There is a long tradition in the Val d'Orcia of bonfires being lit in the countryside after dark to burn into the early hours of the Assumption 'festa' on August 15. In more recent years, fireworks were let off from a podere below and some distance away from Pienza itself, which Pientini viewed from the belvedere walkway outside the town, toward the church of Santa Caterina. But since 2010 the traditional fireworks have been let off from the top of the town bell-tower, right above the famous and famously beautiful renaissance Piazza Pio II.
And what an extraordinary spectacle they are!! Other, much vaster fireworks displays take place elsewhere, such as for the festa of San Giovanni Battista on June 24 in Florence, seen by large crowds spread out along the Arno, set off (generally) from the area of Piazzale Michelangelo on the hill above and beyond the river. The Pienza fireworks are a more intimate affair, with people jammed into the piazza and the adjoining main street, and with the fireworks erupting from the campanile right above us all.
So close up, they make a special and very civic impression -- colours, flashes, bangs, shooting 'stars' and pinwheels, apparently engulfing the bell-tower and -- this year -- even creating a sort of waterfall of sparkles down the front of the renaissance town-hall/palazzo itself.
Great fun -- and a wonderful new tradition!!!