bravioBRAVIO DELLE BOTTI Re-enactments of an ancient past and more recently revived events are often to be seen in the costumed tournaments and games of certain towns, that gift us with the charm of Medieval Courts, or the elegance of the Renaissance period.

There we can also admire the simplicity of rural life, celebrated by the ‘Poor Theatre’ of Monticchiello, or in the ‘Bruscello’ of Montepulciano. The food and wine festivals known as ‘sagra’s’ also allow us to rediscover flavours and crafts of times past.

BRAVIO DELLE BOTTI At Montepulciano on the last Sunday of every August, there is the traditional celebration known as the ‘Bravio delle Botti’.

It is a challenge just as the original contest between the 8 sections of the town, known as ‘contrade’, where the winning prize is a painted cloth known as the ‘Bravium’. The race itself consists in rolling an 80kg barrel for about 2km uphill through the pretty streets that wind through the historical centre of Montepulciano, to the finish line, situated near the Cathedral, in the main square known as Piazza Grande.

The ‘Bravium’ awarded to the winning contrada consists of a painted cloth, that bears the image of the towns patron saint, Saint Giovanni Decollato and held in honour to the dispute of the ‘Bravio delle Botti’. This celebration dates back to year 1373, when originally the race was on horseback, but was abolished from the seventeenth Century most probably due to public order problems. The race was then resumed with the new version but this time pushing the barrels. Very appealing is the parade that passes through the town before the race, made up of people dressed in beautiful Medieval gowns, flag carriers and drummers, bearing the colours of the 8 contrade.