|Iconic scene in the Val d'Orcia of Tuscany, Italy|
- Pienza - hometown of the Piccolomini Pope, Pius II, an amazing Renaissance man who created this exquisite Humanist town near his birthplace. Pienza is a perfect case study of what a powerful family can do for its own locality. Pius II brought the best architect – Rosselino, definitively inspired by Leon Battista Alberti – and most the renowned artists of the time to work at Pienza. No one can miss the huge “gap” between the splendour of the main piazza, the church and the Piccolomini Palace itself and the rest of the very simple, humble village.
- Montalcino and the nearby Abbey of Sant'Antimo where Mass is celebrated with Gregorian chant.
- San Quirico and neaby Bagno Vignoni, a thermal bathing area enclosed in a beautiful Italian square and dating back at least to the Romans.
- The large Benedictine monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore located in the Crete Senesi and frescoed during the Renaissance by Sodoma and Fra’ Paolo Novelli.
- Montepulciano, not in the Val d'Orcia but often included in an excursion to the valley.
- One of the most famous 20th century gardens in Italy is at Villa La Foce, created for the author Iris Origo and her husband by Cecil Pincent.
- The Renaissance garden of the Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza, with its fabulous view out over the Val d'Orcia towards Monte Amiata. This view is deservedly considered one of the most beautiful in the whole of Italy
|A pecorino shop in Pienza, Val d'Orcia, Tuscany|
- Pienza is rightly famous for its pecorino (ewe's milk cheese) - stock up while you're there!
- Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino wines.
- Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
- Truffle fair at San Giovanni d'Asso in November.
More about the sights of the Val d'Orcia.
Fulvio Di Rosa
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