Here we are!!
Yesterday Spring officially starts and we are still in the pandemic nightmare, but we can see the lights at end of tunnel. Potential guests started to contact us, planning next bike trip in Europe.
We do not know yet when exactly, many of us in the Tourism business presume by summer, we hope to restart slowly in June.
We want to remind our little company is based in this little hill town situated in the Val d’Orcia: Pienza
For this reason we like to welcome guests in our home town, is not only a pleasure, is about connecting travelers and locals, we believe every traveler should be considered a “temporary local” see the manifesto wrote in 2020 by network we belong in Italy, ActiveItaly.
Pienza is in the southern part of Tuscany, between Montepulciano (7 miles away) and Montalcino (16 miles away), two towns so famous for excellent wine: Nobile and Brunello.
The name comes from Pope Pius II, who was born here, and it means the city of Pius. Enea Silvio Piccolomini, elected Pope Pius II in 1458, wanted to transform his birthplace, the anonymous village of Corsignano, into the ideal Renaissance town.
For this reason he hired Bernardo Rossellino, the architect who had previously worked with Leon Battista Alberti (famous for creating the façade of Santa Maria Novella in Florence), to build Pienza in accordance with humanist urban planning concepts. The construction of Pienza started around 1459 on top of the ancient hamlet and took about four years, creating a harmonious fifteenth-century town. The untimely death of Pope Pius II put a stop to the urban reorganization of the new city, which has remained practically unchanged over the centuries. Why this happens?
There are so many reasons you should visit Pienza and overnight few days.
1 – The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site twice!!
In 1996, UNESCO decided to make the centre of Pienza into a World Heritage Site “considering that the site is of outstanding universal value as it represents the first application of the Renaissance Humanist concept of urban design, and as such occupies a seminal position in the development of the concept of the planned “ideal town” which was to play a significant role in subsequent urban development in Italy and beyond.”.
In 2004, the entire Val d’Orcia was included on the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes.
Pienza is one hill town of the park and that make twice UNESCO site.
The others hill town are Montalcino, Radicofani, Castiglione d’Orcia and San Quirico.
Also includes so many districts as well famous, here just some nominations:
Bagno Vignoni and Bagni San Filippo, both hot spring.
Monticchiello with his Teatro Povero.
San Giovanni d’Asso the truffle town, with a museum dedicated.
2 – Cycling the wonderful hills of the Val d’Orcia
This area of Tuscany is magical and harmony reigns, it has inspired poets, writers and artists. It’s the realm of cypress trees, country roads and hillside landscapes. Imagine to ride inside a Renaissance painting.
There are many white roads and the trend of gravel cycling find here the Essence!
We live here and we know any corner, so we can be the best guide for your bike adventure. Even in case you just rent bikes – we have E-bikes, race bike, Trekking, Gravel and we provide all Gps tracks for loops here around – we use ridewithgps
3 – The cheese pecorino
Every first Sunday in September, Pienza celebrates one of its main products, pecorino cheese. In fact, Pienza is considered the “capital” of pecorino cheese, because of its high quality due to the fact that the cheese is made from an especially flavour some and aromatic milk thanks to sheep pastures in Val d’Orcia.
During our guided bike tours we include visit at cheese farm and taste all the different kind of sheep milk cheese.
4 – Via dell’amore, Fortuna e bacio – streets with lovely name
Yes in our town streets are named with words like “love”, “kiss” and “good luck”
If you are in a romantic mood you should definitely walk around Via dell’Amore, Via del Bacio and Via della Fortuna.
5 – Superb example of Renaissance architecture
The rebuilding of Pienza according to humanist urban reorganization was an example for many other Italian and European cities. Piazza Pio II is the hub of Pienza as all of the town’s main monuments are located on this square. The cathedral tower over all the other buildings.
The Cathedral: the cathedral was built on the remains of the Romanesque church of St. Mary (still visible in the crypt). The façade is typical of the Renaissance and is divided into three parts by arched columns. On the left wing there is an octagonal, cuspidate bell tower that is reminiscent of the ones Pope Pius II saw in Germany. In these days- February 2021- they just finished the restoration and travertine is brilliant.
Piazza Pio II: the square rebuilt by Rossellino is flanked by the cathedral and three palaces: one for the government, one for the bishop and one for Pope Pius II. Pienza is the only Renaissance town centre in Italy to have survived the centuries perfectly intact.
The second most important building on the square is Palazzo Piccolomini, Rossellino’s masterpiece, inspired by Palazzo Rucellai in Florence. It is also our favorite visit and we strongly recommend to our guest to find time to join the guided visit of the palace and the terrace garden.
Palazzo Borgia (Palazzo Vescovile): given by Pius II to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (the future Pope Alexander VI), it is home to the Diocesan museum. It is the jewel affacciato on the main square
Palazzo Comunale: the town hall is the most recent of the buildings on the piazza, with its ample loggia and façade decorated with a scratched plaster technique and a brick tower, which was built later. It also has a brick bell tower, which is shorter than the cathedral’s to symbolize the superior power of the Church.
Giuliana Mulas, March 21 2021