Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Montepulciano Tuscany

Montepulciano, Italy

Montepulciano is a beautiful town in the hills of Tuscany and a marvelous noble wine.
High on the hill overlooking the green and fertile valley, a medieval castle dominates the horizon. The massive city walls explode out of the mountain and lead to the antique castle with its tower. Outside the city walls the church Sant'Agnese is the primary structure leading to the gothic arched door to the city, porta di Gracciano built in the 1300s and restructured in the 1500s, from this point on to through the entire city center there are only buildings from the 1300-1500 period.

The streets and alleys are the home of numerous artisans, restaurants and small food stores; bread, milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat shops exhibit their products, all fresh and inviting. Souvenir and gift shops have local products. Easily one becomes distracted while traveling these avenues from an era long lost.

The surrounding hillside and valleys are cultivated with Olive groves and Vineyards. This is the land of the super Tuscany wines and even the table wines are an experience not easily forgotten. The wines that carry the name of this area are “Nobile di Montepulciano” and “Rosso di Montepulciano”. Great with the meats, game, fowl and the hearty pasta dishes native to Montepulciano.

Nobile di Montepulciano is made with “Prugnolo gentile” a variety of San Giovese. This wine is granite red and dry perfect with the Cacio Pecorino, a cheese brought by the immigrants from Sardegna still produced with the same methods from the renaissance period. Complimentary to the local foods, the Pansanto (bread covered with cauliflower, olive oil and vinegar), la bruschetta (grilled bread with olive oil and garlic), la panzanella (stale bread with tomato, olive oil, onions, and basil), and a plate of “fagioli al fiasco” (cooked white beans with olive oil) but it is necessary that you try “Pici” a handmade pasta covered with a savory meat sauce.

There are various ways to lodge in Montepulciano, hotels, private homes and agriturismo. The agriturismo is a farm with a pensione in the complex where 55% of the products served in the restaurant must be produced on the farm itself. If you intend to stay just 1 night the best choice is a hotel but if the schedule includes a couple of days to visit the local vineyards then an agriturismo is definitely the path to follow. The owner will be able to indicate which vineyards he likes and will know the owner and most likely make a call ahead of time. The food at an agriturismo will not be as elaborate as some of the local restaurants but it will be genuine and fresh easily making this an unforgettable experience.

Montepulciano is also famous for its thermal spring spas. This is not the spa you find in the center of Dallas or New York. These are actual hot springs. The treatments range from nose and throat and lung therapies to skin care and physical therapy. The therapies also include yoga in the pool, anti-gravity massages, chocolate wraps and olive oil massages. Be pampered with genuine food, great wine, clean air, and a spa treatment.

Daily trips to the local vineyards is a must and in late February the presentation of the annual production. This will not be Nobile di Montepulciano that is widely known but is fantastic as a Novello or new wine. Several days can easily pass in the cellars of Villa S.Anna, Gattavecchi, Buracchi and Avignonesi. The days will pass and it will be time to return home before you know it.

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Blogger ChickyBabe said...

You write with such passion about Italy; I can always tell your love for the country. I know this sounds like a generic comment, but it's evident in most of your posts. :)

9:28 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

I went to Italy when I was 19 and returned to the States when 37. My entire adult life has been in Italy.

Italy offered me the possibility to satisfy my intense curiosity. There is so much to learn about, each little town is different, so you could say I am in hog's heaven.

3:45 AM

Blogger a.c.t. said...

Hi there, love your blog. I'd like to be able leave comments but I think you've got it set so that only 'bloggers' can comment. Can you change the settings so that anyone can comment? I set up an account so I could pass the message on. This is me http://www.20six.co.uk/act

6:14 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT - Thanks this is probably a better way to do this.


8:23 AM

Blogger Peace said...

You can publish a book on Italy tourism : P

5:16 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Peace, you are very kind. I am working on a book regarding my experiences in Italy, immigrant, running companies, and politics. I hope that it will be interesting enough for someone to read!

5:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This brought back lots of lovely memories. I lived in Siena for a year while I was studying Italian at university - i didn't go to Montepulciano but I love the wine ;-)

8:02 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT - Siena, as most of Tuscany, is a piece of heaven on earth. Later this summer I will be writing about the Palio.

I hope the site continues to provide positive emotions.

9:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be in Montepulciano May 2-7 and would like to have a lymph drainage massage. Can you advise me as to how to find out about the spa in English and what I might expect? Thanks

12:44 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Grace - You can contact the Terme directly by email at info@termemontepulciano.it. They also have a Website. Even though it is in Italian (this terme is a well kept secret) it can show you some pictures of the infrastructures.

Please write them an email at the above address with all your questions. About 50% of the personnel speak very good english.

By the way, please tell them you found them through my blog!

Thanks again. I hope I was helpful.


1:15 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Grace - Thank you for stopping by. You can find some information, even though it is in Italian, at their Website (they have some good fotos) This is one of the best kept secrets in Toscana!

Additionally you can send the an email at:


About 50% of the personnel speak english.

Please tell them you found them through my blog.

I hope I was helpful.


1:17 PM


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