Tuscany is surely full of cities to visit, you can spend days in Florence , Siena or Arezzo, but you should also head towards the countryside and you will find picturesque towns like Pienza that will leave you breathless. Pienza this tiny town in the heart of Tuscany is literally the ideal city as in 1462 it was totally rebuilt on the order of Pope Pius II according to renaissance architectural standards.
Pienza is facing the incredible panorama of the Val d’Orcia (Orcia Valley) it was born as Corsignano and it was practically only a castle along the via francigena (ancient pilgrim route) between Siena and Arezzo. After the decision of Pope Pius II to transform it into the ideal renaissance town, the architect Bernardo Rossellino conducted the works and ina few years the Pienza as we actually know it was born. It is know part of the UNESCO World Heritage together with the whole Val d’Orcia. It was meant to be aretreat for the pope when he left Rome. It is the first example of humanist urban planning that was later in other Italian towns.
Its centre is the trapezoid shaped Piazza Pio II with the most significant buildings of the townbuilt around it. You will have tghe chance to visit the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral that is decorated with the masterpieces of renaissance Senese artists. Next to it you willl find the Piccolomini palace with its wonderful garden that looks over the valley. The Palazzo Vescovile was home for the bishop and now it is home for the Museo di Palazzo Borgia.
When leaving the piazza you can take a walk in the Casello district, where Via dell’Amore (the road of love) or Via del Bacio (the road of kiss) will take you to the bastion of the city walls from where you will have a spectacular view on the valley.