Other than being of the ten Communes of the Sienese Valdichiana, Montepulciano boasts an undisputed cultural superiority making it particularly representative of the present day situation in this area.
Its well-chosen position makes it possible to admire the hills of Orcia Valley and the Montepulciano and Chiusi lakes. About 14,000 people live in this area of some 165 sq km which includes both hills and lowland.
The main town (Montepulciano 605 m), a jewelcase of artistic and architectural treasures, has a population of 5,000 and is the seat of several important public offices (the tribunal, the attorney's office, local magistrates and tax offices) another six villages (Abbadia di Montepulciano, Acquaviva, Gracciano, Montepulciano Stazione, S. Albino and Valiano) forming a community which is as active as it is varied.
This is the profile of Montepulciano, birthplace of Agnolo Ambrogini, know as "Il Poliziano" from the Latin "mons Politianus", cardinal Roberto Bellarmino and Pope Marcello II Cervini.
According to tradition, the town was founded by Porsenna, the Etruscan Locumone in Chiusi, and was an agricultural centre even Roman times. Recent pottery finds from the 3-2░ centuries B.C. seem to confirm this the first document wicth mention in certain terms the existence of a fortified settlement are from the year 714.
In the 12th century the town's political and administrative structures developed.
During the same period an alliance with Siena was broken and new one formed with Florence with the intention of building a small, territorial domain.
Montepulciano was burned down by the Sienese and passed from one to the other until submitting definitively to Florence.
In 1561 it became an episcopal seat and a town to become one of the privileged centres of the new Grand Duchy in Tuscany.
Montepulciano exhibits impressive architecture mainly but not only Renaissance: Michelozzo, Baldassarre Peruzzi and Vignola all worked here, as did Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio who designed the temple of San Biagio.
Today Montepulciano is divided between an agricultural town - with its main product, the DOCG wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - and an important tourist centre.
At the same time its tertiary activities are continually expanding and efforts are being made to safeguard the work of its local craftsmen.
The rich cultural history of the main town, the untouched natural environment and the presence of the thermal baths at S. Albino all attract tourists in equal measure. In the summer the town hosts the "Cantiere Internazionale d'arte" and in the mid-August holidays the "Bruscello", a traditional show spoken in rhyme, is performed on the Cathedral steps.
On last weekend of August a wine barrel race, the "Bravýo", is run between the different contrade, or districts, of the town and there is a procession in 13th-century dress.