07 May, 2009

Montepulciano Report














Sorry for the delay, but now back to Montepulciano...

It was lovely. My trip back to the States last month was brilliant, but it was jam-packed, busy as anything, and I was exhausted at the end. Italy, on the other hand, was like one, big, spa visit :) I felt so rested and focused when I came back, and Montepulciano was certainly the highlight of the trip.

We drove from Siena to Montepulciano and on the way we stopped in Montecino and Pienza, both cities famous for their red wine and peccorino (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong) cheese...so good). The countryside of Tuscany was beautiful; rolling green hills, tall cyprus trees lining the drives of vineyard after vineyard, and ancient walled cities every 20km or so, one of which was Montepulciano.

I made my father pull over at one point so I could get a picture from the road as we approached the city, as I'm sure it'll be an establishing shot in New Moon. The city sits on top of a hill and while it's gorgeous in hues of orange, red and brown amongst the greenery, it is rather ominous and forbidding. That's the point of these hill-fort towns though, to protect them against invaders and be forbidding; that's precisely what Montepulciano does. It certainly 'sets the scene.'

After navigating the incredibly confusing, centuries-old roads (seriously, I'm amazed my father didn't kick me out of the car for leading him astray as his navigator). I then spent the next three days wandering these alleys, photographing as many of them as possible (there are 60ish photos on my webshots album, but I took 402. Yeah, 402.), and enjoying the quiet peacefulness of the city while sampling its fabulous food and wine :)

On my second day there I was sitting in the Piazza Grande working my way through a film theory book with a glass of red and enjoying the general splendor of the beautiful day and the striking architecture that would soon be turned into a film set. Behind me I noticed a sign in front of the Information Center for the town, and as I approached it I could see it was the call for extras auditions for New Moon. The men one day, and the women and children the following day.

I went into the Info Center and asked one of the employees there a bunch of questions about Montepulciano's participation in the filming. She hadn't heard of the books, but she said she did notice that they were going to be particularly busy during that week, despite that usually being a fairly quiet tourism time for them. She said that she had been handling some of their hotel bookings, and that she was also helping out booking accomodation and other odds and ends for the film crew.

It was clear pretty quickly that she didn't know what the town was in for. I told her I had heard about a gathering of the Italian fans that was going to take place at the end of filming and she just said 'that's nice. We're excited about the tourism.' It will be neat to talk to her after the filming, and again perhaps a year from now to see how tourism has increased due to the Twilight connection.

Anyway, I got some good quotes from her and a couple of leads about where filming might happen around town, so I donned my camera again and returned to wandering the streets of Montepulciano.

Obviously the Piazza Grande will be used. That will be the busy square that Bella runs through just as the clock (conveniently on the tower) strikes noon. There are two alleys on either side of the main building, and both are fairly atmospheric, but I'm not convinced that they'll be the ones used in the film. Looking at the front of the building, the alley on the left is the town's public toilets, and the alley on the right is a cash machine... practical, yes, but not very visually dynamic. You can see on the pictures though just how they might be dressed, or how the camera angle could change to include only those elements that the filmmakers want.

The other building that they are supposedly using (none of this is confirmed, I'm just going on Montepulciano's tourism board), is the Palazzo Selimbini. It's about a ten minute walk straight downhill from the Piazza Grande. Sadly it wasn't open, and honestly, I'm not even sure what it is yet (hotel? Restaurant? Bank? They've all come up on my searches, but the sites are in Italian... yeah... let me know if anyone finds out). But I took pictures anyway. It is a forboding front, so it could be part of the Volturi headquarters, and there's a really good-looking alley (yes, I became a connoseuir of alleys on this trip) right next to it... so who knows?

And the final day I climbed up the clock tower building to the terrace and took some photos from there of the gorgeous scenery. It was also a national holiday (literally, such is my life... of course it was a national holiday), Italian Liberation day, so there was a band in the square, and it was the most blue-sky day we'd had since we got there.

It was definitely a brilliant town, and it is how I pictured Volterra in my mind. I'm not certain why it was Montepulciano instead, but if it projects the right feeling, is believeable, and nothing makes you say 'oh that's just not an ancient fortress-city in Italy'... then it's good. For all intents and purposes it's perfect... but then again, I haven't been to the actual Volterra, now have I?

Anywho... my webshots are here, please don't reproduce them without credit and permission. Cheers!

28 comments:

bea trisha said...

nice shots!
good narration as well...
=)

Spinach said...

Wow, seeing pictures of Montepulciano I think I can see why they've chosen it over Volterra. I went to Volterra about a month ago and the Piazza dei Priori is actually quite small and the clock tower of the Palazzo is off-centre, probably too small to be big and busy, and there aren't any alleys down the side of it, well, there is one, but it joins a side street and would be hard to access.
Or another thought, when I went there was scaffolding all over the building next to the Palazzo and a crane behind it, maybe whatever work is going on isn't scheduled to finish for a couple of months.

Pillow Biter said...

Thanks soo much for this amazing commentary, Maggie! Kudos and credits to you:
http://pillowbiters.blogspot.com/2009/05/maggies-unbelievable-trip-through.html

Haley said...

that is so cool!! I wish I could go there! It looks beautiful! I'm so excited for New moon!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm Chiara an Italian girl... Your description of the town is amazing! well done :)
Did you now that many Italian web site have wrote about you and your trip? your are famous now! ;)

Oh and pecorino is with only one c!

Sorry for my english!!

Maggie said...

Hi Maggie :) I gonna post your amazing trip in my site:

http://crepusculomeyer.com/

We all the credits :D!

olivia said...

hello!

i'll be visiting montepulciano while they are filming and i was wondering if you could give me every little detail about where and when they'll be filming. my email is dmshadid@cox.net.

thanks so, so much!

Yuna said...

If I'm reading it right, the golden plate in the photo says "Ufficio del Giudice di Pace" (if i'm not mistaken, in English you call it Justice of the Peace's Office).

P.S.
The "Comune di Moltepulciano" official website says there's a "Ufficio del Giudice di Pace" in "Palazzo Selimbini" too.

Yuna said...

*Comune di Montepulciano
Great, I managed to misspell a word in my own language XD.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I can see why they chose it! Its very like how I imagined it to be! Lookin forward to november!!

Ale said...

Nice Shots and good commentary!

We're actually the ones organizing the big twilighters meeting there on may 30th!

There's any hope you'll come again for that? We'll be very glad to have you with us!

you'll find some infos in english here: http://www.twilightersitalia.com/sito/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=633&Itemid=116

TheRaVen

twimommarsha said...

the pictures are wonderful, it is exactly how i saw it in my mind,and your commentary was great, thanks maggie!

jbafaith said...

Wow Maggie what a great assignment of study you have! Good job here too! Thanks for the lovely pictures and info about the area.

caninecologne said...

what an awesome post! those are terrific photos and certainly give your readers a flavor of what the city will look like in the movie! how exciting!!!!

i like how you mentioned that you became a connoisseur of alleys! :)

Anonymous said...

WOW AWESOME I TOTALLY LOVE THEM IMAY SNAG A FEW BUT WILL CREEDIT. BY THE WAY THANKS FOR THE WHOLE EXPLENATION I MAY GET BCK TO YOU AND TELL YOU WHAT THE PALAZZO SELIMBINI IS (IT SOUNDS LIKE A SAND WHICH SHOP) LOL =)

Anonymous said...

the plazzo selimbini is a BANK $$ I CONFERMED THAT BY LOOKING IT UP ONLINE,IN BOOKS COOL HUH =) $$$$

alice =) said...

by the way i am the girl that posted the last to comments if you didnt notice by the =) any way you totaly rock and i cant thank you enogh for this wohoo

Yuna said...

alice, the bank you're talking about (Monte dei Paschi di Siena) it's in "Palazzo Salimbeni" (Siena) and not in "Palazzo Selimbini" (Montepulciano). They are two completely different towns in Tuscany.

klunasea said...

Hi! Very nicely written report. I'm going to be in montepulciano during the shooting. People there still don't realize how crazy things are going to get!! About the casting something like more than 2000 women and something like 1000 men partecipated, for 500 extras. They are going to contact people who made it this week. Shooting for extras has been said will be only a day maxximum 2, as they need them only for the main scene inthe square. Anyway the twilighters meeting in going to be held on 30th may, it's the italian one, but may be there are going to be also others.

Charlotte said...

omg this is EXACTLY how i pictured it!

Anonymous said...

It looks exactly right, but what about the fountain? Have you heard anything abouthow they're going to work that in?

Anonymous said...

about how*

Anonymous said...

that would be the perfect place for them to film it. its exactly how i saw it in my head. good job.and nice photos!

sparsely kate said...

Love your blog, and hope you don't mind but I put you on my blog roll! You've got such an interesting blog here.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I live in Montepulciano. Palazzo Salimbeni host the Judge of Peace Office (not for marrying, here in Italy is just like a regular law court but only for small troubles). I know it since I worked on its restoration some years ago.

A STRANGE curiosity about the fountain on the middle of the square: I knew there really was a fountan there many years ago (say about 100), and just today I found 2 images around the net:

http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/2682/fontana3256.gif

http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/2250/fontana.jpg

As said on the text it was OCTAGONAL and now its rest is on the public garden of Montepulciano (but not the one on the center, it is near the entrances).

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Anonymous said...

Nice post. Grazie