Montepulciano’s tourist office is in the little parking lot just below Porta al Prato ([tel] 0578-757-341; www.prolocomontepulciano.it). It’s open daily from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3 to 6pm (until 8pm in summer); it’s closed Sunday afternoons, but not for riposo in August.
Festivals & Markets
Poliziani in general are still adept wordsmiths and poets. The tradition of popular theater, which had its roots in extemporaneous performances on threshing-room floors, is carried on by a company of locals who write lyric plays on themes of religion, local legends, and chivalric romances. During the annual Bruscello, the townspeople perform their homespun musicals out on the piazze on the days running up to August 15 (Assumption Day, or ferragosto).
Poliziani also used to gallop horses pell-mell through the streets in an annual palio, but for safety reasons this has been reduced in modern times to the Bravio delle Botti. In this only slightly less perilous race, the locals don 14th-century costumes as teams from the traditional contrade (neighborhoods) roll barrels weighing more than 79kg (175 lb.) toward the finish line. (Oh, yeah: It's uphill.) To witness the hernias and join in the pageantry before the race and the feast after, drop by town on the last Sunday in August.
Montepulciano's market day is Thursday.