Historic Centre of the City of Pienza - History and Facts | History Hit

Historic Centre of the City of Pienza

Teet Ottin

25 Jan 2023
Image Credit: StevanZZ / Shutterstock.com

About Historic Centre of the City of Pienza

Founded during the Medieval period as the town of Corsignano, Pienza was eventually renamed and greatly altered by Pope Pius II during the late 15th century. He transformed his birthplace into a model renaissance city with elements from German Gothic architecture. The historic centre of the city of Pienza was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The history of Pienza

The first written records of the town of Corsignano came from the 9th century, remaining a small settlement throughout the medieval period. In 1405 Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, the renaissance humanist and later Pope Pius II was born in the small town. During his time as the head of the Catholic Church, he transformed the settlement becoming the city of Pienza, meaning city of Pius, in the process.

Pienza represents the first urban centre in the world that was created based on humanist principles, becoming the blueprint for many other European cities in the coming decades. The main architect of the project was Bernardo Gambarelli.

The city of Pienza today

The pedestrianised renaissance town is perfect for those looking for a relaxing stroll through beautifully preserved streets. On the Piazza Pio II, the main square of the city, the beautiful Pienza Cathedral can be found. The building combines elements from Renaissance and Gothic architecture, while also housing some truly impressive 15th century paintings.

The Palazzo Piccolomini can be found standing right next to the cathedral. It was created as the summer home for Pope Pius II and its back garden represents the first example of a ‘roofed garden’ in the renaissance.

Pienza is the home of numerous great restaurants and cafe’s, which will delight any culinary tourists. The town is also famous for producing the famous pecorino cheese, which is often served within food and on cheese platter’s.

Getting to the Historic Centre of the City of Pienza

The easiest way to reach Pienza is by renting a car and driving from either Florence or Siena to the beautifully preserved renaissance town. There are bus services that go from the aforementioned cities, though they usually take up to four hours with at least one change on the way.