There’s More to Pienza Shopping than Just Pecorino Cheese:
Pienza, we were told, is famous for its pecorino cheese, but apart from this cheesy bit of intelligence, we had no expectations of doing any shopping when we paid a visit to this Tuscan hill town.
We arrived at 9:30 in the morning and the place was pretty quiet, but by the time we had finished visiting the Cattedrale dell’Assunta (Pienza duomo), many of the shops had opened and we were pleasantly surprised to find that there’s more to Pienza shopping than just cheese shops. There are quite a number of wine shops, several leather shops, ceramic stores, gift shops and shoes.
Food Shopping in Pienza
Pienza’s main street, Corso Rossellino, is a lovely street that’s lined with shops. As in many of the Tuscan towns, there are several food shops in Pienza with supplies of local produce as well as typical Tuscan products.
Foodstuff – The large packets of dried porcini mushrooms (funghi porcini secchi) are very tempting and, at a price of Euro 15.50 a packet, are very cheap as well. Locally made dried pastas, olive oil, cured meats and honey are also plentiful.
Wines – The shops in Pienza offer a wide range of tasting experience. They are not aligned with any particular producers and so the advice that you get is not biased towards any particular brand names.
Pecorino Cheese – La Bottega del Cacio at Corso Rossellino 66 is one of the better food shops in Pienza, and at this bottega I was overwhelmed by the range of pecorino (cacio) cheese. Back home, if I buy pecorino cheese, I may have a choice of one of two types, but in Pienza, not only do you have a choice of fresco (fresh), semistationato (partially aged) or stagionato (aged), but there is a whole range of pecorino cheese dusted with herbs or infused with other flavours. The shelves at La Bottega del Cacio are loaded with pecorino and some of the interesting ones include the Pecorino Rosso, Pecorino sotto Cenere and Pecorino con Tartufo.
Unfortunately for us, we’re not allowed to take foodstuff home and it always frustrates me that we can only admire these beautiful Italian food products but are not able to take anything back with us.
Other Things to Buy
If you can tear yourself away from the food shops, on Corso Rossellino there are also a few ceramics stores and gift shops. At Corso Rossellino 58 is Bottega Artigiana del Cuoio. This leather artisan (Valerio Truffelli) produces very high quality belts, wallets and other leather goods. Tony would have bought a red and a green belt from him, but unfortunately he didn’t have the sizes available.
Another leather shop, located at Via Gozzante 22, is Calzoleria Pientina. They do handcrafted leather shoes, bags and purses. I’m not sure which shop the ladies in our group bought from, but they all came back with the same pair of shoe, but in different colours.
So, for those desperate to shop, there are some nice things to buy in Pienza.