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LA TERRAZZA DEL CHIOSTRO, PIENZA

( Via del Balzello (next to Palazzo Piccolomini) ; Tel 0578 74 81 83 ; cl ? )

( note also that the restaurant closes for winter at the end of the first week in November )

 

Preemptive winner of the Dom Paradox Autumn 2006 Italian A Tour Lunch Award

"this is as good as it gets"  Dom Paradox DOCG, on tasting the first spoonful of zabaglione

 

Link to Pienza and South of Siena          Pope Pius II - Portraits and Life

 

Link to Siena Palazzo Pubblico and Duomo

 

 

La Terrazza del Choistro restaurant in Pienza occupies buildings and a terrace which in earlier times were part of the Franciscan convent (mendicant order convents were mostly full of men, incidentally).  This was the only religious establishment in the unknown little Borgo of Corsignano, until one of its citizens (Aeneus Sylvius Piccolomini 1405 - 1464 (59)) was elected Pope Pius II in 1458.  He is the same Piccolomini whose life is celebrated in Pinturicchio's vivid frescos in the Piccolomini Library in Siena's Duomo.  

 

In the wake of his election, Aeneus decided that his home borgo needed a makeover, so he put medieval C5 bulldozer equivalents through the medieval mish-mash in the centre (except the convent, even a Pope could not do that), built the pleasant little piazza  and the huge Palazzo that is there today, and renamed the town Pienza. 

 

The cloister and terrace of the convent, now restaurant,  looks south towards Monte Amiata - the highest mountain in Tuscany, at the moment populated by golden leaved Autumn chestnut trees.

 

The restaurateur, Maurizio Abbate, used to run one of our favourite restaurants in Castellina, and has ratcheted up his skills to another level here.  He has also recently married a beautiful Russian lawyer from Moscow, which is probably one reason why he looks so happy.

No idea as to why Rosario looks happy - maybe the thought of the pleasure the Dom will derive from the meal !  Above - Calamari on a bed of vegetables, and below - lamb chops.

Nothing in the Dom's taste and texture archive came up to the standard of this warm zabaglione

And the only word that came to mind with the Brunello riserva grappa and the by now slightly out of focus Monte Amiata, was perfetto .....

 

 

The little fella (San Francesco) himself in the restored Franciscan convent church next to the cloister.

 

 

 

The miniature Piazza Pio II in Pienza

 

 

 

View down to the Val d'Orcia from the Pienza Duomo

 

 

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