There are probably only one or two movies during which I have witnessed audience members full-on sobbing. One of these was Zeffirelli’s 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet which I went to see with a large group of school friends.
Memories of this outpouring of teenage anguish came flooding back when we visited the lovely little southern Tuscan village of Pienza.
During a tour of Palazzo Piccolomini we discovered the building was used for some key scenes in the film. As soon as we walked in the memories came flooding back. Over-life-size hanging posters reminded us of the innocent beauty of actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting and their deeply moving portrayal of the tragic star crossed lovers.
The graceful Palazzo was built in 1459 as a summer home for Pope Pius II who had a dream of building an “ideal city”. The Palazzo was part of this project and is considered the very first example of Renaissance architecture. The Pope’s family (the Piccolominis) lived in the Palazzo until 1962 and it is still in private hands.
The tour was very memorable but unfortunately I can’t share any photographs of the interior as photography was not allowed.
The sheltered and harmonious courtyard is also considered to be the first of its kind. It had a wonderful view with breathtaking panoramas of the Val d’Orcia Valley,
From Pienza we drove through pretty undulating countryside to Trequanda, another small Tuscan village perched on a hill in the Val di Chiana.
Trequanda seemed even smaller than Pienza but it had lovely views and an impressive looking castle with a tall tower in white stone and crenelated walls.
After a wander round we set off to find a place to camp for the night. We tried a few places but one car park no longer allowed campervans and another looked pretty full so we headed a little further afield and found the perfect place to stop – Lake Trasimeno