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Nestled among the rolling hills of Montepulciano wine country is this spectacular Greek-Renaissance church, built in 1518 and substantially restored by Pope Leo X in the 16th century. It's famed for its 'glowing' marble brickwork, a stunning fresco of the Madonna and St Francis, and a design which was used as the basis for St. Peter's Basilica – it's the original prequel.
It's easy to spot the Temple of San Biagio, as its marble facades appear to be glowing among the surrounding forestry, changing hues throughout the day.
Inside and out, it's a stunning combination of Greek and Renaissance architecture, with high arched ceilings adorned with incredible frescoes. The standout is the glorious Madonna with Child and St. Francis, one of the surviving remnants of the original church. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary's eyes have been known to move, so keep yours peeled.
The free multi-language audio guide will explain all about the history and significance of this sacred site as you wander among the towering columns and spot the sculptures of Saints John the Baptist, Catherine of Siena, Agnes, and George.
Before you leave, make sure to try standing beneath the central dome and clapping your hands – the perfect echo is still amazing over 400 years later!
Bus: Line FT1, Montepulciano - Basilica S. Biagio (stop ID: MR587).