Pienza and the Val d‘ Orcia

Pienza is one of the most charming “art cities” and the first one envisioned on a drawing board as a model for the perfect Renaissance city.

It was comissioned by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, who wanted to transform his birthplace of Corsignano to a city worthy of his rank. The heart of the town is the Piazza Pio II, a bevelled square surrounded by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Palazzo Piccolomini and Palazzo Borgia. The design is considered the greatest work of Bernardo Rossellino.

We take a short walk just outside the city walls to the beautiful Romanesque church of Pieve di Corsignano. This is where the baptism took place of both Pius II, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, and his nephew, who later became Pope Pius III.

Pienza is situated in the heart of the Val d'Orcia, which since 2004 has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the photos for calendars and illustrated books of Tuscany are taken here.

Pienza is also known for its Pecorino, a cheese made from sheeps milk. The fields in the surrounding area tend to have a large quantity of aromatic herbs and grasses, which result in a very high quality cheese. Every family has its own top-secret cheesemaking formula. We’ll sample some of the many different variations.

Tip: At the annual cheese festival, the "Fiera del Cacio" on the first weekend of September, you can taste a wide selection of different cheese until late in the night.




Meeting Point: Pienza
Duration: half day
Distance: ca. 60 km south of Siena, by own car
Price: 145 € per group

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