Posted by: lizlitzow | April 4, 2010

Montepulciano-A Tuscan Gem

the view fom Montepulciano

A classic town, Montepulciano is like a chunk of Florence on a hillside. Getting steadily gracious as it rises is the central monument to the city, the piazza, set high above the rolling hills of the Chiana and Orcia Valleys.  Here is the picture perfect landscape and the vineyards that produce fine wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

View from Montepulciano

Most people enter the town at Porta al Prato at the lower end and walk up through the town, eventually arriving at Piazza Grande. It is the highest hill town in Tuscany, at 605 metres.  As you continue to explore the town you’ll pass many interesting palazzi and the Marzoco column with its Lion (a heraldic lion) symbol of Tuscany having replaced the she-wolf of Siena in 1511.

Lions in the Piazza

At the top of the Piazza is the Duomo, Santa Maria Assunta well worthy of a visit to see the altarpiece of Assumption by Sienese artist Taddeo di Bartolo.

the enormous church in the Piazza

another amazing building in the Piazza

Apart from being one of the more beautifully preserved and kept Tuscan towns, Montepulicano is of course famous for its red wine known as Vino Nobile. The Etruscans drank it, the Gauls invaded for it and royal ambassadors demanded it.

Unfortunately, over centuries, praise for it waned and it wasn’t until 1933 when Cantina Fanetti presented a fine red wine which met with general approval.

Soon afterwards, a cooperative was formed and the 1960’s saw an awakening of wine growing. In 1966 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was one of the first Italian wines to obtain recognition with the  Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) also being the first wine in Italy to receive the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).  Now the production zone is the territory of the comune of Montepulciano and limited to vineyards situated between 250 and 600 metres above sea level.

Vinification, compulsory ageing and bottling must all take place within the territory of the comune of Montepulciano. The wine must be aged in wood and cannot be released before the end of two years maturation.

Nowadays you can find many wonderful local wines, not only Vino Nobile at the various enotecas in this town for tasting, history of wine making and of course purchasing wine.  We visited La Dolce Vita Enoteca in via Di Voltaia nel Corso where Christian was most helpful in ensuring we left with armsful of  wine.

Exploring Montepulciano is not just a jaunt from cantina to enoteca. A relaxing coffee and pastry is highly recommended at the wonderful Cafe Poliziano.

Liz leaving the cafe

Opposite the Poliziano is a shop claiming to be the oldest in Montepulciano, established in 1848.  It sells shoes and leather goods and had lots of bright yellow shoes outside as its display – very interesting.

bright yellow shoes

For a magnificent end to your tour, visit the Tempio di San Biagio. In an olive grove, near a copse of cypresses, this awe-inspiring temple consilidates the grace and beauty of Montepulciano.

Tempio di san Bagio from above

A tuscan town high on our list of favourite places to visit. We had the most beautiful spring day for our visit to this special part of Tuscany.

looking across Tuscan rooftops


  1. I love all the pictures but especially the last one.
    You can see that the cable dishes are painted in red so they match the roof top:)
    You look like you had lot of fun and enjoyed your self.
    What a “bon vivants” you, both, are!

    • Aren’t we lucky to be able to travel in Italy enjoying all these gorgeous things?
      Montepulciano is particularly lovely and it was a beautiful day as well!

    • Hi Mirella I am the Liz of the Debra and Liz – havent written much as have been busy moving house in Brisbane – but Deb and I are both here in Bagni di Lucca at the same time – a rare occurrence (with our husbands) so will have many adventures to write about. Glad you are enjoying our blog. Ciao Liz

  2. this makes me miss italy so much. it is so beautiful. Im so happy i found this site. it is a rare find. im hoping i can live in italy exactly like you do about 5 months out of the year. cheers and ciao for now.


    • So glad you liked the article. We are both here in our little village at the same time which is very rare, so intend to write more about our experiences and travels. Ciao Liz

  3. Do you know that your site looks really weird in Safari on computer with Ubuntu .

    • I’m sure it would. Lucky you! I hope you are having a great time. I would love to hear about it.

  4. […] is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. The duomo there is my favourite. Click on Montalcino, Montepulciano, Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti for suggestions […]

  5. […] We usually go via Asciano because of the spectacular scenery and stop in Siena, Montalcino or Montepulciano as well.  a view from […]

  6. […] I have been to Montepulciano a couple of times. Here is a previous post…Montepulciano-A Tuscan Gem […]

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