There is a village on the slopes of Mount Amiata that dominates three valleys (Asso, Ombrone and Arbia) but above all that dominates the Italian scene, and not only that of good wine: it is Montalcino. The village is in fact surrounded by the many hectares of famous vineyards that produce the sweet nectar of grapes. Brunello, the name of the town’s wine, is obtained from Sangiovese vineyards deriving from the idea of Ferruccio Biondi Santi in 1888.
We have news of the small village since the beginning of the 10th century. The structure and the bases of the town have remained almost intact since ancient times and in fact the tourist can admire all the beauty and uniqueness of the place. Built on top of a hill, Montalcino was an important operational center for both the Republic of Siena and, subsequently, for the Florentine one.
What to see in Montalcino
We begin our journey in the beautiful village. The central hub of the town is certainly the Piazza del Popolo. Typically medieval square that has not changed over the years and in which you can see the beautiful Palazzo dei Priori. It too has clearly medieval origins from which emerges a tower that “controls” the square. Nearby we find the Duomo, also named the Cathedral of the Holy Savior. This building was built in the 19th century in the footsteps of an ancient church, and is an incredible example of the neoclassical style.
Not far from the square there is also the Civic and Diocesan Museum. Inside there are wonderful works of art by the masters Sano di Pietro, Ambrogio Lorenzetti Luca di Tommé and many others. There is also a bronze crucifix by Gianbologna. The other focal point is certainly the fortress. Located at the top of the village, it silently watches over it. This beautiful structure that has remained intact since medieval times allows tourists to have amazing views of the Amiata and the Crete Senesi.
About 10 minutes away from the village, it is also recommended to visit the beautiful church of Sant’Antimo. Montalcino is truly a pearl set between the greenery of the Val d’Orcia and the nectar of grapes. There are many opportunities to take unforgettable photos and drink excellent wine. The various accommodation facilities and wineries in the country have experience to spare in advising travelers on the best combinations of food and drink. The country also offers entertainment and events throughout the year that only increase its notoriety.
Events and traditions
Let’s start with the feast in honor of Maria del SS Soccorso, patron saint of Montalcino. This is celebrated on the 8th of May. In summer there are two renowned events. The first is the Jazz Wine, a jazz music festival with some important contemporary musicians held inside the fortress. The second is the Montalcino International Festival. This festival deals with itinerant musical events that change location from year to year in order to make tourists discover, or rediscover, some incredible places in the Orcia Valley.
Another well-known event, also held inside the fortress, is the “Montalcino honey week” where you can find the best collections of local and international honey. The thrush festival, which takes place in the last week of October, is very folkloric. Returning to the origins and traditions in which hunters and falconers went into the woods to get their dinner, the four districts of the country compete in a spectacular archery competition. The whole is adorned with a characteristic historical procession.
Montalcino is much more than the country of Brunello. There is an encounter between art, history, culture, nature and music that has no equal. We are in the middle of the Unesco heritage of the Val d’Orcia and tourists can get intoxicated thanks to the beauty of the breathtaking views, the sunsets, the peace in the countryside and why not, one of the best wines in Italy.