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Montepulciano for smooth Tuscan living

  • Montepulciano for smooth Tuscan living

    Gorgeous Montepulciano is only a 45-minute (48 km) drive south from Castelnuovo. There is a loftiness about Montepulciano that makes itself felt in the noble palaces and equally noble wine. Even the citizens consider themselves superior, somehow above the fray. But ultimately Montepulciano is a smooth operator, delivering the true Tuscan lifestyle. Begin with a coffee in Caffè Poliziano, a lovingly restored Art Nouveau café which feels like a great Mitteleuropean café that wouldn’t be out of place in Vienna.

    Begin your explorations with the historical splendour of the Piazza Grande, Montepulciano’s showy stage set. The tower of the Palazzo Comunale, modelled on that of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, surveys the Val d’Orcia, Monte Amiata and Siena, with further vistas across to Lake Trasimeno in Umbria. Il Corso, Montepulciano’s main street, is dignified and reserved, much like Montepulciano itself. En route are snapshots of history, from solemn Renaissance mansions to recycled Etruscan artefacts, and the ancestral cellars of local wine families.

    There’s no escaping wine, the most popular purchase in town, especially when linked to a relaxed tasting in rock-hewn vaulted cellars or in a modish wine bar that doubles as a wine shop. Do a wine-tasting of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in Contucci Cantine, possibly with a member of the family who has been making wine here since Renaissance times. Montepulciano is about both wine and heritage but this wine dynasty combines both from its ancestral stronghold on the main square.

    Don’t leave Montepulciano without admiring its star Renaissance church. Tempio di San Biagio stands below the city walls, at the end of a long line of cypresses, and is the Renaissance church most at ease with its setting. This domed masterpiece was designed by Antonio Sangallo in 1518. If food is on your mind, consider a hearty lunch in L’Osteria del Conte, a friendly inn known for its Tuscan home-cooking. See our Montepulciano guide for full recommendations of attractions and restaurants.

    Address: L’Osteria del Conte,
    via di San Donato 19,

    Tel: 0578 756062

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