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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza April 10th 2017

Italy Day 6, Sunday, October 9, Pienza On our way to Pienza we stopped at Montepulciano in the Province of Sienna. Sun peeked through the fog on a chilly 60 degree day and I wrapped my scarf tightly around my neck desperately trying to warm up. There are many hot water sulphur baths in this volcanic mountainous region and boy would that have been a great time to try one out! Besides the spas and great water, this region is known for its wine, olive oil, truffles and truffle sauce. We drove up the cypress lined avenue to the Church of San Biagio in Montepulciano, considered one of the finest buildings of the Renaissance. As I stepped out into the brisk but now sunny morning I began to take in the expanding views from this hilltop. ... read more
Galleria d’Arte San Biagio, Montepulciano, Italy
Pienza, Italy
Overlooking the Val d' Orcia, Pienza, Italy

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza September 24th 2016

Geo: 43.0789, 11.6789... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza May 6th 2016

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 ... read more
Mille the wall walking dog view from Claudias
The red poppies of the Val D'Orcia
Typical lunch

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza April 30th 2016

A Little History, Pienza, Tuscany and the Val D’Orcia So, we have told you a little about gelato and friends, shopping and cappuccinos. We’ve talked about walks and weather but today… a little history. The building we live in was built in the 13th century. The walls are very thick and made of stone. All of Pienza is made of this beautiful old stone. But…did you know that Pienza did not start out as Pienza? Originally it was Corsignano, beginning in the 8th century. We visit the original church (Parish Church of Corsignano) that was built during this time period. This area was already very old in the 4-5 centuries B.C. and right through the settlements of the Etruscans and Romans. Even before that 4.5 M years ago, this area was covered by the sea. There ... read more
Parish Church of Corsignano 3
Cope, the cathedral and Piccolomini Palace on the right
Piccolomini Palace from the gardens

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza April 27th 2016

Dateline Pienza, Italy. Loose Ends So as we live our life here in Pienza there are things we forget to talk about… Like the lovely ladies we met while sitting out on the Piazza having a cappuccino. They were girlfriends traveling together. One was from London, one from Belfast, another from Edinburgh and the fourth from Manchester. They were here for a long week end for the Primavera Festival. Or…walking to the COOP about every other day and stopping at the bakery on the way. We take our grocery bags with us and stroll over to the bakery which is very tiny with one showcase for their cookies and other Italian delights. We sometimes buy bread there too. Each time we go there someone new is behind the counter. None of them speaks English and since ... read more
Cope at the laundromat
Sharing a lunch as the Primavera Festival
Buon Gusto  Anna, Jean, Claudia Guissepe and Nicola

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza April 23rd 2016

Dateline: Pienza, Italy Well, the excitement this week is that Rick Steves and his crew are at Cretaiole (www.cretaiole.it) , an Agriturismo owned by the wonderful Isabella Moricciani and her family. You may remember from our blogs a few years ago that we stayed at Cretaiole, which is an amazing farm, and got to know Isabella. Evidently Rick is filming an episode about this area and part of it will be about the beautiful Cretaiole. We’ll let you know, when we know, the episode is coming out! If you’re coming to Tuscany you want to stay here ;-) Our friend Claudia texted us to “Get up!”, so we could go do something before the rains come in. While I was getting dressed, Cope walked over to the Friday Farmer’s Market and picked up some beautiful, large ... read more
Wheat field
Cave chapel 1
Cave chapel

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza April 19th 2016

Dateline: Pienza, Italy April 15 Rome to Pienza Wow, what a day! We scheduled our private driver to pick us up at the cruise ship at 9:00. So, planners that we are, we started off the ship at 8:00 to give us plenty of time to go through customs and immigration, but we forgot….we are now on Italian time and this is ITALY. There was no customs or immigration procedure; we just walked off the ship with our carry on’s, collected our luggage (that we had put outside of our cabin at 10:30 the night before) in the cruise ship terminal (also known as a large tent), and were standing outside the terminal looking for our driver by 8:15. Couldn’t believe there was no customs or checking of passports or anything! On the other hand it ... read more
Where's our name
Claudia, Angelo, Jean waiting for key
Lunch Jean and Claudia

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza September 13th 2015

We leave Cortona heading to our morning destination of Montepulciano, famous for their wines! Up until now, I have not seen any vineyards. Although I have passed through lots of farmland, they have been primarily plowed over fields of wheat with some sunflowers. Now I start to see the vineyards. Arrive in Montepulciano. I leave my bike with our guide Mark and walk the town utilizing my guidebook that I had downloaded onto my iPhone. It's nice for me to have a gudiebook to point out the usual items that I would walk right past. My afternoon ride is an extension ride that our guide Pierre mapped out for me. While the ride was rewarding with steep climbs to beautiful vistas, it had some very off-piste sections (gravel). The town of Petroio was particularly charming. I ... read more
Clock in Montepulciano

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza September 13th 2015

Our ride from Pienza today was a loop ride highlighting the towns of Montichiello, Bagno Vignoni and San Quirico. We departed under threatening skies but the "forecast" said the rain would not start until late in the afternoon. Yeah, right. I made it as far as our first scenic stop in Montichiello and met up with Jim, Marilyn and Bryce. We walked around the town and started to feel raindrops. Jim, Marilyn and Bryce decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel in Pienza. I decided to press on. The rain started in earnest with a little thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure. I made it to Bagno Vignoni where the trip leaders had planned a picnic for today in a park. Plan B was to eat the picnic under ... read more
Bagno Vignoni

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pienza June 12th 2013

Geo: 43.0789, 11.6789Pienza, is a town which was totally redesigned by Pope Pius the 2nd, who came from there. He certainly knew what he was doing as this town is a delight to walk through. However it is popular which means parking is difficult in such a small place. Luckily we found that by driving out down the main road there is free parking only 10 minutes walk down the hill. The town is entered through the archway in the old city wall and really comprises of one main narrow pedestrian street with lots of lovely shops particularly cheese and wine stores. The church has several quite nice altar pieces but as it has been built on the very edge of the hill it has started to crack as the earth below has moved. How long ... read more
The town well
Belltower
The main street




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