The biggest and highest of southern Tuscany's hill towns Montepulciano has been called the "Pearl of the 1500s" thanks to the numerous works created by famous Renaissance artists.

The main square "Piazza Grande" is surrounded by magnificent buildings such as the Palazzo Pubblico, the Cathedral and several residences by Vignola, Sangallo and Peruzzi. Artistic treasures abound in the many churches. The most beautiful is the tempie of San Biagio.

Montepulciano celebrates several traditional events. Between July and August, Piazza Grande becomes a stage for concerts and for the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte (International Arts Workshop). At the end of August the people of Montepulciano perform - the 'Bravio delle Botti', a competition between the 'contrade', the different districts of the town, where empty wine barrels are rolled up through the town in a race to Piazza Grande.

And wine is, in fact, the most famous product of the land around Montepulciano. Most of the wine cellars dug into the ground under the town are of historical interest; here visitors may take a break between one museum and another. In the 17th century, when Francesco Redi wrote his poem, Bacchus in Tuscany, he described the Noble Wine of Montepulciano as "The King of all wines.” Around the area are numerous vineyards where you can taste and buy wine