Monday, June 12, 2023
Our adventure today took us to the medieval walled town of Montepulciano. It was a town known for its wine, the Vino Nobile. The wine was made from sangiovese grapes that were grown there.
We parked the vehicles and walked up into the town. Montepulciano’s medieval architecture hasn’t changed since the 1500s.
We stopped at the historical town center, Piazza Grande. It was a large square in the center of town and flat. All of the other streets from this piazza slope down the hill.
The Nobili-Tarugi Palace was located on the Piazza. It was built in the early 16th century as the residence of the De Nobili family and later by the Tarugis.
The Town Hall, Palazzo Comunale, was also located along the Piazza. It dated from the late 14th and early 15th century. It was built originally as a palace and then later became the city hall.
The Well on the Piazza had the Medici coat of arms as well as Griffins and Lions. The two lions sitting on top represented Florence and on either side of the lions sat a griffin that represented Montepulciano.
The Cathedral Saint Mary of Assunta was consecrated in 1712 and sat on the site of an ancient church of Santa Maria. The bell tower was from the 15th century. The outside of the church was very plain because the marble was never added as planned. Inside was a 1401 gold-hued altarpiece by Taddeo di Bartolo.
The Medici Fortress was located at the highest point of town and had been rebuilt several times. It was first built in the 8th century and what we saw dated from 1261!
On the facade of the medieval Benincasa Palace was a bust of Gian Gastone de Medici (1671-1737). He was the 7th and last Grand Duke of Tuscany.
The il Corso was about a mile long and ran through the historic old town. The Corso began at the city gate and ascends to the Piazza Grande. There were narrow streets in the old town.
As we explored the town we stopped into La Dolce Vita, a wine tasting, bar,restaurant and wine store. It opened in 2005 and was located inside an historic building dated to the 13th century. It was a cool place to look around in.
Because Montepulciano sits high on a hill there were some terraces that offered breathtaking views of the countryside!
You could also see the Temple of San Biagio. It sat outside the city walls of Montepulciano and was built by Antonio da Sangallo who was an architect from Florence. It was built between 1518-1545 and was considered a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.
I used my Find Me Gluten Free app to find a restaurant with gluten free options. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at AI Quattro Venti. Locals ate here which was always a good sign. The gluten free gnocchi and gluten free bread was yummy. Those in our group who ate gluten really enjoyed their meals too!
After leaving Montepulciano we stopped at the Azienda Agricola Canneto winery for a glass of their wine. Canneto AG of Zurich purchased the estate in 1987 from a family that for generations had a great reputation of wine-making. The wines were certified organic since 2017. Of course we tried the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano that was grown here.
We went outside and enjoyed our glass of wine as we looked over the estate! It was very relaxing.
There was some rain and then the sun came out when we were back at the villa. A beautiful rainbow appeared.
This evening some of our group read and others played Euchre and recapped our day.