Pienza Tourist Information

What to see and do in Pienza in the Val d'Orcia - a visitors' guide



Piccolomini Gardens

Pope Pius II



Pienza in Tuscany, Italy owes its beauty and fame to Enea Silvio Piccolomini born in Corsignano on 18 October 1405 and elevated to Pope in 1458 taking the name Pius II. During the course of his Papacy, he changed the ancient Castello di Corsignano (first mentioned in 828) into a Papal residence in the Renaissance style, planned and constructed under the supervision of Bernardo Gambarelli called il Rossellino, a student of Leon Battista Alberti, and renamed it Pienza ("Pius") - read more of the astounding life of this Renaissance Man.

The Pienza Tourist Information Office is located at Piazza Dante Alighieri, 18, 53026 Pienza SI, Italy.

Pienza piazza

The principal piazza of Pienza - Piazza Pio

Vacation in Pienza and the Val d'Orcia

Val d'Orcia hotels

Do you prefer the security of booking your vacation rental accommodations via a highly reputable agency? Click here for a selection of the best hotels and rural vacation accommodations in the Val d'Orcia of Tuscany.

Pienza is a rare example of Renaissance town design. Often described as the "ideal city" or the "utopian city", it represents one of the best planned of Renaissance towns, where a model of ideal living and government was attempted, based on the concept of a town able to satisfy the needs of a peaceful and hardworking populace. It represented the so-called utopia of the "civitas" cherished by utopian thinkers for centuries. Pienza's location in the centre of the Val d'Orcia, a wonderful and untouched valley, helps the town to embody the fundamental principle that humanistic architecture attempted to encorporate - the balanced relationship between Man and Nature.

Nowadays, Pienza is part of a territorial system called "Parco artistico, naturale e culturale della Val d'Orcia", which aims at preservation of the extraordinary artistic heritage of the five municipalities which constitute it: Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino, San Quirico d'Orcia, Radicofani and Pienza.

The centre of Pienza was completely redesigned by Pope Pius II in Renaissance times. He planned to transform his birthplace into a model Renaissance town. The architect Bernardo Rossellino was commissioned to build a Duomo, papal palace and town hall, and the construction was completed in three years.

Pieve di Corsignano

Via delle Fonti. Open by appointment.

Pope Pius II was baptised in this 11 C Romanesque parish church on the outskirts of Pienza. It has an unusual round tower and a doorway decorated with flower mythological motifs. A crib is sculptured on the architrave of the side doorway.

Pieve di Corsignano, Pienza

Duomo of Pienza

Piazza Pio II - Open daily

The Duomo was built by the architect Rossellino (1459) and is now suffering from serious subsidence at its eastern end. There were cracks in the walls and floor of the nave, but the splendid classical proportions are remained intact. It is flooded with light from the vast stained glass windows ordered by Pius II. He wanted a domus vitrea (literally "a house of glass"), which would symbolize the spirit of intellectual enlightenment of the Humanist age.

Iris Origo

For insight into the history and character of Italy and the Italian people during both Renaissance times and the 20th century, we strongly recommend the extremely readable books of Iris Origo.

Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza

Piazza Pio II - Open Tuesday - Sunday

The palazzo is next door to the Duomo and was home to Pius II's descendants until 1968. Rossellino's design for the building was influenced by Leon Battista Alberti's Palazzo Rucellai in Florence. The apartments open to the public include Pius II's bedroom and library. 

Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza Palazzo Piccolomini courtyard

Palazzo Piccolomini fašade

Palazzo Piccolomini courtyard

Palazzo Piccolomini bookstand

Piccolomini Gardens at Pienza

At the rear of the palazzo there is an ornate arcaded courtyard and a triple-tiered loggia looking out on the small but beautiful garden. From here there are spectacular views across to the wooded slopes of the Monte Amiata.

Piccolomini Gardens, Pienza

More about the gardens of the Palazzo Piccolomini

Di pi¨ sul giardino del Palazzo Piccolomini

Vacation in Tuscany

Holiday home in Tuscany

For your vacation rental in Chianti - stay at a winery or a country self-catering holiday apartment - it costs less than a hotel and is infinitely better fun. Check our Greve in Chianti agriturismo web site for everything you need to know about visiting Chianti.

aerial view of pienza

Aerial view of Pienza

The Renaissance architecture of Papal Pienza itself is well-know and worth a whole day to visit. Less well known are several interesting castles in the vicinity of Pienza. These are wonderful for excursions on a sunny day.

Castello di Spedaletto near Pienza

Castello di Spedaletto near Pienza

The ancient Castle of Spedaletto rises in the Valdorcia along the road from Bagno Vignoni near San Quirico to Pienza.

View out over the Val d'Orcia from Pienza.

View out over the Val d'Orcia from Pienza.

View along the wall of Pienza

View along the wall of Pienza

Vacation in Chianti, Tuscany.

Need a place to stay in Chianti? A rural B&B, a country self-catering vacation apartment, or a magnificent Tuscan villa.

Tuscan vacation rentals

Visit our Greve in Chianti accommodations web site for everything you need to know about visiting Chianti. Click here.





Piccolomini Gardens

Pope Pius II


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