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Pienza is a small village located about 20 km east of Montalcino and a few km west of Montepulciano in the beautiful region of Val d’Orcia, south of Siena, between soft and poetic hills and stunning views. Pienza enjoys a strategic position, perched on the top of a hill, overlooking the entire Orcia valley with a breathtaking view.
This charming village 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 turn his humble home village, Corsignano, in what he believed 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 called ” Rossellino” , under the guidance of the great humanist Leon Battista Alberti. In just three years it was built a complex of beautiful and harmonious buildings: the Cathedral, the papal residence or ” Palazzo Piccolomini”, the town hall, and the lovely central square.
Pio II square has a form of harmony that gives great dignity and solemnity to all the surrounding buildings, built with travertine stone, which gives them a light honey color. On one side of the square, you can admire a beautiful pit, known as the “dog pit.”
The Duomo or Cathedral of the Assumption hosts important and remarkable paintings of the most renowned artists of the time, while the bell tower from the octagonal shape is situated above the ancient crypt pointing straight to the sky.
The imposing Palazzo Piccolomini at the right of the cathedral has a fantastic lodge with a wonderful hanging garden from which you can admire a truly breathtaking view of the Orcia Valley, from Montalcino to the volcanic Monte Amiata. Palazzo Piccolomini has also been choosen from Franco Zeffirelli to shoot some scenes of his famous and romantic movie “Romeo and Juliet”; Here the two lovers meet for the first time at the party in Capulet’s house.
The impression one gets, walking through the narrow streets of Pienza, is that of a harmonious and proportionate forms; somehow it’s as admiring a Renaissance city depicted in a beautiful painting.