What to Visit at Montepulciano
Montepulciano, famous for the wine to which it gives its name, stands on a hill 600 meters above sea level: from this height it is easy to get lost with your gaze among the green Tuscan hills, olive groves and vineyards and cypress trees that pleasantly mark the whole landscape. From the Tower of the Renaissance Palace of Montepulciano you can see as far as the Sibillini Mountains and Cimone and when the air is particularly clear even the Gran Sasso d'Italia in Abruzzo. In this page discover what to see in Montepulciano in a few hours or during a few days of vacation.
The historical center of Montepulciano, in Tuscany, winds along a single main road (called the Corso) that starts from the lower part of the city and arrives to Piazza Grande. Outside the walls, there are the Church of Sant'Agnese with its original gothic portal and Viviani's balzana facade, the Medicean Fortress by Sangallo and the fourteenth-century Gracciano gate, restored by Sangallo in the early 1500s. You can access the characteristic old town from the Porta di Gracciano and a little further on, to the left of the Marzocco column, precisely in Piazza Savonarola, is the little church of San Bernardo. On the right side of this street there is the Palazzo Avignonesi del Vignola, but also other Renaissance palaces including the Bucelli, in whose base there are many cinerary urns and several stones and Etruscan and Latin inscriptions.
This street, with the appearance of a refined sixteenth century street and home to many patrician palaces, consists of three segments of the streets of Gracciano, Opio and Voltaia. In via Gracciano, on a staircase with a balustrade, stands out the pretty fifteenth-century church of S. Agostino with the facade of Michelozzo. Inside the church we highlight the works of Giovanni di Paolo, Lorenzo di Credi, Antonio del Pollaiolo and a pupil of Pomarancio. Also in Piazza Michelozzo you can see the Tower of Pulcinella with the typical mask that beats the hours.
This square is the heart of the city where every day tourists and locals meet. In summer it comes alive in an extraordinary way thanks to the theatrical performances of the famous international art shipyard and on the last Sunday of August it hosts the competitors of the Bravìo delle Botti, with the representatives of the eight police quarters that have the task of pushing the big barrels for the village. This area, made harmonious in the 15th century by Michelozzo, is made up of many prestigious buildings such as the 14th century Palazzo Comunale, which recalls in its tower and crenellated crown the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, the Palazzo Contucci, begun in 1519 by Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio and finished by Baldassarre Peruzzi, and the Palazzo Nobili-Tarugi, covered in travertine.
Next to this last palace there is the typical fourteenth-century structure of the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo in brick, in front of which there is the well of Grifi and dei Leoni with its elegant Renaissance forms. It closes in beauty the south side of the square the great unfinished facade of the Duomo. This imposing building was built according to the project of Ippolito Scalza between 1592 and 1630, restored later, in 1880. Inside you can admire the triptych of the Assumption by Taddeo di Bartolo, the Madonna and Child by Sano di Pietro and to the left of the central portal, the lying statue of Bartolomeo Aragazzi, poet and secretary of Martin V, by Michelozzo.
Outside the walls of the historic center, towards the slopes of the hill of Montepulciano, in the middle of a spacious and green lawn, there is the Church of San Biagio, a masterpiece by Antonio da Sangallo. This temple is considered the highest point of Renaissance architecture on buildings with a Greek cross plan.