Pienza – Memories of teenage anguish

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.

Giant poster showing a scene from Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet

Memories of this outpouring of teenage anguish came flooding back when we visited the lovely little southern Tuscan village of Pienza.

The Tuscan village of Pienza
Picture perfect
The view from here was magnificent
You could see for miles!
In the main square Piazza Pio II
The main Church in Pienza
We loved the street lamps
Graceful Cypress trees

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.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting as The 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.

This Palazzo is regarded as the first example of Renaissance architecture
The beginning of the tour
Such a beautiful view from the Palazzo
The “hanging” garden of Palazzo Piccolomini

The tour was very memorable but unfortunately I can’t share any photographs of the interior as photography was not allowed.

More reminders of Romeo and Juliet

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,

Garden with a view

It was very orderly and graceful

From Pienza we drove through pretty undulating countryside to Trequanda, another small Tuscan village perched on a hill in the Val di Chiana.

The small village of Trequanda

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.

Trequanda’s impressive looking castle

Beautiful view

The unusual facade of the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in Trequanda
An inviting archway

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

Lake Trasimeno – the perfect stopping place

Castiglioni del Lago – just ten minutes walk up the hill from Lake Trasimeno

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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