Sunday, March 18, 2018

San Quirico d'Orcia to Pienza (and return)

We picked to base ourselves in San Quirico d'Orcia because it is sort of a crossroad in the middle of the UNESCO Orcia Valley.  We had ambitions to do some walking, alas we are not having much luck with the weather.

The first day we scurried over to Pienza trying to make it back before the rain; walking 19 kms in total.  We had to contend with some sprinkles, very strong winds, sections of sticky muddy trail, but the scenery is very dramatic, captivating. 

Pienza itself has to be one of the smallest UNESCO sites, where Pope Pius II brought the Renaissance to his ancestral homeland.  I conjecture the facts that Pope Pius II went from ordination to papacy in 11 years, and Pienza obtained UNESCO status in 1996 are not two independent events. 

The weather outside our hotel room window is not looking good as we prepare for our walk to Pienza.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

But there's plenty of signage to keep us on track.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

We pass some estates.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

More signs and scenery.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Then the trail changes to a muddy creek bed for several kilometers - not fun.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

The rain does make the hills very green.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

And then it rains and blows.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Lots of deer tracks - we spot 4 of them in the distance. And we see some huge rabbits.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Finally, Pienza.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

There's a 900 y.o. Romanesque church just outside the walls with a cool main portal.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

After seeing no one the whole walk, there are tourists in Pienza (and locals)
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

The local Pecorino cheese, made from sheep's milk, is sold in many shop around town, and also in the San Quirico COOP supermarket.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

The Duomo is known for the large windows behind the altar...
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

...and works of art. Here is my 2nd fav saint, Santa Lucia.

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Piazza Popolo.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

And we walk back to San Quirico under threatening skies and a very stiff breeze.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

View back to Pienza and the pointed spire of the Duomo.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

View towards Monte Amiata, tallest peak in southern Tuscany.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

When the mud gets thick, we walk in the edge of the field above the road.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

And we see San Quirico ahead.
Walking to Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

THE END.






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