What’s Worth Seeing in Pienza Tuscany?

Pienza: the perfect town. Italy.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pienza is an ideal Renaissance town in Tuscany near Siena, born of a dream of beauty, harmony and love. The historic center of Pienza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Until 1462, Pienza was a small village known as Corsignano. In 1405, Aeneas Silvio Piccolomini was born here, who 53 years later became Pope Pius II and played an important role in the fate of Pienza. One day Pope Pius II went to Mantua and his way passed through his native village of Corsignano, seeing his homeland, the Pope – a man of his time – decided to transform it into an ideal city. The concept of the “ideal city” became popular during the Renaissance; it was a protest to the city of the Middle Ages, where everything was subject to God’s plan. Dream-city was created by man-creator and embodied his ideas, which were based on the principles of rationality, convenience of life in full harmony with nature and aesthetics of perception. The foundations of this idea were laid by Plato in his dialogues describing the model of the ideal city-state on the island of Atlantis. Several attempts were made in Italy to create an ideal city, but they failed in practice. Nevertheless, Pienza came the closest to the model of the utopian ideal city.

Pope Pius II invited the architect Bernardo Rossellino to rebuild Pienza. Construction took four years, during which time the city was completely transformed, but the sudden death of Pope Pius II stopped further changes.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pienza is a city-organism. Tuscany. Italy.

Pienza is a city-organism, the central part of which is a square.

Cathedral. Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Cathedral. Pienza.

The famous square is trapezoidal in shape and tiny in size. But thanks to the way Rossellino organized the spaces, stretching the perspective, estimating the depth, using strict geometric rules, the square seems larger. The Cathedral rises above it, surrounded by three palaces: the Piccolomini, the City and the Borgia. The cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Its construction lasted from 1459 to 1462. The façade is in travertine. The four pilasters divide the façade into three zones, which correspond to the three naves of the church. The frame divides the façade into two zones: the lower one has three entrances and the upper one has three arches supported by columns. There are niches in the side arches and a window-eye in the central one. The facade is dominated by the coat of arms of Pius II. The bell tower was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1545 and was rebuilt in 1570.

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Cathedral. Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Cathedral. Pienza.

The Piccolomini Palace is made of squares of travertine, creating a perspective connected to the horizon in development with the surrounding buildings. It is now a museum that houses relics of the family of Pope Pius II. The ancient Borgia Palace was reconstructed by Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, the future Pope Alexander VI. It was then used as a meeting place for the bishop.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pienza is an organic city.

The streets of Pienza are buried in flowers, to walk around the small town at a slow pace will be enough for a couple of hours, but you want to look at the numerous souvenir stores, cozy cafes, to admire the opening panorama.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy.

The streets of Pienza, deserted in the morning, are filled with tourists, who fill the small alleys and flood the shops in a mottled stream.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy.

The panoramic view of the surroundings is breathtaking. On a warm evening, it’s nice to lounge here with a glass of wine, admiring the Tuscan landscape, composed of gentle hills, green trees and tiled roofs turned into dots.

Panorama. Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Panorama. Pienza.

Panoramic street in Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Panorama Street in Pienza. Tuscany. Italy.

From here streets with romantic names run away into the city womb: Via Kisses, Via Amour.

Via dei Love in Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Via dei Love in Pienza.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy.

Pienza is famous for its sheep’s milk cheese – Pecorino from Pienza . The aged and flavorful Pecorino from Pienza is one of the best cheeses in Italy, which pairs perfectly with red Tuscan wines.

Pienza. Tuscany. Italy

Pecorino cheeses from Pienza.

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