Pienza is a medieval town in southern Tuscany... surrounded by the crete sinese--clay hills. The texture of these hills and valleys is hard to describe. It's big sky country... vistas are wide and far. The clouds come and go ever-changing the light on the hills. One minute this hill is illuminated... the next minute another. Dappled light from passing clouds enhances the undulating hills. The sharp angle of the morning sun enhances the mottled soft texture of the hills.
We were staying at Cosona, a small agriturismo about 12 minute drive from town. We had a view of Pienza from our windows. This area is a fantastic, relaxing area yet filled with beautiful views of the Crete Sinese (clay hills). If you drive the back roads (and you should to find surprising things) your car will get dusted with the fine clay.
We parked at a convenient pay lot on the side of town... our first time with the Italian parking kiosks. Not too hard. Put in a couple of coins, get receipt, put in on your dashboard, and you are good for couple of hours. (Later Note: I could have parked in any handicapped spot for free). We walked through the village, bought cheese and balsamic from a friendly old cheese monger, then took pictures... lots of them. Lucas and Mom are becoming good photographers. They make me proud.
Then it was paninis for lunch with wine and aqua gassata very sparkling water... burp). Amazing ciociolatta and pistashio gelato followed. We had a passagiata (a stroll) and took pics along the stone walkway that runs on the cliff side of town. Thirty mile views of mountains, hilltowns and villas.
Pienza immediately became a favorite village that would be hard to beat.
Then I drove on to a secret surprise for Lucas and Mom...