Pienza Italy is a beautiful small town set in the heart of Tuscany and the scenic Val d’Orcia. It’s also considered the ideal Renaissance city which we will explain all about soon. Pienza Italy is full of history, great restaurants, and amazing views over the Orcia Valley. Join us as we take you through the streets of this famous medieval city!
Day Trip to Pienza Italy
In reality, Pienza Italy isn’t that large of a town. Like many traditional villages in Tuscany, it won’t take more than a few hours to see it all. This makes it the perfect day trip destination for those visiting the Val d’Orcia. You can even spend the night and include it in part of a larger Tuscany road trip.
There are many ways to get to Pienza Italy from all over the country. We were staying in nearby Montepulciano which is only a 30-minute drive away. The closest big cities are Siena. Florence, and Rome where many travelers make day trips from. Here are some fun tours to check out if you don’t feel like driving!
- From Florence: Val D’Orcia Cheese and Wine Tasting Tour
- From Siena: Pienza and Montepulciano Small-Group Tour
- From Rome: Tuscany Day Trip with Lunch and Wine Tasting
Quick History of Pienza Tuscany
Pienza has an interesting story that every history lover will appreciate! It is known as the perfect Renaissance city because of its stunning and intricate design. We owe the construction of this timeless architecture to the humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini who would later become Pope Pius II.
Back in the mid-15th century, he had the money and connections to take his birthplace and turn it into something magical! Using two of Italy’s most famous architects, he transformed the small town of Corsignano into the Pienza you see today! It would go on to become a defining village of the Renaissance and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Best Things to See in Pienza Italy
One of the highlights of visiting Pienza Italy is the unbelievable surroundings. It’s located in the heart of the Val d’Orcia which stretches from Siena to Monte Amiata.
The rolling hills are something out of a fairy tale with vineyards and Tuscan villas as far as the eye can see. The best way to see the Orcia Valley is to walk the Passeggiata Panoramica along the outer walls of Pienza. This natural pathway will give you the dreamy views you came to Tuscany for!
Below are more of the must-see attractions in Pienza Tuscany. Take your time wandering around the colorful streets and embrace and truly embrace it. There is so much to see in the ideal Renassaince city!
- Piazza Pio II: The main square of Pienza Italy and the perfect representation of the Renassaince.
- Piccolomini Palace: Summer home to Pope Pius II. The backyard holds what is considered to be the first example of a roof garden during this time period.
- Pienza Cathedral: Gorgeous cathedral built in 1462 that overlooks the main square.
- Diocesan Museum: Art museum housed in the Palazzo Borgia with works from churches around the Orcia Valley and Tuscany.
- Pienza Town Hall: Historic residence of the Priori sitting across from the cathedral.
- Val d’Orcia: The beautiful valley surrounding Pienza Italy!
What to Eat in Pienza Tuscany
Another reason to visit Pienza Italy is the delicious food! In addition to being the ideal Renaissance City, it is also known as the City of Cheese. That’s because of the world-famous sheep cheese from here called Pecorino di Pienza.
The special taste and smell of this cheese is strong and the local product can be seen throughout the town. We recommend trying a cheese plate with wine or even having it with some pasta.
Pienza Tuscany has some amazing bars and restaurants to experience. Some even have epic views of the Orcia Valley or are hidden in the ancient alleyways.
Keep in mind Pienza is popular and some of the best restaurants will have a wait for a table in the peak summer months. It may be worth it to call ahead to see if you can make a reservation, or put your name on the waitlist and take a stroll around town in the meantime. Here are a few recommendations for where to eat on your visit!
Sette di Vino: As one of the highest-rated restaurants in town, this cute spot in a small square is great if you’re able to actually get a table!
La Bottega Del Naturista: Popular cheese shop right on the main street of Pienza. Great place to stop in and grab some items for a picnic.
Idyllium: Upscale cocktail bar with delicious meat and cheese plates and stunning views over the Orcia Valley.
Trattoria Latte di Luna: Charming Italian restaurant with yummy pasta dishes as well as local specialties from the area.
Buon Gusto Gelateria: Scrumptious gelato with unique flavors like caramel banana, lemon and lavender, blueberry ricotta, and so many more!
Where to Stay in Pienza Italy
Pienza is not very big so know that there are limited accommodations. Many hotels and guesthouses are located outside the village. For this reason, a lot of travelers like us visit on a day trip.
However, we would love to stay overnight on our next trip! We can only imagine how magical it is watching the sunset over the Val d’Orcia from the ideal Renaissance city. Make sure to book in advance if you are visiting during the high season! Here are some hotels to check out in Pienza Italy.
Piccolo Hotel La Valle: Close to the main square and all the best restaurants in Pienza. Enjoy views of the Orcia Valley from their rooftop terrace.
Hotel San Gregorio: Housed in the ancient theatre of Pienza and just steps from the city center.
Affittacamere Gozzante: Spacious rooms with desks and balconies near all the best attractions.
Have any questions on Pienza Tuscany or want to share your own tips for visiting the ideal Renaissance city? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Italy Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Italian road trip!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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