De’ Ricci wine cellar, the monumental cathedral of wine in Montepulciano
Going up to the winding main road of Montepulciano, which leads up to Piazza Grande, in the highest part of the city, one comes across the palace of the Marchesi Ricci. Palazzo Ricci is one of the most impressive Renaissance buildings in Montepulciano.
The main entrance corresponds also with that of the medieval wine cellars that were dug up in the tuff, which conceal a millennial history.
For part of the last century, it is known as the Redi cellar, but nowadays is home to the De’ Ricci cellars.
To arrive to the cellar, one must enter in to Palazzo Ricci and walk through a monumental equestrian staircase, which opens to the eyes of visitors a spectacle of rock, wood and wood.
In the sacred silence visitors enter the central part of the wonderful cellar, characterized by a thick brickwork, divided into three longitudinal naves, where imposing pillars support immense arcades, all of which are reminiscent of a Romanesque Gothic cathedral.
Nevertheless, the oldest part of the cellar dates back to the Etruscan period: it is a circular cave with a well at its center perhaps used as a tomb or as a location for religious rituals, which the legend wants to be linked to the cult of Bacchus.
After that, other environments are pushed deep into the sandy tuff where fossil discoveries denounce the even older origin when the hill on which Montepulciano stands was underwater by the sea.
Today the cellar is still operational and a wine refinement site.
Open to the public for a visit and a tasting of the wine produced by the Trabalzini family is one of the sites not to be missed in Montepulciano.