Famous for its local pecorino cheese, romantic street names and historic churches, Pienza offers everything a small Italian town should – and it’s all bookable on Culture Trip.
One of the highlights of Tuscany’s Val D’Orcia region, the small but perfectly formed town of Pienza is a true gem, set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. An untouched example of Renaissance town planning and the birthplace of former Pope Pius II, Pienza is also cheese and wine heaven – the perfect place to indulge in crumbly, golden sheep’s cheese and a hearty glass of red, after enjoying one of the local hiking trails or a day of exploring the town’s cobbled streets. Here are the reasons why you should visit Pienza, Italy.
An essential pesto ingredient and one of the signature products from this corner of Tuscany, the hard, ewe’s cheese pecorino has been made here for thousands of years, since the time of the ancient Romans. There are three variations of pecorino that originate from Pienza and are distinct for being milder and more flavoursome than pecorino romano. Pick up a wheel to take home from local delicatessen La Taverna del Pecorino, or visit during the Fiera del Cacio festival, to witness the ferocious annual cheese rolling competition.
One of Pienza’s finest dining options is La Terrazza del Chiostro, a high-end delight set in the cloisters and gardens of a 15th-century monastery. Unsurprisingly, pecorino cheese is a key ingredient in a number of offerings – but save room for the cheesecake, presented with fresh peach foam, apricot soup and red wine sauce. For more traditional Italian fare, there’s always the cosy Osteria Baccus on Corso Rossellino, where platters come piled high with local pecorino toscano, truffles, bread and cured meats.
Drive an hour south from Pienza and you’ll arrive at Italy’s largest dormant volcano, Monte Amiata. Hikers, cyclists and horse riders alike can take advantage of the nice range of trails in the region around the south Tuscan mountain. The shortest, from Selva to Selvena, comes in at just 1km (0.6mi), while the longest – the Mountain Ring – is a meatier 24km (15mi). Take your pick.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Book into one of the best hotels in Pienza with Culture Trip. While in the province of Siena, pay a visit to the eponymous capital; here are all the top reasons to visit, including the best restaurants. Don’t miss the must-visit attractions in Tuscany, and if you’re planning an overnight trip to Pisa, we know just the places to stay.