The present post is the first in a series of portraits of the many hilltop towns to visit in our beautiful and beloved Val d'Orcia, a UNESCO designated zone where Brunello di Montalcino is grown, vinified, and raised. This first post is dedicated to the town of Pienza.
Pienza is a most beautiful town and is known for its early Renaissance architecture. Herewith are informations from the Wikipaedia:
Pienza was rebuilt from a village called Corsignano, which was the birthplace (1405) of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Italian: Enea Silvio Piccolomini), a Renaissance humanist born into an exiled Sienese family, who later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers.
The rebuilding was done by Florentine architect Bernardo Gambarelli (known as Bernardo Rossellino) who may have worked with the humanist and architect Leon Battista Alberti, though there are no documents to prove it for sure. Alberti was in the employ of the Papal Curia at the time and served as an advisor to Pius. Construction started about 1459. Pope Pius II consecrated the Duomo on August 29, 1462, during his long summer visit. He included a detailed description of the structures in his Commentaries, written during the last two years of his life.
And when you go to visit Pienza, you must be sure to visit also the famous "salumeria" that is called Nannetti e Bernardini. The "porchetta" the roast suckling pig of Nannetti is one of the best. And there are many other food shops to try.
Also the famous "pecorino di Pienza" cheese of the sheep milk.
Also the eels and the sausages!
Pienza township has a very good website with many informations on where to lodge.
Next we will speak about Montichiello.