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Sep 2012

Montepulciano Coat of Arms

No, not that one, that one's the name of the wine producing region in Abruzzo, which is south and east and over the hills from here.

That's also where that second cheapest bottle of rosso you've just ordered with your bistecca comes from and while you think you're not being a total skinflint, it's often the one with the most markup, they say.

They do make wine here, naturally, as evidenced by the vines in the surrounding countryside.

These bottles, however, you'll likely find towards the top of the menu especially the  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which if you are ordering then congratulations on whatever it is you're celebrating.

That will also be an Italian menu since they don't export a lot tending to keep all the good stuff for themselves. See also any, supposedly, half-decent Italian wine, which definitely doesn't include Tesco™s Chianti Classico.

Worthy of a mention, perhaps, because it sets the template for visiting these Tuscan-hillside towns. Persevere with trying to park at the bottom then lug it up, on foot, straight to the top.

That way, the inevitable church or cattedrale up there provides a calming sanctuary and after 20 minutes you'll have steamed off, all ready for a fair-minded mooch on the way back down.

  Torre Di Pulcinella (Piazza Michelozzo)

For no other reason than you'll pass it on your way up.

Pulcinella? Only he of Punch & Judy fame although he doesn't strike the bell every hour with a string of sausages and you'll pass it again on your way back down.

  Fortezza di Montepulciano (Via di S. Donato)

Pick of the old buildings at the top of town, probably. The old fortification is now an artsy, exhibition centre but great views down from the surrounding gardens, not shown.

DO NOT! We repeat, DO NOT attempt to drive up these narrow streets. You'll soon have to abandon that mission with likely damage to the hire car and, in the passenger seat, a traumatised wife with her head in her hands.

No, since you ask, that wasn't us but it very nearly could have been. He should have persevered with trying to park at the bottom then lugged it up, on foot, straight to the top. That way, at least, the missus will still be speaking to you at dinner.

Or 'tea' as it used to be called in the olden days.