Montepulciano is a wonderful Italian town of 14,506 inhabitants of the province of Siena in Tuscany. The town is located 605 meters above sea level, between the Valdichiana and the Val d’Orcia area.
Its history is ancient and it derives from the Etruscans dating back to the fourth century BC.
It is well known all over the world for its excellent vineyards and its famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.
The history of Pienza, a city declared as World Heritage site by UNESCO, sounds like a fairytale: the city owes its name and its humanistic beauty to Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was born there and was elected Pope in 1458 as Pio II.
Going back to his hometown, he decided to rebuild a large part of the city, thus turning this little medieval borough into a Renaissance-style papal residence. The reconstruction, designed and made by Rossellino and inspired to the work of Leon Battista Alberti, took around three years and in 1462 Pio II consecrated the Cathedral and inaugurated the new city, a urban gem. A visit, even for a few hours, will make you fall in love.
Giovanni Pascoli described it as a city born from a thought of love and a dream of beauty.
Small and fascinating town, located in the Val D’Orcia Natural Park, well known due to its marvelous and suggestive square made of a thermal pool, which has been used since the Roman period and where, throughout the centuries, eminent personalities such as Santa Caterina and Lorenzo il Magnifico have come to get healed.
With a depth of 1000 meters and a temperature of 52°C, the water flows gathering on the huge basin at the center of the village. The thermal waters rise from the subterranean aquifer of volcanic origins.
From Bagno Vignoni, one can easily reach the historical centres of nearby Pienza and Montalcino, and the Val d’Orcia area.
It is a fairytale hilltop town, set south of Siena within a full circle of fortified walls and watched over by a mighty castle of medieval perfection. Montalcino, west of Pienza, is a beautiful village immersed in the breathtaking Val d’Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello red wine.
The town has scarcely changed in appearance since the 16th century. Once you get up to the town, a magnificent spectacle unfolds for your eyes: rolling sunny hills dotted with yellow and red flowers, ancient oak trees, picturesque olive groves, scenic country roads winding through perfect vineyards and isolated cypress trees atop hills.
The town has been made incredibly rich and famous by its Brunello wine, one of the world’s best and most appreciated Italian wines. Montalcino was already well-known for its fine red wines during the 15th century. However, the precious formula of the fantastic Brunello was invented in 1888 by Ferruccio Biondi Santi, who first had the idea of leaving out the grapes used in the traditional Chianti recipe, such as Canaiolo and Colorino, and using only the Sangiovese variety.
Before the Brunello is ready, it must age for a minimum of 5 years, 2 of which must take place in oak barrels, while the Rosso of Montalcino is ready after only one year of aging. Amongst the many renowned wine producers in the area you will find Biondi-Santi, Schidione and Banfi.
Montalcino is not just wine, it is also very rich in artistic treasures. The historical center is dominated by the mighty and imposing Rocca or fortress built in 1361 to mark the passage of Montalcino under the domination of Siena. The views from its ramparts are spectacular, stretching towards Monte Amiata, across the Crete to Siena, and across all of the Valdorcia and the hills of Maremma.
Gorgeous church, whose shape recalls those of the great French romanesque churches, as a testimony of the French influence on this hills.
The St. Norbert canonicals still live in the partly rebuilt monastery, celebrating functions with Gregorian chants.
Not far from Pienza is Monticchiello, a small fortified village characterized by various medieval buildings: the fortress with various remains of the medieval wall and the thirteen-century church dedicated to St. Leonardo and Cristoforo, with interesting remains of frescos.
The shows of the “Teatro Povero”, an expression of sharecropping tradition and a considerable sign of the vitality of the town, have become an international cultural appointment since 1967, dealing with issues of great relevance in the contemporary world.