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Even though it's tinier than neighboring towns, Pienza has about the same number of wine shops. The main difference is that these stores aren't tied to a single estate or producer (in Montalcino and Montepulciano, most enoteche are thinly disguised branches of local vineyards). Here you can often get a more well-rounded tasting experience, plus less biased advice. It's not a place to pick up an everyday bottle, but L'Enoteca di Ghino, Via del Leone 16 (tel. 0578-748-057; www.enotecadighino.it), has the best high-end range of bottles for miles around -- including a couple of boutique labels from the emerging wine area around Chiusi.

Any food store in town usually doubles as an outlet for other regional specialties, including the king of all sheep cheeses, Pienza's own pecorino (or cacio). You can get it fresco (fresh), semistagionato (partially aged), or stagionato (aged and suitable for grating, though it really needs a few extra months for that). Many pecorini are also dusted with ground materials to keep them soft and alter the taste slightly. Most popular are cenerato or sottocenere (an ash coating that's mainly a softening technique), peperocinato (hot peppers), and tartufato (truffles). A few producers even mix ingredients directly into the cheese (tartufi are a favorite), but others claim this mars the purity of the pecorino. Luckily, you can judge for yourself, as pecorino tasting is even more popular here than wine tasting. Two of the best places are La Bottega del Cacio, Corso Rossellino 66 (tel. 0578-748-713), and tiny La Bottega del Naturista, Corso Rossellino 16 (tel. 0578-748-760).

On Corso Rossellino, you'll find ceramics stores and the showroom for Biagiotti (tel. 0578-748-666), a family of artisans at no. 69 who specialize in ferro battuto (cast iron). Its workshop and foundry is on SS146 on the way to Montepulciano. Calzoleria Pientina, down a side street at Via Gozzante 22 (tel. 0578-749-040 or 0578-748-195), handcrafts leather shoes to measure as well as bags and purses. Right opposite, at the Bottega Linda Bai, Via Gozzante 33 (tel. 0578-749-507; www.ceramichebai.it), ceramics are painted in the workshop and displayed for sale inside an atmospheric 11th-century cave.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.