Montepulciano, a small medieval village, stands on a ridge 605 m above sea level, not too far from Siena, between the enchanting Val D’Orcia and Valdichiana, in the beautiful region of Tuscany. A place surrounded by history, art and nature, which amazes with its postcard landscapes, breathtaking views and ancient monuments.
Montepulciano has very ancient roots. Its origins date back to the times of the ancient Etruscans and legend has it that the town was founded by Lars Porsenna, Chiusi’s Etruscan lucumone.
The first actual date of its birth goes back to a written document dated 715 AD, in which the town is known as Mons Politianus.
The little village was disputed for a long time between the cities of Florence and Siena for its strategic position with which it was possible to dominate the neighbouring Valdichiana and Val D'Orcia. From the fifteenth century onwards, Montepulciano was a place of great artistic and cultural participation, house of the great poet Poliziano but also of famous architects such as Baldassarre Peruzzi and Jacopo Barozzi, among those who have contributed to build the famous urban features that are still present today.
What to visit
One of the first and most fundamental stops when visiting Montepulciano is surely the Sanctuary of Sant’Agnese. Located in the lower part of the town, it rises outside the walls of Montepulciano and was founded in 1306 by Santa Agnese Segni. In addition to its characteristic Gothic facade, the Church benefits from countless artistic works of great importance such as the frescoes of Simone Martini’s School, Raffaello Vanni and Ulisse Giocchi. The central rose window made by Michelangelo di Cortona is also worth admiring.Not far from the Church, the facade of Balzana Viviani and the Medici Fortress of Sangallo are also important, the latter is used nowadays as an educational establishment and place of several exhibitions in the town. However, when passing through the famous and fourteenth-century Porta di Gracciano, you can reach the particular historic city center, which offers a pleasant walk along the unique medieval corners of the little town. A few steps away from Piazza Savonarola, it is possible to find the Church of San Bernardo, another cultural and artistic gem of Montepulciano, built by the architect Andrea Pozzo. It is impossible not to mention the Vignola’s Palazzo Avignonesi, another significant historical monument of Montepulciano. On your way up, you’ll reach Piazza Michelozzo where you’ll find the remarkable Church of Sant'Agostino, an imposing building by Michelozzo Michelozzi. Inside you will be able to admire the Donatello’s wooden crucifix placed on the altar. Therefore, for those who love nature, the visit isn’t over. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy wonderful views that refer to Tuscany’s typical vast fields with cypress trees.
Montepulciano on the big screen
Montepulciano was the location of several movies and advertising sets. Its historical background and its Renaissance and medieval beauty made it a perfect shooting place for international movies and TV series with influential appearances.
One of the latest international movies shooted in Montepulciano is New Moon, the second chapter of the so loved Twilight Saga. Being on the big screen increased Montepulciano’s tourism even more, many fans wanted to feel part of the aforementioned movie just by walking down the streets of this ancient village.
Another equally important set is the one made for the well-known television drama "Medici", where Montepulciano was one of the main shooting locations chosen for the entire three seasons of this tv series.
Last but not least, it is impossible not to mention other important international movies shot in the small village such as Sogno di una notte di mezza estate and L’Arcidiavolo. These are definitely other reasons to visit Montepulciano and to learn about the great qualities that this little town has to offer.
For decades Montepulciano has been and still is one of the most loved destinations for those who visit Tuscany. Its history and its ancient scenery create a quite magical atmosphere, at times bewitching, a perfect opportunity to go back in time and enjoy spectacular places. A visit not to miss and that will definitely leave its mark.