One of the last larger towns in near proximity to our lodging (i.e. within about 30 minutes) was Montepulciano. Marcello, the son of family that owned the agriturismo where we stayed, specifically recommended we stop by as it was one of his favorite places to visit for a evening away from home. The town is well known for its many culinary delights, including honey and pici (or pinci) pasta. We parked on the east side of town and walked around Viale I Maggio past the Giardino di Poggiofanti outside the fortified walls. We entered through the Porta al Prato and walked up Via di Gracciano nel Corso past the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino, where many visitors sat to rest their legs and eat lunch (below right).
On Marcello's advice, we visited the tasting room of a local winery while we were there, whose cavernous rooms seemed to continue in an endless maze, filled with monumental barrels that must have been constructed in the space as they were far too large to fit through the doors. A bit further up from the tasting room was the main square of the town, where the town hall, the Palazzo Comunale (below center) stood, designed in the style of the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. In addition to the more prominent landmarks, the many streets and alleyways we passed offered equally striking scenes, alive with vibrant color and activity.
We grabbed some delicious Italian cookies and cappuccino at a local café, and before heading out, ate lunch at Café Poliziano, which overlooked the the countryside from tables on its outdoor terrace. Even though we only ended up spending a few hours in Montepulciano, it was definitely worth the visit!
For other posts in my Italy series, see below: