Great afternoon on Sunday, August 20 at the Poliziano Theater: during the traditional appointment that characterizes the very last Sunday before the “Bravìo delle Botti”, the cloth painted by Luca Pollai – dedicated to the 700th anniversary of the death of St. Agnes, co-patron of Montepulciano – was unveiled. The cloth will be the trophy that the winning district of the 2017 edition of “Bravìo delle Botti” will bring home at the end of the barrel race.

This isn’t the first cloth for Luca Pollai, which happens to be the son of another painter from Siena – Enzo Pollai – author of the “Bravìo delle Botti” cloth in 1996. In fact, Luca also painted last year’s cloth of the “Palio di Siena”. Before the cloth’s unveiling, the master Cesare Olmastroni – painter of 2015 and 2016 Bravìo cloths, who sadly passed away last spring – was honoured with a moving speech. He was particularly appreciated by the community and became incredibly popular among the districts for his sympathy and his artistic spirit, so much that the Municipal Administration decided to dedicate a permanent prize to his memory. The latter, awarded to a cloth sketch considered particularly valuable and close to Olmastroni’s artistic vision, was won by Tommaso Andreini, one of the favourite pupils of the late painter. The first edition of this new award was celebrated in the presence of Cesare Olmastroni’s son, Duccio, who offered the prize to the winner.

Other important ceremonies took place on the stage of the theater, including the delivery of the “Grifo Poliziano” – a prize granted every year to a personality or product that stood up for their commitment in the enhancement of Montepulciano in an international background – was awarded as well. The prize was given to Riccardo Pizzinelli, president of the “Società Storica Poliziana” and of the “Opera Ecclesiastica Riunita” of Montepulciano, engaged in the enhancement of important historical and architectural works such as the temple of “San Biagio”.

Pursuing a path taken last year, during this edition further renewed costumes of the parade were presented, again commissioned by the “Magistrato delle Contrade” to the costume and set designer Noemi Grottini, former collaborator of the “Cantiere Internazionale D’Arte” of Montepulciano.

Finally, another largely awaited appointment, now in its fifteenth edition, was the food and wine competition “A Tavola con il Nobile” – namely “At the Table with the Nobile wine” organized by the “Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano”. This year the theme of the competition, which saw the challenge between the eight districts, was a first course based on pecorino cheese. The recipes were judged by a jury of international journalists and food bloggers chaired by Bruno Gambacorta, creator of the competition. The prize was won by Voltaia district with the dish “Il Cappello del Pastore”. All the dishes that took part in the contest can be tasted in the food stands of the respective districts throughout the week of events.

The first weekend of the 2017 edition of the “Bravìo delle Botti” therefore comes to an end, after registering a significant flow during the evening of “Cantine in Piazza” on Friday, August 18 and the “Proclama del Gonfaloniere” on Saturday, August 19. The latter, a show which characterizes the beginning of the ceremonies in honor of St. John the Beheaded, was particularly appreciated for the efforts made by the entire “Magistrato delle Contrade”, guided by Sara Tonini – the new master of ceremonies.


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