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Pienza, the ideal town

Pienza, in the beautiful region of Val d'Orcia south of Siena, is widely known as the "ideal" city of the Renaissance, the creation of the great humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II. Piccolomini had the economic means and influence to transform his humble home village, Corsignano, in what he thought would be a utopian city, which was supposed to embody the principles and philosophy of the classical age and the great Italian Renaissance. 

The project was designed by the architect Bernardo Rossellino, under the guidance of the great humanist Leon Battista Alberti. In just 3 years he made a series of beautiful and harmonious buildings: the Cathedral, the papal residence or Palazzo Piccolomini, the Municipality, and the lovely central square. Pio II square has a harmonic form that gives great dignity and solemnity in all the surrounding buildings, built in travertine stone.


On one side you can admire a beautiful well, known as the "pit dogs". The Duomo or Cathedral of the Assumption hosts important and remarkable paintings of the most famous artists of the time, while the octagonal bell tower rises above the ancient crypt pointing straight to the sky. Sir Piccolomini used to spend here some time and the palace, which has its name, is a perfect place to rest and study: the wonderful hanging garden gives you an overview over the unique panorama of the Orcia valley, Montalcino and the volcano Monte Amiata.


Even the famous director, Franco Zeffirelli, chose to shoot here some scenes of his famous and romantic film Romeo and Juliet, and here the two lovers meet for the first time at the party in Capulet's house. The impression you get, walking through the streets of Pienza, is that of a harmonious and proportionate unique center; in some ways it is as if you were enjoying a renaissance city portrayed in a beautiful painting.


The place also has a lot of nice Bottegas, where you can buy the typical Pienza dark pecorino cheese, marmalades, mushrooms, local ceramic and other nice things.


Pienza can be reached by car or by bus. It will take one day to enjoy the visit. For more info to reach the town, ask our staff.

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