1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Montepulciano

MONTEPULCIANO, a town and episcopal see of the province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy, 44 m. S.E. of Siena by rail. Pop. (1901) 6288 (town); 15,384 (commune). The town, 6 m. W. of the station, crowns the summit of a hill (1984 ft.), and is surrounded by medieval walls. It is not traceable in history before A.D. 715. It was under the protection of Siena till 1202, when it declared for Florence and thenceforward passed from one mistress to the other, until early in the 16th century when it finally became Florentine. In 1561 it became an episcopal see. Most of the buildings belong to the Renaissance; except the castle, the 14th-century Palazzo Pubblico, and the portals of two or three churches, especially that of S. Maria (13th century). There are a number of fine private houses, some built by Antonio da Sangallo the elder (1455?-1534) and Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536) and others by Vignola (1507-1573). The beautiful church of the Madonna di S. Biagio probably Sangallo's masterpiece-was built in 1518-1537. The cathedral built by Bartolommeo Ammanati (1570), modified by Ippolito Scalza, and completed in 168O (with the exception of the façade, which is still unfinished) contains a large altar-piece by Taddeo di Bartolo of Siena, and the fragments of an imposing monument erected in 1427-1436 by the Florentine architect Michelozzo in honour of Bartolommeo Aragazzi, secretary of Pope Martin V., which was taken down in the 18th century. The façade of S. Agostino is probably also Michelozzo's work. Montepulciano is famous for its wine, and was the birthplace of the scholar and poet Angelo Anbrogini (1454-1494), generally known as Poliziano (Politian) and of Cardinal Bellarmine (1542-1621).

See F. Bargagli-Petrucci, Montepulciano, Chiusi, &c. (Bergamo, 1907).