Located just 14km from Pienza is the a amiable hill town of Montepulciano, which sits perched atop a narrow ridge of volcanic rock in central Tuscany. The towns main street climbs steeply to Piazza Grande, and along the way gourmet food & wine shops tempt you.
While you are there, take the time to sample some local cuisine in one of the excellent restaurants, and more importantly, try some of the town's most famous product - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - a flavoursome red wine, which is produced here.
Other attractions include the Duomo and surrounding grand buildings, dark cellars to explore and of course, don't forget about the wine ; ) You won't be disappointed by the views from the city walls either!
For more details, visit my Montepulciano page
The Palazzo Piccolomini is next door to the Duomo and, was once the Pope's residence and Pius II's descendants until 1968. The name is of the Piccolomini family whose objects are hosted and preserved.
It's open to public include the ancient "Sala delle Armi" (Hall of Arms), Pius II's bedroom, the studio and library. You can see the courtyard. From here there are spectacular views across to the wooded slopes of the Monte Amiata.
We build an own studio and with special permission photographed the beauty of this whitish creamy palace ... kept in the background of fashionable clothes ...
Palazzo Piccolomini: the loggia
The visit of the palace is very interesting. During the visit you arrive to the gallery of the first floor. Here you can see a beautiful ceiling chests suffito and dorich columnes. From here you can see a beautiful panorama over the Val D'Orcia and, if the sky is clear, you can see the fortress of Radicofani, the monte Cetona and the Monte Amiata.
One of Tuscany's Gems.
I visited Pienza twice already and returned because of the magic of this little town. Its not as much a touristic place as San Gimignano or Volterra, even if it has enough visitors. Entering the city wall (you've gotta park your car outside), you have a wonderful walk through an ancient time. Quiet little streets to the left and the right. Righthand you reach the city wall and have a breathtaking view into the surrounding vineyards.
The streets have wonderful names, such as "Via dell Amore" and "Via dell Bacio", which tell from love and kisses. A walk through Pienza means melling romanticism ...
"The smell of love."
To me Pienza is a place of indulgence. Its this irresistible smell of fine pecorino (speciality here) and salami out of all those cute little old shops where I could spend hours and hours. All those little "Alimentari" shops there (as well as this crazy ceramic shop behind the entrance) also tell me something of a high quality way of life. Of feeling fine. Every day.
In Pienza those typical tourist shops are less to be found.
I think the reason why I returned to Pienza and will again, as far as I come around that region, is that it tells me how simple things can be. It has a very special charme. It has quite a lot of visitors, but not this mass tourism. I felt there as a guest.