Pienza is in a really strategic position, high on the top of a hill that dominates a large valley, with a breathtaking view on the beautiful Val d’Orcia south of Siena, among inspiring hills, and an ever-new panorama of the whole countryside around. Walking through the streets and alleys of Pienza one has an intense feeling of being in a single, harmonious and perfectly proportioned urban complex, as if one were admiringly walking through a perfect Renaissance town as painted in a beautiful work of art. (The impression is right: the city was built as a whole by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Pope Pio II, hence the name “Pienza”.) Set right in the centre of the Artistic and Natural Part of the Val d’Orcia south of Siena, and is since 1996 an UNESCO city. Historians of Italian and European architecture consider the “ideal city” of Pio II as a truly perfect accomplishment of Renaissance landscaping and urban architectural planning.
In its territory we find also the small “borgo” of Monticchiello, a well-preserved example of medieval architecture successfully survived until modern times. A very old centre founded by the Teutonic Knight, it became a main strategic stronghold of the Siennese Republic on the southern borders, in Val d’Orcia. You can’t miss Monticchiello, for the wonderful panorama from its walls, its popular theatre season, the beauty of its alleys, and the many dairy companies offering tasting and samplings of the famous pecorino cheese, best savoured with a glass of red wine from the Siennese Clays.