In and around Pienza and Montepulciano
If you visit Pienzawith a specialized guide, you’ll discover Pius II, the ingenious personality behind the creation of the first ideal town in history
The Valdorcia, a Unesco World Heritage site protectedsince 2004, is one of the most fascinating and charming portions of Tuscany. You may visit it along with an authorized guide who would be happy to recommend various ways to delight your palate and to enjoy your free time there. If you visit Pienzawith a specialized guide, you’ll discover Pius II, the ingenious personality behind the creation of the first ideal town in history. The Palazzo Piccolomini and the Diocesan Museum of Pienza add detail to the history of this delightful Renaissance town which celebrates the Flower Fair every May and the Pecorino Cheese Festival every September. Flavourful pecorino—along with Tuscan olive oil, cured meats, and the meat of wild boar or of the Cinta Senese pig—is a tasty temptation to visitors from around the world. A short distance from Pienza, Montepulciano bears witness to its past domination by the Medicis, and it houses magnificent examples of art and architecture, such as the Church of San Biagio designed by Sangallo and the scenic Piazza Grande with its Palazzo Comunale. Why not enjoy a glass of the local Vino Nobile or Rosso di Montepulciano—or, if you’re in the mood for something a little lighter but no less luscious, a white Vergine della Valdichiana? Scattered throughout the countryside around Pienza and Montepulciano are numerous charming villages once controlled by powerful Siena. There’s San Quirico, still encircled by the old city walls, home to one of the area’s most beautiful gardens, the Horti Leonini. There’s Bagno Vignoni with is thermal pools where even St. Catherine of Siena once bathed, and the lesser-known towns of Monticchiello and Montefollonico. Heading toward the Crete Senese, you’ll find towns which, along with Montefollonico, stand out like gems: Petroio, famous for its products in terracotta, and the enchanting Trequanda.