its iconic dome: the church, a true masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, with its “Greek cross” structure generates inside itself a breathtaking echo if you just stand in the center of the dome!
Unmissable events: the Bravio delle Botti www.braviodellebotti.com (last week of August), when the eight quarters (“contrade”) of the town fight rolling barrels all the way up to Piazza Grande and party all week in taverns with music, cooking challenges and plays in costume. Calici di stelle www.calicidistellemontepulciano.it a magic festival that takes place on 10th August: all the ancient wine cellars are open for tasting and the town is flooded with people.
The Cantiere Internazionale d’arte www.fondazionecantiere.it (operas, concerts, plays, ballets and performances from the end of July to the first days of August) and the Live Rock Festival www.liverockfestival.it interesting musical kermesse where a lot of international styles of music meet, from rock to indie to world music, elettronic, funk and reggae.