Bruscello, the Bravìo barrel race, flag waving, the beating of drums and the songs of soldiers’ choirs: these traditions weren’t invented to attract tourists, but now visitors come from far and wide specifically to experience them. They join with Montepulciano residents in sharing the mildly paganistic joy of certain piazza rituals. The various events take place in celebration of art, music, eating well and following the relaxed, forgotten pace of ages long past. Traditions are simply a natural part of everyday life here: each generation entrusts them to the next one as they pass the baton.
With your nose turned toward the sky as you breathe in fresh air, your eyes will hone in on the precious pietre (stones) of the local architecture. But other treasures that are just as valuable are hidden underground. They seem almost like cathedrals with their own sorts of arches, spiers and aisles. These wineries are monuments in their own way, treasured evidence of past culture, and heritage of a community that built itself around wine. Here you’ll find an ineffable kind of beauty, with the aromas and flavors of Vino Nobile, the sacred silence of the “sleeping” barrels where the wine ages, and movements that go back to the beginning of time.
Picture this: an enormous stage, larger than the largest of theatres; audience seating against the backdrop of a starry night or a sunny sky; and scenery made up of Renaissance architecture. Montepulciano is a theatre in its own right, with its square at the top of the town, where the air is lighter and you breathe in history at every turn. All theatres create art and bring beautiful music to life; all depict everyday existence on stage. We do the same things, but in places where the audience members are constantly surrounded by beauty on all sides.
New Moon told the tale of desperate love between vampires; the Medici court was portrayed by Hollywood stars standing against the backdrop of Piazza Grande; and a “midsummer night’s dream” saw screen greats Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer wrestling with Shakespeare’s exalted work. These are just three among hundreds of large and small film productions that have chosen and continue to choose Montepulciano as an ideal and completely unique set.