Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1996
Size of heritage: 4.41 ha
It was in this Tuscan town that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. He chose the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who applied the principles of his mentor, Leon Battista Alberti. This new vision of urban space was realized in the superb square known as Piazza Pio II and the buildings around it: the Piccolomini Palace, the Borgia Palace and the cathedral with its pure Renaissance exterior and an interior in the late Gothic style of south German churches.
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Historic Centre of the City of Pienza: A Jewel of Renaissance Urban Planning
The Historic Centre of the City of Pienza, located in the Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the remarkable achievements of Renaissance urban planning. This small town, originally known as Corsignano, was transformed into an ideal Renaissance city by Pope Pius II in the 15th century.
Pienza's history dates back to the Etruscan period, but it was during the Renaissance that it gained prominence. Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini, envisioned creating an ideal city that would reflect the humanist ideals of the time. He commissioned the renowned architect Bernardo Rossellino to redesign Corsignano, transforming it into a harmonious and balanced urban space.
The historic centre of Pienza is a testament to the principles of Renaissance urban planning. The layout of the city follows a grid pattern, with three main streets intersecting at the central square, Piazza Pio II. The buildings are characterized by their elegant facades, harmonious proportions, and use of local materials such as travertine stone.
One of the most iconic buildings in Pienza is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Its facade, designed by Rossellino, is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. The cathedral's interior houses beautiful frescoes by Sienese artists, including the renowned painter Pinturicchio.
Another notable building is the Palazzo Piccolomini, the former residence of Pope Pius II. This grand palace features a stunning courtyard and a loggia with panoramic views of the Val d'Orcia, a picturesque landscape that surrounds Pienza.
Pienza's historic centre is also home to numerous other palaces, churches, and public buildings that contribute to its unique character. The town's narrow streets, lined with charming shops and cafes, invite visitors to explore its rich history and enjoy the local cuisine.
Today, the Historic Centre of the City of Pienza remains remarkably well-preserved, allowing visitors to experience the splendor of Renaissance urban planning. The site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1996, recognizing its outstanding universal value.
Pienza's inclusion on the World Heritage list has helped to raise awareness about the importance of preserving its cultural heritage. Efforts have been made to protect and restore the historic buildings, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate the beauty and significance of this exceptional Renaissance city.
Visiting the Historic Centre of the City of Pienza is like stepping back in time to the golden age of the Renaissance. Its architectural masterpieces, combined with its picturesque setting in the heart of Tuscany, make it a must-see destination for history and culture enthusiasts alike.
Hotels and places to stay
Relais Il Chiostro di Pienza
Piccolo Hotel La Valle
Hotel Arca di Pienza
Il Giglio B&B
LA BANDITA TOWNHOUSE
Agriturismo Il Colombaiolo
Videos from the area
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Medium airport - 25 mi (40 km) Arezzo Airport
Small airport - 28 mi (45 km) Grosseto Airport
Medium airport - 38 mi (61 km) Perugia / San Egidio Airport
Medium airport - 42 mi (68 km) Firenze / Peretola Airport
Medium airport - 56 mi (91 km) Lucca / Tassignano Airport
Small airport - 76 mi (122 km) Pisa / San Giusto - Galileo Galilei International Airport
Large airport - 77 mi (124 km) Forlì Airport
Medium airport - 80 mi (129 km) Rimini / Miramare - Federico Fellini International Airport
Medium airport - 80 mi (130 km) Leonardo Da Vinci (Fiumicino) International Airport
Large airport - 93 mi (150 km) Ciampino Airport
Large airport - 100 mi (161 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Abbadia San Salvatore
- Castel del Piano
- Castiglione d'Orcia
- Chianciano Terme
- Foiano della Chiana
- Marciano della Chiana
- Monte San Savino
- Monteroni d'Arbia
- Rapolano Terme
- San Casciano dei Bagni
- San Giovanni d'Asso
- San Quirico d'Orcia
- Santa Fiora
- Torrita di Siena
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Bagno Vignoni
- Bivio di San Biagio
- Campiglia d'Orcia
- Delle Fornaci
- Fornace Laterizi
- La Foce
- Osteria delle Noci
- Rocca d'Orcia
- San Biagio
- Zona Pip-Localita Fornaci
- Zona Pip-Localita Trieste