Neighbourhoods, streets and squares

Piazza Pio II in Pienza

A noteworthy square in the heart of Pienza

The piazza is dedicated to one of the most important Renaissance figures from the city of Piena, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II. In 1462, he commissioned architect Bernardo Rossellino to transform the medieval hamlet, the hometown of Corsignano. Thus, the piazza gained its characteristic trapezoidal shape and fish-spine brick floor. Today it’s considered one of the finest examples of urban Renaissance ideals. The square’s surrounding architecture was created by Bernardo Rossellino between 1459 and 1462.

The Cathedral of the Assunta was built on top of the ancient country Church of Santa Maria. Its structure recalls gothic Franciscan churches and the stained glass windows in the apse are particularly luminous. These recall ‘the Hallenkirchen’, which probably influenced the taste of Pope Pius II during his numerous trips to German territories. On the façade’s gables, you’ll find the Piccolomini coat of arms, surrounded by fruit garlands. The bell tower was restructured in 1570 following a violent earthquake in 1545. The three-nave interior is linked to the Gothic style. The church boasts interesting paintings like the ‘Assumption’ by Il Vecchietta

Next to the cathedral, you’ll find Palazzo Piccolomini, inspired by Florence’s Palazzo Rucellai. Its first floor hosts the Artistic Museum. On the left, there’s Palazzo Borgia, which Pope Pius gave to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, the future Pope Alexander VI. Today, it is home to the Diocese Museum. In the piazza, you’ll also enjoy viewing the Municipal Palace, which currently hosts the city’s administrative offices. Inside the building, characterized by its low clock-tower, you’ll find its Council Room, graced with a fifteenth century fresco by the Sienese school. It depicts the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child with Pienza’s Patrons: Saint Vito, Saint Modesto and Saint Matthew.
a superb example of Renaissance architecture, built upon request by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Pope Pio II from 1458
The year following his papal nomination, he hired the architect Bernardo Rossellino to transform his obscure village into a city. Piazza Pio II opens up in the centre of the little town and is the hub of Pienza’s urban structure. The little Renaissance square was studied to welcome the urban constructions being built at the time, and in fact all of the main monuments of the town face onto it. ...
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