Pienza is a city that I love, especially for its sober elegance. It is at the same time austere, with a breath-taking view of the Val d’Orcia.
The city of Pienza has many pseudonyms: La Città Gioiello “,” Città d’Autore “; the author is Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was born here in 1405 who in 1458 became Pope with the name of Pius II. Among his first intentions was to transform the place that was then called “Corsignano” into a sort of ideal city, one that was a symbol of the transformation of the world following new cosmopolitan and modern bases. The architect who designed the transformation was Bernardo Rossellino, a man capable of translating humanistic myths into architectural structures. The work began in 1459 and in 1462 the Pope deliberated the birth of the new city even if not yet completed. Unfortunately in 1464 both Pius II and the architect Rossellino died and therefore the project was never completed. However, this did not prevent the city from transforming into perfect architectural and urban harmony.
It is in fact the first urban centre that is the result of a real master plan.
After the death of Pius II Pienza was involved in a series of long wars, until being delivered finally to the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1558
Much of Pienza’s significant historical and artistic heritage is concentrated in the charming square dedicated to Pope Pius II, a personality that has given so much to the town, trying to make it the “ideal city” of the Renaissance. His projects, entrusted to Bernardo Rossellino, were only partially completed, but still remain one of the most significant examples of rational urban planning of the Italian Renaissance. The Renaissance Cathedral is isolated and clearly visible; in front, the Palazzo Comunale and next to Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini. The Romitorio is a complex of premises dug into the sandstone by hermit monks and is located near Pienza. In a cave there is a sculpture of a Madonna with six fingers, linked to a miracle of San Giovanni damascene, it testifies to the relations of the monks with the Orthodox world.
For the beauty of its historical Renaissance centre, in 1996 Pienza became part of the natural, artistic, cultural heritage of UNESCO, followed in 2004 by the same valley area where it stands: the Val d’Orcia
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