Montalcino, a few words on the history

Between the 12th and 16th century, Montalcino was contended in fierce military battles, first waged against Siena and later, after 1260, allied with Siena against Florence.The small but bold town of Montalcino was thought to be an impenetrable stronghold, protected by walls and by a great fortress. This is why, when the inhabitants of Montalcino handed over the keys of the city to the representatives of Cosimo de' Medici in 1559, the town had been the last to survive as an independent municipality in Italy.

The territory of Montalcino has a natural vocation for the production of wines of the best quality, which has been renown for over two thousand years: evidence thereof and that Montalcino was a place where wine was made is given by the many archeological findings that date as far back as the Etruscan age.
In the Middle Ages, municipal edicts established the time of year when grapes were to be harvested, while even during the siege of 1553, there was no shortage of wine, and Blaise de Montluc, troubled with the task of fending off attacks to the city walls, would "rub his face to a ruby-red color with red wine" to dissimulate the ordeal. Leandro Alberti (1550-1631) from Bologna states that Montalcino is "much mentioned for the good wines that are reaped from those homely hills".

On his visit to Montalcino in 1676-1677, the grand-duke auditor Bartolomeo Gherardini points to the production of 6050 somas of wine, which he describes as a "lively wine, though not abundant". Charles Thompson writes in 1744 that "Montalcino is not particularly famous, except for the goodness of its wines".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Coat of Arms of Montalcino in onyx (14th century)
(Civil and Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, Montalcino)

An ancient military map of the siege
of Montalcino (12th century)
Published in 1584 in the treatise of military
architecture by Maggi and Castriotto.