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Montepulciano still shows the original characteristics of a typical mediaeval urban centre: perched on a hill that rises between the Valdichiana and the Val d'Orcia, it clings to the traditional Tuscan houses of stone and brick. It is believed that that Montepulciano was founded by the mythical Etruscan King Porsenna. It's more likely, however, that it originated as the property of the Roman "Gens Publicii", from which it would have derived its name "Monte Publiciano".
Montepulciano became a municipality at the beginning of the 14th century. It's ownership was contested between Siena and Florence for a long time, but it was eventually established as part of the Medici seigneury in 1511.During this period, the major noble families in Montepulciano strove to gain local power over the local people.
But these families also have made Montepulciano become a city that could compete with Siena and even Florence in the grandeur of its public and private buildings. Today, Montepulciano is almost identical to how it was four hundred years ago. Its "palazzo" and narrow streets form a historic centre in which time seems not to have gone by, leaving the beauty and majesty of the Renaissance buildings intact.
The works of Antonio Sangallo the Elder, Andrea Pozzo, Vignola and Michelozzo alternate with each other on an itinerary that starts at the lowest gate and ascends through the town to reach the Piazza Grande. In the Piazza are the Palazzo Comunale designed by Michelozzo, the Palazzo Contucci and Palazzo Nobili-Taurgi of Sangallo, the distinctive "Pozzo dei Grifi e dei Leoni" (the well of the gryphons and lions), and the cathedral, which houses the triptych of Taddeo di Bartolo.

Other works of art are to be found in the various churches (such as the Madonna and Child of Duccio di Boninsegna in the church of Sant'Agostino) and in the Civic Museum of Montepulciano.
Montepulciano is also known for its famous wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and for its excellent local cuisine.
In addition to its artistic and architectural heritage, its pristine environment and the exceptional quality of life it guarantees, Montepulciano offers a juicy calendar of activities that range from culture to art and from folklore to the revival of historical traditions.
Of particular interest to bird watchers is the "Riserva Naturale" of Montepulciano Lake.
The main cultural initiative in Montepulciano is the ""Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte"", a summer art festival in which several initiatives concerning music, drama, dance and the figurative arts take place.
Another important event is the "Bruscello", the performance of a folk tale in the old style of country theatre. The "Bravio delle Botti" on the other hand, evokes the mediaeval history of Montepulciano in a challenge between the eight "contrade" (guilds) in which the town has been divided since 1337.

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