Pienza things to do: wineries, pecorino cheese & more

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Pienza Tuscany - one of Italy's prettiest hilltop towns
25 June 2018, Eleonora Passetto

Welcome to Pienza: a fifteenth-century town built in Tuscany (Italy) around 1459, surrounded by vineyards and situated in the Val d’Orcia. This town is called the ‘ideal city’ and its shaped by an ambitious man: Pope Pius II whose aim was to transform his birthplace into the ideal Renaissance town.

UNESCO decided, in 1996, to include Pienza into World Heritage Site. This magic place is known all over the world for the production of its 'pecorino cheese' and for its traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Pienza: best pecorino cheese in Italy

Go through the nice streets of this village, full of small charming shops selling various types of pecorino. The Pecorino of Pienza is a tasty cheese made from a flavoursome and aromatic sheep's milk, renowned all over the world. Many shops sell it: from a mild and delicate in flavour (dolce) to a mature and decisive one (stagionato), we recommend stopping and tasting them all. You will find many restaurants where you can appreciate this traditional product and other traditional Tuscan food: you have to try pici (a hand-rolled pasta, like fat spaghetti) and local honey – combined with the taste and aroma of pecorino, it is a perfect marriage.

If you want to come to Pienza on the first weekend of September, don't miss the Fiera del Cacio, a great festival dedicated to pecorino cheese and other traditional products. During this festival, you can also enjoy a folkloristic game: Palio del Cacio al Fuso, a cheese rolling competition in which the players of the six town's districts (contrade) are competing for the prize (palio). It seems easy but it's not!

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Exploring Pienza Wineries & Vineyards

If you're looking for a unique experience in Tuscany, don't forget to take part in a wine tasting in Pienza. Take the car and drive from one panoramic vineyard to the other. You can plan an itinerary on your own, using a map or you can follow the directions you'll find online. Live a tasty adventure in Pienza in Tuscany, a wine tour to discover the most appreciated wines of Italy, included the vino Nobile red wine.

Things to see in Pienza?

  • Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta: The main church of Pienza, a perfect balance between Renaissance and Gothic elements. geometric church with three high concave naves and a Papal crest near the top. After it was built in 1459, a Papal Bull forbade changes to the church and since then it has remained virtually the same.
  • Palazzo Piccolomini: The second most important building on the square is Palazzo Piccolomini, Bernardo Rossellino's masterpiece, inspired by Palazzo Rucellai in Florence. It is also called the Pontifical Palace or Palazzo del Pontificio.
  • Piazza Pio II: Dedicated to the Pope who wanted to transform the medieval village of Corsignano into the 'ideal city', it is considered one of the clearest achievements of Renaissance urban ideals.
    It is located in the centre of the village, in which we can see: the Cathedral, the Palazzo Piccolomini , the Palazzo Comunale and the stern Palazzo Vescovile.
  • Via dell'Amore, Via del Bacio: Pienza is definitely one of the most romantic destinations in Tuscany. Don't forget to walk hand-in-hand with your significant other, enjoying the streets with “tender and cute” names such as Via dell'Amore (Love street) and Via del Bacio (Kiss street). If you are a romantic person you should definitely visit this place!

How to get to Pienza?

  • By train: Train station on the main line Chiusi Scalo, but from there you'd have to take a bus
  • By car: Just take the SS2 south from Siena to the San Quirico exit, then the SS146
  • By plane: Three International Airports near Pienza: Perugia Airport (about 43 miles), Florence Airport (about 55 miles), Pisa Airport (about 77 miles)

Where to eat in Pienza?

Taste the authentic Tuscan cuisine and the best red wine made in Pienza. An enogastronomical tour dedicated to all food lovers and for anyone who wishes to try the best wines matching with typical local dishes.

Best restaurants in Pienza

  • La Terrazza del Chiostro Relax in the second hanging garden of Pienza, after that of the Palazzo dei Papi. An amazing view over the Val d'Orcia, Mount Amiata and Montalcino hill in the background, where tradition is perfectly combined with the contemporary cuisine. Try the Pici all'aglione (a tuscan pasta with Garlic Sauce) or Mantecato di baccalá (Soaked, salted cod mashed with extra virgin olive oil and served with toasted bread and boiled chickpeas).
  • Osteria Sette di Vino A real Osteria that offers a small taste of Italian cooking at it's best. Try here the typical tuscan crostinibruschetta or the bread and bean soup (Zuppa di pane e fagioli) and, after a delicious meal, we recommend the “Cantucci e Vin Santo” - cookies served with a dipping cup of sweet white wine.

Where to stay in Pienza?

Hotels:

  • Hotel Corsignano ⋆⋆⋆⋆ 
    This family-run hotel in Pienza boasts stunning views of the Val d'Orcia, a terrace with hot tub and a typical Tuscan restaurant.
  • La Corte Antica apartment
    Just a few steps from Piazza Pio II with an inner court surrounded by plants and flowers carefully looked after... you will feel pampered like you were at home!

Holiday rentals and property for sale:

What to see near Pienza, Tuscany

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