Phew! It has been a crazy week. Last Wednesday we left for Venice. The group and I spent Saturday hiking in the Cinque Terre, I headed out Sunday to tour the countryside in a vintage Fiat, and yesterday we all visited Pisa and San Gimignano. Not to mention I went out to the infamous Luisa Via Roma party in Florence last night. Needless to say, I am spent!
But, as I always say, it is totally worth it. I would not have wanted to miss out of any of these fabulous experiences. I am a bit behind sharing them on the blog, but I promise I will get through all of them eventually.
These pictures are from a week ago when the group spent the day in two fabulous Tuscan hill towns – Pienza and Montepulciano. Pienza is famous for its pecorino cheese and Montepulciano for its red wine, which makes for a great day of eating and drinking. We picnicked in Pienza and then explored the charming town before heading out to Montepulciano.
Pienza is the ideal Renaissance city. After his election, Pope Pius II decided to build his perfect city based on the principles of the Renaissance. It is considered one of the first forays into urban planning. The city was artfully laid out and meticulously designed. It became the summer residence of the Pope and his most important cardinals. Today the city is perfectly preserved thanks to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pienza also overlooks the stunning Val d’Orcia, which in my opinion is the most beautiful part of Tuscany.
Unlike Pienza, Montepulciano was never redesigned or built by a pope, so it retains it Medieval look and feel. I would say there is less to do in Montepulciano than in Pienza, but it is definitely worth a stop for some amazing wine (the Catina Contucci is worth a visit) and a fabulous meal.
For our fun day in the Tuscan countryside, I wore my favorite gingham shorts and bell-sleeve top from Club Monaco. It was our first truly warm day since arriving in Italy, which is so rare for June. I am not complaining, but it was nice to finally feel the sun!