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Stigliano

Tuscany, Italy

Five reasons to visit Pienza in Italy

Posted by Luci Ackers on Mar 16, 2017
Five reasons to visit Pienza in Italy

1. For a real taste of Italy

Pienza, a pretty little town in Tuscany, is popular for its traditional historic centre. Beautiful old buildings are centred around picturesque piazzas that are joined by small cobbled streets. Cafés and gelaterias can be found on street corners and locals go about their daily business. Here you will find real, authentic Tuscany.

2. History

Pienza can be dated back as far as the 9th century, though it went by a different name back then. It was only in the 15th century that the village of Corsignano was renamed Pienza and remodelled into a beautiful Renaissance town. This means that despite its early history there is actually little remaining from any earlier than the 14th century. Though mentions of Corsignano can be found in 9th century documents.

3. Culture

The reason the town underwent a rebuild in the 1400s was because Pope Pius II, who was born Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini in Corsignano, wanted to rebrand his birthplace as an 'ideal renaissance town' and named it Pienza after himself. The town was one of the first to apply the new concept of Renaissance Humanist urban design and would become influential for the progression of urban design throughout Italy. It has been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 and sits above a valley, overlooking the Val d'Orcia which is a beautiful landscape that was also included as part of the UNESCO list of World Cultural Landscapes back in 2004.

4. Architecture

The main square, Piazza Pio II is trapezoidal in shape, and on each side is a Renaissance building:

Palazzo Comunale (on the north side of the Piazza) - The Palazzo Comunale is a pretty town hall with three arches and a brick clock tower.

Palazzo Vescovile (east) - The Palazzo Vescovile, or the Bishops' Palace, has quite a simple façade and was built in a Gothic style.

Palazzo Comunale pictured left; Palazzo Vescovile pictured centre.

Palazzo Piccolomini (on the west of the Piazza and pictured below) - The Palazzo Piccolomini is an interesting square building that encloses a central courtyard and out the back is a small, pretty garden that overlooks the Val d'Orcia.

Finally, the large Duomo (to the south of the Piazza) - The Duomo or the Cathedral of Santa Maria was one of the earliest designed in the Renaissance style. It was also influenced by contemporary German architecture as, before he became Pope, Pius spent a number of years in Germany and praised the design of the German churches.

Duomo pictured centre; Palazzo Piccolomini just visible on the right.

5. Distance

It is easy enough to get to Pienza from Stigliano, so it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to visit. By car the journey takes about an hour along a wiggly route through picturesque countryside. You'll take the SS223 and then the SP33.

Find out how to stay at the lovely Stigliano by entering your details at the bottom of the page for a free brochure.

FIND OUT HOW YOU TOO CAN STAY HERE
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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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