The village of Montepulciano is located in South-East Tuscany and has very ancient origins. Although prehistoric remains have been found in the area, suggesting an already existing settlement, the municipality of Montepulciano, according to the documents examined by some historians and the finds found near the fortress in 1989, was born between the 3rd and 4th centuries BC. as a settlement of the Etruscan population governed by Porsenna, “Lucumone di Chiusi” (king of Chiusi). Seat of a military garrison in Roman times, Montepulciano experienced its moment of maximum economic, artistic and architectural glory between the beginning of the 1400s and the mid-1500s. Today Montepulciano is famous not only for its architecture, its history and its traditions, but above all for its excellent vineyards, from which the “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano” is obtained.
The history of Pienza, pearl of the Val d’Orcia, is closely linked to its founder: Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was born there in 1405. His parents were members of the noble Sienese family “Piccolomini”, that political events had confined to the property in the countryside.
At the time of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Corsignano, the old name of Pienza, was a fortified village (already known in Roman times but previously the area was inhabited also in the Upper Neolithic and Bronze Ages).
Enea Silvio Piccolomini, a refined and distinguished humanist, who embarked on an ecclesiastical career and became Pope, wanted a city to arise in this place, which had seen his birth, whose name would recall his papacy. Thus it was that he had this “ideal city” with its harmonious forms designed by the architect Bernardo Rossellino, the most illustrious architect of the first half of the 15th century. In modern times, Pienza has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its gastronomic excellence is the “Pecorino di Pienza”( sheep’s cheese).
Built on an area already inhabited by the Etruscans, the foundation of San Gimignano is lost in the mists of time: legend has it that in 63 BC. the two brothers Muzio and Silvio, young patricians who fled Rome because they were accomplices of Catilina, took refuge in Val d’Elsa and built two castles there, the nucleus of the future San Gimignano. The first historical document attesting the name of the city is dated August 30, 929. In the Middle Ages the city was located on one of the routes of the “Via Francigena”, which Sigerico, archbishop of Canterbury, traveled between 990 and 994 and which for him represented the 19th stage of his return journey from Rome to England. the name “San Gimignano” probably derives from the name of the bishop of Modena, Gimignano, who, according to another legend, saved the city from the threat of Attila during the barbarian invasions, miraculously appearing on the city walls. Due to the characteristic medieval architecture of its historic centre, with the well-preserved famous towers (status symbols for a rich medieval families), it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The San Gimignano site, despite some 19th-20th century restorations, is mostly intact in its 12th-14th century appearance and is one of the best examples in Europe of urban organization of the municipal age. Among the many local productions, Vernaccia, an excellent well-structured white wine, and saffron stand out.