The walled town of Pienza is a two hour drive from Florence on the motorway but it takes us through some stunning Tuscan scenery and we know that the visit will be worth the journey

Previously known as Corsignano the walled city was the childhood home of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini who became the first of two Pope Pius’s from his family Piccolomini ( which literally means little man!).

C o a Pio II.svg

Not particularly religious – in fact the first “Humanist” Pope – Piccolomini had an adventurous youth, sired a couple of illegitimate children (one in Strasbourg and the first in Scotland!), and tried to avoid being elected Pope – but become Pope he must – it was written in the stars – or maybe in the half moons of the family crest– each representing a family member undertaking a crusade and Pope Pius II he became!!

Pope Pius II wanted to put his home town on the map so he renamed it Pienza – a diminutive of Pius – and totally reconstructed the centre to include his much enlarged Palace,

as well as the Church and the seat of the Council.

The Palazzo has loggias on every level to bring the country into the house, as well as to allow the visitor to enjoy the spectacular scenery across the Val D’Orcia.

The spectacular view across Val D’Orcia from the Palazzo Piccolomini is now protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site – ie area of beauty not to be violated by unauthorised building!

After lunch La Foce and finally wine tasting in Montepulciano!