During your stay in B&B Casa Bellavista, situated in Cortona in Arezzo district, in Toscana, and the Locanda Poggioleone, in Castiglione del Lago, near Lago Trasimeno, district of Perugia, in Umbria, you will able to do a walk in Tuscany, through the hamlets of Val d’Orcia.
Pienza the Renaissance hamlet par excellence
Pienza represents one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture.
Its outstanding reputation derives from the intention of its illustrious son Enea Silvio Piccolomini who was elected Pope Pius II in 1458 and had his birthplace transformed from a characterless village into an ideal Renaissance town. This task was entrusted to the architect Bernardo Rossellino.
Pope Pius II died prematurely, but the harmonious cityscape that he had envisioned has remained unchanged: Pienza is just as marvellous today as it was when it was created, and will keep this place in his heart.
Therefore it is no wonder that the town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Among its many attractions are the magnificent Pius II Square, the Cathedral, the Piccolomini and Borgia Palaces and the Town Hall; but in fact the whole of the historical centre of Pienza, which shines in Val d’Orcia, is a unique example of Renaissance architecture, perfectly preserved through the centuries.
San Quirico D’Orcia and its small towers
San Quirico is an enchanting hamlet in the district of Siena located in Val d’Orcia.
Its Etruscan origins are documented, while antiquities of later date are also visible and evoke interest and admiration: the town walls, with small towers incorporated into them; the Collegiata Church, rich in religious symbols, paintings and marquetry panels that enhance its beauty and elegance. Its Baroque choir dates from the second half of the 17th century as does the perfect Rococo high altar.
The bulk of the Chigi Palace rises next to the Collegiata across the Magisterial Palace, while the Church of St Francis faces the main square. This church has undergone many a renovation through the centuries, but on its high altar, the exquisite Madonna that has been attributed to Andrea della Robbia still stands. The town also boasts of a superb example of garden in the Italian style: the Horti Leonini, named after Diomede Leoni who designed them in 1580.
Montefollonico and its Pieve of St. Lorenzo
The beauty and charm of Montefollonico (Siena), a small medieval hamlet built on an isolated hill, comes from its captivating isolation. Its origins are ancient, but its real development dates from about 1100, when its strategic position made it prominent in the endless wars between towns.
It preserves numerous incomparable testimonies of its ancient and glorious past, including the powerful town walls, the three doors (Pianello, Triano an Follonica) and the seven towers (especially the massive Cassero tower) as well as the Palace of Justice and the communal reservoir. These are all splendid examples of civic architecture, but Montefollonico also possesses one of the most important Romanesque churches in the whole area, St Leonard Church.
The town of Montefollonico has a centuries-old cultural heritage, brimming with glory that can be discovered and studied serenely in the absolute silence of Tuscany’s tranquil countryside.