We Visit Pienza In Italy, An Ideal City

We visit Pienza in Italy, an ideal city

Pienza is one of the most famous villas in Tuscany for its beauty and elegance. It was the architectural project of one man, who decided to make this small village an example of a Renaissance city. With great historical and artistic value, part of it has been declared a World Heritage Site. Let’s go for a walk around Pienza . Do you want to go with us?

Pienza and its curious history

Pienza is located in the province of Siena, in the Val d’Orcia, south of Tuscany. It is at the top of a hill from which they observe extraordinary views of the valley. It arises as a project of the great humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius II.  Its original name was Corsignano, but it changed to the current one after being transformed by Piccolomini.

Pienza street
Pienza – Jaroslaw Pawlak

In the 15th century, the former Pope Pius II used his money and influence to carry out his work of creating the “Ideal Renaissance City.” His project was based on the classical ideas of geometry and elegance.  Thus was born Pienza, a harmonious city with beautiful buildings and a planned street layout.

Bernardo Rossellino was the architect in charge of carrying out the project. In three years he built the Duomo, the Town Hall, the Cathedral, the Palazzo Piccolomini and the Plaza Mayor.  But the project could not be completed due to the death of Pope Pius II and the corresponding termination of funds.

Over time, Pienza lost importance and its depopulation came from the hand of Italian industrialization, giving way to Sardinian shepherds who in the 60s began to produce their famous Pecorino cheese. Today Pienza is a spectacular tourist destination for elite travelers from all over the world.

What to see in Pienza

1. The Piazza Pío II

Pienza Cathedral
Pienza Cathedral – Jakub Koziol

Piazza Pio II is the nerve center of Pienza. It is surrounded by Renaissance buildings built in the 15th century by Bernardo Rossellino for Pope Pius II. This dazzling piazza, with a trapezoidal design, was built, at the express request of the pope, to highlight the Cathedral of Santa María Assunta.

2. Palazzo Pubblico

Piazza Pío II in Pienza
Piazza Pio II – Jaroslaw Pawlak

The Palazzo Público is located in Piazza Pio II and in front of the cathedral, forming part of a spectacular architectural ensemble. The Palazzo seems to increase the size of the square, thanks to its arcaded ground floor and houses the headquarters of the Pienza tourist office.

3. Medieval doors

Pienza has two medieval-style access doors that are worth visiting. They are located on the main street, next to several shops that sell Pecorino cheese in its thousands of variants, as well as several elegant antique and souvenir shops.

4. The Palazzo Piccolomini

Garden of the Palazzo Picolomini in Pienza
Palazzo Picolomini garden – krcil

This building was also designed by Rossellino and is considered one of the most important works of the artist. It is built in a Florentine style, with Corinthian columns and semicircular arches.

It is worth visiting its weapons room, its impressive library, the garden that offers beautiful views of the Orcia Valley. Also of interest is the museum and the beautiful apartment where the Pope stayed during his visits.

5. The Palazzo Borgia or Palazzo Vescovile

The Palazzo Borgia is located in Piazza Pío II and was ordered by Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, who later would be Pope Alexander VI. It houses the Diocesan Museum, which contains works of art, texts and illustrations, as well as quite interesting miniatures and tapestries.

6. La Pieve di Corsignano

Pieve di Corsignano in Pienza
Pieve di Corsignano – AMB

It is a Romanesque-style church dating from the 10th century and located on the western edge of Pienza. Its strange circular bell tower with eight arched windows is striking.

Above the main door there is a carving of a two-headed mermaid and scenes of the Magi and the Nativity on the side door on the right. Inside it keeps the baptismal font where Pope Pius II was baptized.

7. Church of San Francesco

The Church of San Francesco dates from the 13th century, so it has great historical and artistic value. It has a single nave and an austere façade, but it has frescoes on the life of San Francesco that are of great value. Also of interest are the paintings of the apse, by Cristoforo di Bindoccio.

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