Friday, January 19, 2007

Tuscan Treasures

One of the most charming towns I visited while in Italy was Pienza. This little walled town is situated on a hill in Southern Tuscany with breathtaking views of the Val d’Orcia complete with undulating fields dotted with olive groves and farm houses.

This Renaissance town of 1000, with medieval gates still standing at the town’s entrances, has been designated by UNESCO as part of the cultural heritage to mankind. Walking the narrow streets can’t but bring one back to a simpler time, the way I idyllically imagine life should still be.

The narrow streets are filled with tiny family owned shops. Meandering down one alley way, I passed the local barber shop where I could view a local getting a shave through the big picture window. In another shop was the tailor measuring up someone for a suit. Store fronts are filled with locally made delicacies…pecorino cheese aged in ashes or vine leaves, wine, homemade sweets and more. In many ways, one can imagine that life is much the same as it has always been

Pienza owes its position as one of Tuscany’s most charming art towns to Enea Silvio Piccolomini (1405-64) who later became Pope Pio II (1458). Shortly after this he called in one of the more famous architects of the time, Bernado Rossellino to transform this insignificant village in which he had been born into a model town laid out on clear planning principals. The city has conserved much of the remarkable construction which happened during this period.

If you ever have the chance, this is one stop that I wouldn't miss.


Cheryl said...

Sounds fabulous! I love the shop window in the bottom photograph.

The Fool said...

Thanks again for sharing. There's a natural calm to the first photos. The black & white is a good choice.

The sensations tied 'tween taste and memory. Have you had any opportunity to re-relish tastes of the journey since returning home? Can you close your eyes and return? The third shot brings these thoughts to mind.

Closing shot: the bicycle is what catches my eye. It has a look of cane & tweed to it. Is it a laminate? Do they use kickstands centered on the bike, or off the rear tire? Sorry, but I'm an antique bike/motorcycle nut. The bike in the photo reminds me of an old Douglas Dragonfly Motorcycle...

Carla said...

Cheryl, the shop windows all over Italy seemed so enticing. I wanted to go in every time.

Fool, I certainly can close my eyes and return at any time. The mind is truly amazing. In terms of the last photo, you are right, the bike does look as if it's made of cane. I hadn't noticed that before. Unfortunately I can't remember where the kickstand was on this one. Sorry.