Oh No….So Ends 21 Days in Pienza
Can it be true? Are we really leaving for England tomorrow? No, it can’t be; we haven’t finished seeing and doing everything we wanted to do. We thought we had so much time-3 weeks. Ah well, it must mean we need to return to Italy ;-).
We have had a fabulous time in Pienza. We were here for the Spring Festival, the Festival of the Flowers and the May 1, Labor Day parade complete with bank and tractors. Our alarm clock was the street sweeper at 8am, heading up and down the narrow streets accompanied by church bells from several churches around the town. We got to know our Italian “gatto” who would race up our inside stairs to the apartment above us, and we learned to leave the door to our building open a little so he could go in and out. We got to pet Quiqley, Claudia’s super smart cat and Mille who is her landlords “wall walking” dog.
We got to know a few people and were able to say “buongiorno or buona sera” as we passed them on the streets. Yes, trips to the grocery store, known
as the COOP, the post office and the bank were all in our daily chores. We got to see Adriana our landlord’s helper many times as she brought new sheets as well as the plumber to fix our heat and then our hot water ;-) We learned the backways and alleyways of town and could get ourselves to restaurants, pizza places, our friend’s home (Claudia and Gary) and of course to see Nicola and Giuseppe at their gelato store, Buon Gusto.
We remembered to take our shopping bag with us everywhere. We used Euros, including change ;-) without thinking, and had our favorite places for wine or cappuccino. We remembered our address, 8 Via della Rosa, and could get back by a number of different routes. Each morning as we opened our second floor window in the bathroom we were greeted with tour groups on the street below, taking pictures of our window as it had a lovely Angel in the flowerbox. We would wave and they would laugh and wave back. ;-)
While having a cappuccino in the sun, in piazza in front of the Cathedral, we met people from England, China, Australia, France, Germany and all
over the world... including of course, Americans. We were surprised that there were so few Americans. Alas, we heard that the Italians think it is because Americans think it is unsafe. A shame if that is truly the reason.
We went to many small towns with wonderful names… Sinalunga, Montepulciano, Bagno Vignoni, Buonconvento, Radicofani, Montefollonico, Castelmuzio, Montisi, San Quirico d’Orcia as well as the ski area at Mount Amiata. Each one prettier than the next and each with thousands of years of amazing history. It seems every town is perched on a high hill ;-) We built up our leg muscles! We learned to take the bus with Claudia ;-) to adjoining towns. People everywhere were gracious and welcoming and helped us with our (pretty non-existent) Italian ;-).
We met Americans and Brits who are living full or part time in Toscana. Some are refurbishing farmhouses, another runs a cooking school and writes cookbooks, and still others are just retired enjoying the magnificence of the beautiful Val D’Orcia. We met people running businesses, such as the ladies from London and Cyprus running a bicycling business or both Robertos… one in Montisi with his restaurant, “da Roberto” and the
other in Pienza with his restaurant, “Latte di Luna” and Sergio the shoemaker who fixed my glass case.
Our last day included a wonderful lunch in Montepulciano at Osteria Acquacheta which is owned by friends of Claudia and Gary. We had amazing Ossobuco and Bistecca Florentina in a little restaurant with about 45 people squished into a long narrow ancient building yet, full of life and laughing children and owners that were clearly glad we were there!
After lunch we visited the Montepulciano Cathedral below the city before heading back to Pienza for our last night.
Throughout our time in Pienza, we would take a walk through town and out into the countryside, and come back to sit along the wall of the city, bask in the sun, and just look out over the Val d’Orcia. We will miss, but forever have in our hearts the beautiful red, red poppies of the Val d’Orcia. There are beautiful vistas in every country but… none more beautiful than Pienza and the Val d’Orcia in the spring.
We are so sorry to be leaving but this part of our adventure comes to a close as we head for Florence
and wing our way to England. We hope you enjoy all the added pictures.
Ciao and Arrivederci.
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