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Cortona or Pienza?

Cape Town Central...
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Cortona or Pienza?

My husband and I (in our 70's but pretty fit) are planning a week in southern Tuscany next September. I have read thousands of reviews, opinions and forums and still can't decide whether to base ourselves in Cortona or Pienza. Pros and cons of each place please! We will have a car and want to find a self-catering apartment in the center of the town. Happy to visit all the usual places during the day, just want to know the best town to return to and enjoy most of our evenings there. Thanks.

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Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
13 replies to this topic
Puget Sound...
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224 reviews
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1. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

I was just there and found Pienza to be more interestng than Cortona (which was closing up for the season.) But personally, I think I would choose Assisi.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Assisi
Assisi
Province of Perugia, Italy
CA
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10,844 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

Of the two I would pick Pienza, because it is more central to towns in the area, also easier to drive out of. The "Rossellino Apartment" is probably sold out, but you could try.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
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8,532 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

Pienza is far better positioned for touring the southern Tuscan towns and getting up to Siena. It's also almost all on the flat. However, it's considerably smaller than Cortona.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Siena
Siena
Province of Siena, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
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3,001 posts
99 reviews
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4. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

I have not been to Cortona because when we were in Tuscany I kept hearing from locals how touristy it was. I don't think you can escape tourists in Pienza either but we did visit Pienza, Montepluciano and Montaclino during the high season and we did not feel it was crowded at all. Loved Pienza -- wonderful little town with beautiful views surrounding. Lots of quaint shops and places to eat, the Palazzo and Duomo are beautiful as well.

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Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Naples, Italy
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2,371 posts
32 reviews
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5. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

They cannot be compared. Cortona is interesting (if you're into Renaissance art, local Museo Diocesano is a must), but Pienza is unique: the gorgeous Renaissance architecture makes this city an open air museum, and the surrounding landscape is one of the best you can experience in whole Italy.

Also basing yourselves in Pienza you can visit a lot of interesting places nearby, like San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagno Vignoni, Montalcino and the gorgeous Abbazia di Sant'Antimo. There are not many other interesting places aroung Cortona, just Cortona itself (you could reach Umbria or Northern Arezzo province, but these would be long and stressing day trips).

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Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Museo Diocesano
Museo Diocesano
316 Reviews
Cortona, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
San Quirico d'Orcia
San Quirico d'Orcia
899 Reviews
San Quirico d'Orcia, Italy
Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni
Province of Siena, Italy
Montalcino
Montalcino
Province of Siena, Italy
Abbazia di Sant'Antimo
Abbazia di Sant'Antimo
1,214 Reviews
Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Italy
Umbria
Umbria
Italy
Arezzo
Arezzo
Province of Arezzo, Italy
CA
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10,844 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

Also Pienza has the restaurant Latte di Luna.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Adelaide
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463 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

another vote for Pienza !!

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
New York City, New...
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1,046 posts
50 reviews
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8. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

Pienza. In additon to above, the country side around it is heavenly.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
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8,532 posts
7 reviews
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9. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

Pienza = quaint shops, the palazzo, the duomo, the heavenly countryside and, not forgetting, the Latte di Luna.

What a wonderful way to describe this exquisite little town.

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Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
San Francisco...
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2,159 posts
17 reviews
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10. Re: Cortona or Pienza?

We've visited Cortona twice and thought it was rather ''commercial''. But Pienza is just a gem. My wife still raves about a women's clothing shop that I finally had to drag her out of (it was very cool...the shop I mean) and we also had a great lunch. Then we repeated the routine the next year...

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Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
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