Only a few steps away from the Piazza Grande, the Civic Museum of Montepulciano is located in the Palazzo Neri Orselli, a magnficent building from the 1300s. It houses the Pinacoteca Crociani (Crociani Picture Gallery), containing some 180 paintings from the 14th to the 19th century, donated to the town by Francesco Crociani, the Primicerius of the Cathedral.
Born in Montepulciano in 1781, Crociani amassed the sizeable collection, which reflects the artistic tastes and tendencies of his time, especially embracing 17th- and 18th-century works from Florence and Bologna, as well as paintings by artists from the Netherlands. Belong to this sort of “gallery” are works depicting history, sacred and secular figures, portraits, landscapes, genre scenes and still lifes.
Of special importance within the museum are works by artists from the Sienese School (Antonio Bazzi, known as “Il Sodoma”, Alessandro Casolani, Rutilio Manetti, Deifebo Burbarini), the Florentine School (Giovannantonio Lappoli, Giovanbattista Naldini, Santi di Tito, Giusto Suttermans, Pier Dandini), the Roman School (Giovanni Antonio Galli, known as “Lo Spadarino”), the Emilian School (Prospero Fontana, Agostino Carracci, Cristoforo Munari) and the Flemish School (Jan Miel, Abraham Bloemart).
The museum houses other important works that were collected after the 19th-century suppression of local convents, as well as a series of 16th-century pieces in terracotta by Della Robbia. The collection is remarkable not only thanks to the quality of the art but also because of the works’ close ties to the history of Montepulciano. Here, in fact, are the two altarpieces Dio Padre Beneficente (God the Beneficent Father) which were once housed in the Town Hall, and the lunetta showing the Madonna con Bambino (Madonna with Child), formerly from the Palazzo del Capitano, created on commission by Andrea della Robbia from 1484 to the beginning of 1525.
Since the year 2000, the Museum of Montepulciano has been home to an impressive archaeologicalsection, bringing together Etruscan and Roman artifacts uncovered within the territory of Montepulciano, especially the necropolis of Acquaviva, near the important and strategic road network between Chiusi and Arezzo. The objects from the necropolis cover a span of roughly four centuries, from the second quarter of the 6th to the 2nd century, B.C.
Sacra Famiglia con San Giovannino (Holy Family with young St. John), Antonio Bazzi, known as “Il Sodoma” (1525-1527): in this work of the highest quality, the tender and loving face of the Virgin and the piece’s palette of colours demonstrate clear influences from Raffaello and from the experience the artist acquired during his time spent in Rome.
Pala di Fontecastello (Altarpiece from Fontecastello), Andrea Della Robbia (late 15th – early 16th century): a splendid relief in glazed terracotta painted in white and blue, the work of Andrea Della Robbia, an exponent of the renowned dynasty of Renaissance sculptors.
I giovani che giocano con il gatto (Youths Playing with the Cat), Abraham Bloemaert (1620-1640 ca.): the Dutch painter created this work with its powerful visual impact, the subject matter borrowed from the poetry of daily life. There is an element of dark humour in the gesture of the little boy holding the tail of the poor cat, who digs its claws into the other boy’s clothing with a desperate meow!
Civic Museum – Pinacoteca Crociani
Palazzo Neri Orselli
Via Ricci, 10
Tel. 0578 717300
From 1st March
Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm
From 1st April
Monday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm
on Tuesday – closed
From 2nd May
Monday – Sunday: 10am – 7pm
on Tuesday – closed
Free entry for the whole month of April 2022
regular: € 6,00
reduced: € 4,00
children under 16 years
special tickets available
This exceptionally beautiful Renaissance town, with its Medieval layout, rises amid the picture-perfect countryside halfway between the Val d’Orcia and the Val di Chiana. Walking along the roads of the historic town centre lined with magnificent Renaissance palaces, churches and artisans’ workshops, visitors reach the Piazza Grande. Here are the unmistakable the tower, the Gothic-style façade of the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), the Duomo (Cathedral) dating back to the late 1500s, and and the Marzocco—the heraldic lion that recalls the city’s history halfway between Sienese and Florentine domination. On the slopes outlying the city stands the Tempio di San Biagio (Temple of St. Blaise), designed by the famed Renaissance architect Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, who is said to have inspired Michelangelo’s plans for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Montepulciano is known internationally for its Vino Nobile, one of the world’s best-loved Tuscan wines.