Pienza: Tuscan Village and Pope’s Legacy

By Jessica, USA, February 2013

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There are many iconic images of Tuscany that make us sigh deeply and start hunting for airline tickets. Even though many of us don’t know the name of the town in the photograph, one of those images is of the hilltop village of Pienza. The entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by a valley that’s on UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Landscapes, and Pienza has been used as the setting for more than one Hollywood production. In other words, you’re not alone if pictures of Pienza make you swoon.

Pienza sits between the towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino, and it’s the birthplace of Pope Pius II. This factoid is important because upon his ascension to the papacy in 1458, Pius ordered that his home village be rebuilt according to the Renaissance ideals of the time. The architect got as far as constructing a gorgeous piazza and the buildings around it – including the beautiful Duomo consecreated in 1462 – but no further. Consequently, Pienza remained a village rather than expanding into a larger city, albeit one with a perfect Italian piazza at its heart.

Editor’s Note: This recommendation was taken from our Tuscany Things to Do blog. Visit the original post to continue reading the full post and to learn more about things to do in Tuscany.

Photo courtesy of stevehdc via Flickr

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