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Also of Etruscan origin it later became a Roman winter encampment. A main centre of the valley, Montepulciano, it has a fortress dating back to the 8th century and medieval palazzi or residences from the13th century which recall the history of the comunes.
Montepulciano has been called "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 with unfinished façade begun in1594 from a designby Ippolito Scalza and several residences by Vignola, Sangallo and Peruzzi. Artistic treasures abound in the many churches in the historical centre and just outside. The most beautiful is the tempie of San Biagio, begun in 1518 by Antonio da Sangallo the elder just outside the town in thedirection of Pienza.
Montepulciano celebrates several traditional events and is considered an important cultural and tourist centre.
Between July and August, Piazza Grande becomes a stage for concerts and for the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte (International Arts Workshop). During the mid-August holidays it is traditional for the people of Montepulciano to perform the Bruscello, while the hommage to the community's greatest production takes piace at the end of August - 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, inviting the visitor to take a break between one museum and another.
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