Montepulciano

Standing high atop a hill in southern Tuscany not too far from Siena, Montepulciano is a medieval town of rare beauty highly recommended visiting in Tuscany. The city, full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming squares and hidden corners, boasts vast panoramas all over the wonderful Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it.


Recommended Sites to Visit
Piazza Grande is the heart of Montepulciano and the setting for its main events, including the barrel-racing Bravio delle Botti contest held in August every year. A walk through Montepulciano is the best way to view the town and its beautiful landmarks as well as enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside covered by vineyards producing the famous Vino Nobile!
Other sites to visit are:  the Palazzo Comunale, designed by Michelozzo in the tradition of the Palazzo della Signoria (Palazzo Vecchio) of Florence; the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or the Duomo of Montepulciano, constructed between 1594 and 1680; and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (late 16th century).
A few miles west of Montepulciano there is a tiny  town that cannot be missed: Pienza This charming village is widely known as the "ideal city of the Renaissance", the creation of the great humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini who later became Pope Pius II. Piccolomini had the money and influence to transform his birthplace village, the humble Corsignano, into what he considered the Utopian city should be, exemplifying the principles and philosophy of classical times and of the great Italian Renaissance. 




Vino Nobile

The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano received its DOCG status shortly after Brunello di Montalcino, in 1980. The DOCG covers the red wine of the Montepulciano area. The wine received its name in the 17th century, when it was the favorite wine of the Tuscan nobility. The variety of Sangiovese in Montepulciano is known as Prugnolo Gentile and is required to account for at least 80% of the wine. Traditionally Canaiolo and Mammolo make up the remaining part of the blend but some producers have begun to experiment with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The wines are required to age two years prior to release, with an additional year if it is to be a riserva. The recent use of French oak barrels has increased the body and intensity of the wines which are noted for their plummy fruit, almond notes and smooth tannins.



Recommended Restaurant & Hotel
Villa Nottola once served as the country residence of the Bracci Counts; the villa and the surrounding buildings have been restored and now are the ideal place to spend vacations in the heart of Tuscany. 


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