San Lorenzo Nuovo - Pienza May 31

Driving to Pienza we happened upon a little known planned town of San Lorenzo Nuovo (1774) done by Francesco Navone to replace the old town in the malaria-ridden swamp near Lake Bolsena. Unlike many 'perfect' geometric towns, this one had a nice homey scale, while still being a model of clarity.

The main road goes through the octagonal piazza, and the church to the northeast acts at a backstop to the cross axis, which leads up the hill to the monastery. To the north and south of this road are a series of squares and greens that are more informal than the main piazza. All in all, a charming town, and one that could be easily replicated in many ways in the US.

Arriving in Pienza after lunch, we met up with Victor Dupui and David Brain along with other members of Ex Tempore, to do watercolors in Pienza for 2 days. After spreading water around and generally making a mess, we went to the nearby town of San Quirico d'Orcia, which was an unexpected delight.

Another Eutruscan-rooted town with a great travertine block Medieval church and Renaissance squares and a Baroque Palazzo, San Quirico was spiffed up, but not touristy. The dinner at the Cafe was spectacular, especially the lard.

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