Pienza, magnificently overlooking the Val d'Orcia, is a village that offers an authentic immersion in Renaissance artistic and architectural history. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, this Tuscan gem represents the ideal 15th-century city, thanks to the grandiose designs of Pope Pius II and the mastery of architect Bernardo Rossellino.
Founded as the small village of Corsignano, the town saw a radical change in 1462, following the decision of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II, to transform its birthplace into an ideal Renaissance city. The ensuing redevelopment lasted four years, during which time the urbanistic configuration of Pienza emerged in all its harmony, still distinguished by its typically 15th-century features.
The beating heart of the city is Piazza Pio II, scene since 1960 of the characteristic Palio del Cacio a fuso, and home to major architectural treasures such as the Renaissance Cathedral, the Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini. Also near Pienza is the Romitorio, a set of rooms carved out of sandstone by hermit monks, particularly noted for its sculpture of a Madonna with six fingers.
Walking the streets of Pienza also means visiting the Duomo, the Cathedral of the Assumption, and admiring its spectacular octagonal bell tower erected over the ancient crypt. Inside, the Duomo holds important works of art by famous artists of the time.
Opposite the Duomo, stands the Palazzo Comunale, a historic building from the 1400s featuring a showy loggia. In the same square, you cannot fail to visit the Piccolomini Museum-Palazzo Piccolomini, with its striking roof garden that offers a breathtaking view of the Val d'Orcia, from Montalcino to Mount Amiata. In the same complex, there is also the Palazzo Borgia, current home of the Diocesan Museum of Pienza.
Inside the former conservatory of San Carlo, it houses the Archaeological Museum of Pienza, a medieval building that has extensive archaeological and Etruscan collections, as well as an exhibition itinerary documenting the urban and architectural history of the Pienza area.
Not far from the historic center, you can discover the Pieve di Corsignano, a Romanesque church with three naves, which dates back to the 7th century.
The trip to Pienza cannot end without a food and wine stop. This area is famous for its typical products such as Pienza pecorino cheese, saffron, fine truffles, Cinta Senese cold cuts and pici, a typical pasta served with garlic sauce or goose ragout. All dishes can be accompanied by excellent local wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino and Orcia Doc.
Visit Pienza, the Val d'Orcia's most renowned and most important artistic hub, and be captivated by its unique Renaissance beauty.
Village of Pienza
The Municipality of Pienza
Province of Siena
inhabitants: 2.076 pientini
Altitude center: 491 m a.s.l.
The Municipality is part of:
Città del bio
Città della chianina
the historical center of Pienza - UNESCO site
Orange Flag - Italian Touring Club
Protected natural areas:
Area di interesse locale Val d'Orcia
Riserva naturale Lucciolabella
ON THE TRAIN
Pienza, papal city, sits on its noble hill, with the face turned toward the boundless undulations of the Val d'Orcia, dotted with farmhouses and furrowed with ancient streets. Pienza, the renaissance city is a perfect model of urban planning and architecture of humanism, still incorrupt in its structure. Since 1996 for Unesco is a patrimony of humanity.
The merit is of pope Pius II, in the days Enea Silvio Piccolomini, a pope idealistic, born from a noble family and lover of the canons of classical beauty. He tried to make Pienza his "ideal city", leaving to posterity one of the most significant examples of urban design rational of the Italian Renaissance.
The beauty of the town lies primarily in its square, that suddenly opens in the narrow space of the medieval buildings. The project is the work of the architect Bernardo Rossellino, lying at its patron about the huge expenditure that would have been required for its realization, has managed to bring to humanity monuments of priceless value and beauty. Among them the Cathedral, a "crystal temple", enlightened thanks to a wonderful game of light coming from the large windows of the apse.
The square is small, but, thanks to the talent of the perspective opening and the paving of panes, similar to the paintings of Piero della Francesca, appears wide and majestic. At the sides of the Cathedral rises up the papal palace and the Palazzo Vescovile. In front, instead, the Palazzo Pubblico.
The cacio fair in Pienza is one of the most anticipated traditional events for tourists and citizens, in honor of the most renowned product of the area: Pecorino (typical Italian cheese). A whole week with a full program of events, shows, tastings, markets and much more, during which the curious game of Cacio al Fuso is played. The six districts of Pienza compete for the Palio, challenging each other in this popular game, a really curious competition that should not be missed.
The game is played in Piazza Pio II, where it is possible to see a ring of white marble, set in the pavement.
Right at the center of the ring the spindle is positioned and starting from it concentric circumferences, of ever greater radius and lower score. Each of the six teams consists of six members and any reservations. One player at a time must kneel on a rug, which is made available to shooters, and throw a cheese on the floor, trying to get it as close as possible to the spindle, so as to obtain the highest score. Each member has three pitches to make sure that the score of his team is the highest to win the Palio designed by local artists.