Many of Pienza’s most memorable spots were built during a three-year period. The town’s historic center is the Piazza Pio II, which is surrounded by the Palazzo Piccolomini, the Palazzo Borgia, and a stunning cathedral. The square is also home to restaurants and cafés. Other local highlights include the Pieve di Corsignano, a 12th-century church located just down the hill from the town’s center, and the town’s famous local cheese, Pecorino di Pienza.xa0
Many tours of Tuscany visit Pienza along with neighboring Val D’Orcia towns, including Siena, Montalcino, and Montepulciano. You can also opt for a tour that focuses on the area’s traditional foods and wines, including Pienza’s famous cheese.
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Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable walking shoes; the town is best explored on foot.
- Some tours of Pienza may include entrance fees, transportation, guides, food, and drink; check with your tour company for details.xa0
- Pienza, while small, makes a great home base for exploring the area, and there are a number of hotels in town.
How to Get There
Pienza is about 73 miles (117 kilometers) south of Florence. The drive from Florence, along European Route E35 or Raccordo Autostradale Firenze–Siena and SR2, takes just under two hours. The closest train station is in Chiusi Scalo; from there, it takes two buses to reach town—first take a bus to Montepulciano, where you can catch a bus to Pienza. You can also take a bus from Siena to Pienza; the ride takes about 75 minutes.
When to Get There
Pienza can get extremely crowded on summer weekends, so come during the week if you want a quieter visit. For a festive time, plan your trip for early September, and enjoy the Fiera del Cacio, a festival dedicated to the town’s cheese. Christmas is also a very popular time to visit the city.
While In Tuscany Tuscany’s beautiful rolling hills are full of stunning towns and cities. Head to Siena—and its UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic Renaissance center—to see the Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena), the Battistero di San Giovanni, and the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). Continue on to Montalcino, a picturesque medieval town famous for its Brunello di Montalcino wine, and make a stop in Montepulciano, a beautiful hill town near the Tuscany-Umbria border.
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- Val d'Orcia
- Temple of San Biagio (Tempio di San Biagio)
- Montalcino Fortress (Fortezza di Montalcino)
- Abbey of Sant'Antimo (Abbazia di Sant'Antimo)
- Santa Margherita Basilica (Basilica di Santa Margherita)
- National Art Gallery of Siena (Pinacoteca Nazionale Siena)
- Siena Piazza del Mercato
- Mangia Tower (Torre del Mangia)
- Siena Civic Museum (Museo Civico di Siena)
- Fonte Gaia (Gaia Fountain)
- Palio of Siena (Palio di Siena)
- Piazza del Campo
- Siena Cathedral (Duomo)
- Siena Historic Center (Siena Centro Storico)