Where to Go in Tuscany: Pienza

Driving north from Rome, this picturesque view is the first glimpse I had of Pienza.

Pienza provides charm galore and makes for the perfect hub for your visit to Tuscany. Not only will you find amazing landscapes in the area surrounding the town, but you’ll also have a chance to explore the historical town, see and photograph charming flower-filled doorways and enjoy delicious food at a number of restaurants.

Where to Stay

I had a wonderful stay at the Piccolo Hotel La Valle on the edge of town (outside of the ZTL). I really appreciated the helpfulness of the staff at the desk. Not only did my room and the patio (see photo below) have a gorgeous view, it was also a very convenient to walk into town at night for dinner. I like that feature a lot. After a day spent driving around scouting photography locations, it was nice to have a short walk before and after dinner. Plus, if you’re traveling solo as I do, you might like to know, I felt totally safe walking alone at night back to the hotel.

Tuscany landscape
View from Piccolo Hotel La Valle, Pienza
Pienza doorway with flowers and bicycle
Pienza Doorway

How to Get to Pienza
You can rent a car at the Termini Train Station and drive north out of Rome on the expressway. It’s a little nerve wracking getting to the freeway, but once you get there, it’s just like driving on expressways here at home. Occasionally you have to stop and pay toll by cash or credit. Conveniently, there are gas stations with cafes along the way just like rest stops here at home.

When you get to Pienza, it’s pretty easy to avoid the ZTL traffic zone. It’s well marked, and there are a few public parking areas at the edge of town.

A pop of yellow flowers and a brick wall. What more do you need?
Perhaps, magenta flowers are more your taste?

Where to Eat

Buca delle Fate – This restaurant had the most delicious gluten-free pasta. I tried several varieties including the truffle pasta. They were all really good. Plus, I had a steak with arugula that was quite nice. I also appreciated the kind service of the staff.

La Mensa del Conte – This restaurant is very knowledgeable about gluten free dining. I enjoyed both the pasta and steak here. They have a very good olive oil with peppers in it, but the highlight was the gluten free cheesecake served in a small jar. So good!

Get Energized at The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale

The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale from the front drive on Drinkwater Blvd..

If you’re thinking about joining a health club, The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale offers an inspiring choice for local residents with a Spa & Swim Club membership. It’s $300 for the year or you can try it for 6 months for just $200.

It’s an attractive offer because in addition to being able to access the 24-hour fitness center, members also get access to two heated or cooled pools. If you don’t live in Phoenix, you’re probably not aware that outdoor pools without heaters get too cold to use comfortably after September. Plus, the pool water in the summer time can reach 90 degrees. So having access to pools that are comfortable year round is a nice benefit.

As if that wasn’t enough, members also get 20% discount on spa treatments and food and beverage, as well as one free night per year.

It sounds like a great deal to me!

Plus, the Saguaro is speaking my language with dynamic exterior paint colors, which provide an inspiring counterpart to the desert landscape.

The yellow pop of color provides a nice welcome to members and visitors, as do the palm trees and saguaro cacti.

The front drive of the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale is lined with palm trees and saguaro cacti.

I took a room tour while I was there and the rooms on the ground floor facing the pool have a nice patio with lounger, which would make for a nice staycation or restful space for out of town guests.

You will really like the park entrance to the hotel as well. This entrance to The Saguaro, while still colorful, has a more serene feeling with the trees shading the pathway.

The Saguaro Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona

From what I heard from the desk clerk, the meeting rooms areĀ  popular with local businesses who need offsite space for meetings. I’m not surprised. The setting of The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale would make for both inspiring meetings and restful breaks after sessions.