But if you want to do anything else in Pienza– explore the shops, taste some local products or even pick up a loaf of bread, make sure you do it before 1 pm or after 4pm. These times may vary, as closing hours may start as early as noon or end a bit earlier or later. This holds true not just for Pienza, but for most of the smaller hill towns (note: do not refer to the closing hours as a “siesta”– that’s Spain, not Italy).
At around 1:30 pm, I wandered the streets in vain, hoping to find at least one shop flaunting the local hours. Let me save you the trouble– there weren’t any. While it may be a slight inconvenience, it’s nice to know that shop owners have not succumbed to the notion that shops must be open at all hours in order to extract every tourist dollar possible. Here, quality of life trumps profit, which is good for the shop owners and also good for you.
Still, pre-planning is essential, and even then be prepared to be flexible. We decided to have an impromptu picnic one afternoon and made sure to return to the alimentari for its posted re-opening at 3:30 pm. We hung around with a group of locals until…4:05. No one expressed impatience or even looked surprised, so take a cue from the locals and go with the flow.
While my poor planning kept me from shopping, I did make a list of shops that sounded like they might be worth checking out:
List of Pienza shops:
For leather and handbags:
- Bottega Artigiana del Cuoio, Corso Rossellino 58 leather artisan– belts, wallets and other leather goods. Watch him work in front of you.
- Calzoleria Pientina, Via Gozzante 22. Leather shoes and handbags.
- Officeine904 , Via Dogali 16. Leather handbags.
Other interesting stuff (tips received from a savvy local):
- Marusco & Maria, Corso il Rossellino, 19, Pecorino cheeses vacuum sealed for easy packing, plus locally made honeys, jams and herbs all at great prices.
- Biagiotti, This shop is run by a local family who weld beautiful things from wrought iron. The items range from furniture to smaller pieces, including dragon candlesticks, palio riders, and cypress trees.
Have you shopped in Pienza? Tell us about your favorite shops in the comments!