Maggie has an exceptionally interesting musing on her recent trip to Montepulciano- beautiful pictures and tidbits of info she gleaned from the local folk. Here's a taste- head to her blog to see more gorgeous pics and commentary:
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.'
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.
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.
Thanks so much, Maggie, for the preview, and thanks to the Lexicon for the tip!