APARTMENTS NEAR SIENA, TUSCANY
DISTANCE FROM BORGO AL CERRO: approx. 80 km (90 mins)
The “ideal city” of Pope Pius II, which today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built on the site of the castle of Corsignano, which for centuries stood on the border between the territories of Siena, Firenze and Orvieto. In 1458, Enea Silvio Piccolomini (the future Pope Pius II) decided to transform this hamlet, his birthplace, into a city that was to be a symbol of the Italian Renaissance. In three years, between 1459 and 1462, the new Pienza saw the construction of the splendid CATHEDRAL of the Assumption, housing works by some of the greatest Sienese artists of the day. Alongside it stands the monumental PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI, whose loggia offers famous panoramic views over the Val d’Orcia, as well as the PALAZZO COMUNALE, and the PALAZZO VESCOVILE, with its museum. Buildings dating to the Middle Ages are the CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS (13th century), the town walls, and the austere PIEVE DI CORSIGNANO, which is mentioned as far back as 714. To the south, a road winds its way up and down the rolling hills to the fortified hamlet of Monticchiello, which still boasts several medieval buildings, and its castle, with long sections of its original walls, as well as a 13th century church dedicated to S. Leonardo and S. Cristoforo, with interesting fresco remains. A must-see is the ABBEY OF SANT’ANTIMO (the abbey of Sant’Antimo was certainly already in existence in 814. Its design, reminiscent of the major Romanesque churches in France, is further evidence of the influence which the road had over this hilly area of Tuscany).
- 14 April: Good Friday procession to Sant’Antimo
- 13/14 May: “Pienza in Bloom” (plants and flowers fair/market)
- 1/3 September: the “Fiera del Cacio” (Cheese Event)
We recommend that you spend a whole day in the area, and combine your visit to Pienza with stop-offs at Montalcino and Sant’Antimo. Other nearby places of interest are San Quirico d’Orcia, with its characteristic nearby thermal springs, and Montepulciano.
- Pecorino di Pienza (sheep’s-milk cheese, honey)
- Brunello, Nobile di Montepulciano (red wine)