Pienza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the province of Siena, overlooking the magnificent Tuscan Val d’Orcia valley. It was originally a town called Corsignano, the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini who later became Pope Pius II. As Pope, he had the entire town rebuilt as an ideal 15th century Renaissance town, intended as his personal retreat from Rome. It represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, and created an trend that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers.
Pienza’s central square is defined by four imposing edifices. Palazzo Piccolomini, the Papal residence, boasts magnificent architectural features including the enclosed Giardino all’Italiana (Italian garden) and a spectacular view over the Val D’Orcia valley.
Pienza’s cathedral, the Duomo, is renowned for its façade which is one of the earliest designed in the Renaissance manner. The Palazzo Borgia, built as a palace to house bishops on their papal visits, is now home to the Diocesan and Cathedral Museums whose collections include local textile work, religious artifacts and paintings by artist such as Pietro Lorenzetti and Luca Signorelli.