Un giro a Pienza e San Quirico d’Orcia

This afternoon was so much fun. Sandra and I drove in the car with Judy, a woman from Australia who speaks Italian beautifully, and Barbara, the young woman in my intermediate class who studies Italian at Yale. It’s great for my self-esteem that Barbara and I are in the same class. I may still speak haltingly, but I’m understanding more, especially the grammar, and I just enjoy learning and being in class and trying. Last week I considered giving up on my dream to study Italian, but this week I decided not to, that I enjoy the challenge too much.

Before Pienza, we stopped at the Pieve di Corsignano. Corsignano was the name of the town before Papa Pio II, who was born here, became Pope and decided to transform his hometown into the ideal Renaissance city. Well, town, really. The Pieve di Corsignano was built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style. It is austere and simple and beautiful. I especially love the carvings on the front and the statue of the woman in the center of the top window, holding the church up with her head.

Barbara and I learned from our teacher, Cinzia, that Papa Pio II was so stubborn that when the architects told him the church design was too large for the space, he made them extend the foundation. Today you can see the cracks in the floor and the walls and feel the way the floor slopes down at the end of the church. He also built a Papal residence, and if his bishops refused to move there, he fired them. It is the Palazzo Piccolomini where the Zafarelli film Romeo and Juliet was filmed in the early 70s. The Duomo was consecrated in 1462.

So beautiful with so much light

Palazzo Piccolimini

Dopo Pienza siamo andate a San Quirico d’Orcia. It’s about five miles away but another beautiful little medieval town. We had a spritz in the piazza and then had the most delicious dinner at Il Forno Vecchio nel giardino (in the garden). Sandra remembered Stefano, the kind owner, from when she was here two years ago, and we had a lovely dinner. As soon as we sat down, the cameriere poured us a sip of delicious Prosecco, and we ordered fiori di zucca con porcini fritti and the paccheria, a pasta with pistacchio, pancetta, and scallions. The town is very quiet but lovely. Each contrada or neighborhood in town has its own flag.

This tiny chapel is often on Italian calendars. It’s on the road between Pienza and San Quirico.

About ssteven2

I'm a reader, writer, swimmer, and school librarian. I love my summers so I can travel.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Un giro a Pienza e San Quirico d’Orcia

  1. sandra062013 says:

    I love reading about our buon viaggio through your blog, and this time especially about the history of Pienza. As our journey winds to a close, I am increasingly even more grateful for our time together and our mutual love of (most) things Italian. Grazie mille!

  2. jana Kennon says:

    Another lovely day you and Sandra had! So interesting about the pope and his plans for the church. And, Pienza is just beautiful! What memories you and Sandra are making!!

  3. sandra062013 says:

    Sara, I also love how you said the caryatid is ‘holding up the church with her head’! You have a wonderful way with words 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s