One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to spend a little time in silence, taking in the sounds, smells, and feeling of the air around me. While the sights, landmarks, and attractions are definitely a draw, it's the details that I hold onto more than anything from a trip. The smell of rosemary draping down a wall, the church bells, the birds singing, the thickness of the atmosphere. Every country, every town, has its own kind of stillness, and I am always the most enraptured by this.
Pienza is its own little world. It was redeveloped by Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini, aka Pope Pius II (born there when it was named Corsignano) as a kind of urban planning experiment, and the first with a humanist approach - one that was later adopted throughout all of Italy. It's the kind of place where you can feel the history, heavy and eternal, all around you. No matter how many decades or centuries pass, or how many feet tread through. It's the kind of place where you feel enormous gratitude for being allowed to soak in even the smallest spark of such a rich history.
Photos by Nikko DeTranquilli