Posted by: debrakolkka | August 8, 2011

Perfect Pienza

looking out from Pienza

Pienza, high on a hill above the Val d’Orcia in glorious Tuscany, is the birth place in 1405 of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II. The town was originally called Corsignano, but Pope Pius was keen to create a monument to himself. Pienza means “City of Pius” and was chosen as a good omen. The Pope chose Florentine architect Bernado Rossellino to recreate the perfect city as ” a lasting sign of his origin”.

Palazzo Comunale

The city was built around a central square. The Palazzo Comunale, the Piccolomini Palazzo, Palazzo Vescovile and the cathedral surround the square. The Piccolomini Palace, the former papal palace continued to be inhabitited by the Pope’s descendants until 1968.

cathedral (left) and the Piccolomini Palace

in front of the Palazzo Piccolomini

The Cattedrale Santa Maria Assunta is a three-nave church with a very impressive interior.

Cattedrale Santa Maria Asunta from Pienza' s wall

 Make sure you take a look inside.

inside the church

a closer look

a pretty ceiling

 Pienza is famous for pecorino cheese and the world’s luckiest sheep can be seen chewing grass on the beautiful hills surrounding the town. There are several specialist shops in the town selling cheese and other delicious delights from the area.

advertising its wares

Pienza is a delightful little town with beautifully cared for streets and welcoming shops full of good things.

a pretty Pienza street

a Pienza enoteca

 We had lunch at Trattoria Latte di Luna at 2 Via San Carlo.

Trattoria Latte di Luna

All of our meals were excellent, but I think I won with my maialino (suckling pig) with white beans.

my delicious lunch

After lunch we wandered through the pretty streets of Pienza. The town is quite small, but there is lots to see.

a lovely doorway

Pienza petunias

an inviting enoteca

another interesting shop

rhododendrons on the way out

 Pienza is in a spectacular part of Tuscany – don’t miss it. The town is a realtively easy drive from Bagni di Lucca and we do it often. We usually go via Asciano because of the spectacular scenery and stop in Siena, Montalcino or Montepulciano as well. 

a view from Pienza


  1. Thanks so much for your posts… it’s such a delicious moment to escape in/too one of them, without having to spend the Euro/Lira? : )

    • Thank you for stopping by. At least we have a good exchange with the euro for now.

  2. We bought THE BEST soft Pecorino cheese in Pienza. Drizzled with some Truffle Honey FANTASTICO! Amazing pictures!

    • I wouldn’t mind some of that pecorino right now – with the honey – yum!

  3. WOW!!!

    • Yes, Pienza is very beautiful.

  4. It’s always satisfying to look around your table companions meals and think “yes, I sooo picked the best one!”… I think you did too.

    • At the risk of sounding a little smug, it is good.

  5. Gorgeous – Deb – I need a visit

    • I’m sure that can be arranged.

  6. Looks so beautiful with all the little details!

    • Pienza is full of gorgeous little details. You could spend days there.

  7. Very interesting, Debra, thank you once again. We have not visited Pienza, but it is now on our list… The Piccolomini family has some most interesting members, including two Popes. Some of them live in Spain as well. Here is some information:

    • Thanks for the Piccolomini link. I think it is an interesting family. I love the Piccolomini library in Siena.

  8. Great post and pics. Thanks for this. I added a link to it on the ‘travel page’ of my blog since it is a very easy day trip from us near Monte San Savino. Next time you come this way please stop by.

    • I have seen Monte San Savino from the car. I have always wanted to call in. Thanks for the invitation and the link.

  9. Oh, thank you ever so much… Here in the central San Francisco Bay Area we are suffering our “Scandinavian Summer” (all grey skies and cold air with the heater on full blast) and I needed a summer fix, your wonderful photos has brought the wanted sunshine into my day, just looking at your wonderful photos puts a big smile on my face, again, thank you. You are a true artist with the camera, a true artist!

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’ve been to San Francisco – I loved it! I hope the weather gets better for you.

  10. What a lovely town. The ceiling inside the church is stunning, truly stunning! Thanks for sharing the peaceful place to eat, as well. Great post, Debra!

    • Thank you. Pienza is one of the places we keep going back to. I really must try a few new towns in the area.

  11. Your lunch looks amazing and the town is just perfect.

    • My lunch was delicious. The restaurant was packed, we were lucky to find a table. It was still a bit too cool to sit outside.

  12. this is one beautiful town.

  13. Gorgeous pictures! Ahhh….I wish I could dive right into the post and be in Italy!

    • You would love Pienza. It is in a stunning location and the town itself is gorgeous.

  14. Cia Bella Deb – Great to meet you last week and look forward to catching up again soon ….maybe in Montalcino in late October. We love and visit Pienza regularly so would love to try your maialino – do you have the name of the restaurant? ci vediamo Carolyna

    • Hi Carolyna, I would love to come to Montalcino for the Sagra in October. The restaurant in Pienza was Trattoria Latte di Luna at Via San Carlo 2 – at the end of the main street- or the beginning depending which way to enter the village.

  15. There’s always so much to see and do in Italy isn’t there! Your lunch looks delicious-I’m glad I’m off to have some Italian food tonight! 😉

  16. What a beautiful place to visit!

    • Pienza is gorgeous and is set in the most beautiful part of Tuscany.

  17. Beautiful!

  18. […] we can. along the road to Asciano   Click here to see more of the spectacular drive to Asciano and here to see Pienza and here to see Volterra.   Our house in Vergemoli is coming along, thanks to our […]

  19. […] Pienza is a tiny town, once again high above the plains surrounding it. Pope Pius II recreated the town as a perfect monument to himself. He chose Florentine architect Bernado Rossellino to good effect…the town is delightful. […]

  20. […] Pienza (image credit) is reportedly one of the more beautiful towns in Tuscany. A big claim in a region comprised of picturesque little hamlets. Read more at Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

  21. […] We always drive through the gorgeous hills of Chianti and Val d’Orcia, visiting Siena, Montalcino and Pienza. […]

  22. […] Here is a post I did many years ago.  Perfect Pienza […]

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