Pienza is a beautiful Renaissance style town overlooking the Val d’Orcia valley below. Located 50km from Siena, it is well located for visiting both City or Countryside to ensure you enjoy your holiday.
Pienzas origins began under the name Corsignano, a small town complete with castle, whose first mention can be traced back to 828 AD. Corsignano marked the borders between the prefectures of Florence, Siena and Orvieto and is located roughly halfway between Rome and Florence. The town was renamed in honour of Pope Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini) who was born in the town. Pope Pius set about transforming his home city into a Renaissance style town complete with Duomo, papal palace and town hall in just 3 years.
Pienza still revels in the connections to Pope Pius and many visitors to the town are there as religious tourists. Its Renaissance style architecture draws students from all over the world to study the unique layout and preserved buildings. Pienza has also been designated a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, ensuring its preservation for generations to come.
Duomo of Pienza, Piazza Pio II, open daily.
Despite some subsidence, the 15th Century cathedral is the main tourist attraction in the town. Pope Pius told the architect that he wanted a “house of glass” and the vast stained glass windows of the duomo ensure that this was exactly what he achieved. The glass windows mean that the Cathedral is flooded with light, symbolizing ‘enlightenment’ for those within.
Palazzo Piccolomini, Piazza Pio II, closed Mondays
Located next door to the Duomo, the Palazzo was the papal residence of Pope Pius and his relatives. The descendants of Pope Pius (the Piccolominis) resided in the Palazzo until 1968. Built along the same lines as Palazzo Rucellai in Florence, the apartments and gardens are open to the public and include Pope Pius II’s bedroom and library.
Pieve di Corsignano, Via delle Fonti, open by appointment
The Roman style 11th Century parish church of Corsignano lies on the outskirts of the new Renaissance town of Pienza. This was the church where Pope Pius II was baptised and its unusual round town and decorated doorway makes it an interesting place to visit.
The L’Orcia valley provides a wealth of activities from walks and mountain biking to hot springs and the Treno Natura – the nature train. For more information please click here: http://www.ferrovieturistiche.it/
Takes place every Friday morning
Pienza is famous for its Pecorino cheese made from sheeps milk and the Cinta Senese breed of pigs. Look out for the produce in local shops.
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