Pienza: A Pearl of the Renaissance!
The city of Pienza in Italy is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Orcia Valley. Not far from Siena, in the midst of the hilly Tuscan landscape, this UNESCO World Heritage Site enchants above all with its beautiful old town, which is seen as the perfect Renaissance city. During a stroll through the historic center, you will discover countless beautiful attractions, romantic alleys, stop at picturesque squares and experience fantastic views. Excellent restaurants and cozy cafés also ensure a pleasant stay. And not to forget the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings around Pienza which are absolutely worth seeing!
In this travel guide we give you all the important information about Pienza in Italy. We also show you the best things to do, the most beautiful pictures and where you can find the best accommodations.
General information about Pienza
Pienza is a small town in Italy with only about 2,000 inhabitants. Since 1996, the historic city center has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A little later, in 2004, the entire Val d’Orcia around the city was added to the list.
The history of Pienza, which was originally called Corsignano, goes back to the 9th century, when the town was first mentioned in a document. Only much later, in 1459, Pope Pius II had his birthplace Corsignano renamed Pienza. He also ordered a large scale reconstruction to make this place an “ideal city of the Renaissance“. The work was carried out between 1458 and 1462 under the direction of the Florentine architect Bernardo Rossellino. During this period, famous monuments such as the Town Hall, the Palace and the Cathedral were also rebuilt.
Things to see in Pienza
In Pianza there are many interesting things to do. The highlight here is the beautiful historical city center, which captivates with its countless beautiful alleys and many magnificent buildings. Here is a summary of the most beautiful attractions at a glance:
Piazzo Pio II
Piazzo Pio II is uniquely beautiful and forms the center of the historic old town. This picturesque square is home to some of the best attractions of Pienza, such as the beautiful travertine fountain, around which some of the most important buildings in the town are arranged. Above all, the imposing Town Hall with its picturesque tower and the 15th century Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta with its beautiful Renaissance façade, one of the main attractions of Pienza. The interior of the church with its Gothic hall architecture is also worth seeing.
Another important place to visit in Pianza is Palazzo Piccolomini, the former summer residence of Pope Pio II. This building was designed by Bernardo Rossellino in the second half of the 15th century, inspired by the Ruccellai Palace in Florence. The heart of today’s museum is the large loggia with the hanging gardens, wherefrom one can enjoy a breathtaking view over the enchanting landscape.
Tip: Palazzo Piccolomini was the film location for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in 1968.
The Old Town
Another highlight in Pianza are the numerous medieval alleys of the old town. Almost at every corner there is something beautiful to discover during a city walk. The best way to start is along Corso il Rosselino, the main street of the old town, where you also pass the cathedral and the most important monuments. But also the hidden romantic side streets and the enchanting squares offer countless dreamlike photo spots!
Tip: During a stroll through the old town you will pass many fantastic delicatessen stores. In any case you should taste the regional sheep cheese Pecorino. Gourmets recommend dipping the cheese in honey.
Monastery of San Francesco
On Corso Rossellino street, between Porta al Prato and Piazza Pius II, is the former 13th century convent church of San Francesco. The cloister of the monastery is beautiful here, whose corridors are now a public art exhibition. Also interesting is the small church, where you can still see frescoes from the time of its foundation.
Tip: Today, the charming Hotel Relais Il Chiostro Di Pienza is located inside the former monastery. It offers its guests a pool and a panoramic view of the Val d’Orcia!
Panoramic path “Camminata Panoramica
A wonderful panorama and a unique ambience can be enjoyed from the panoramic path of the city wall, the so-called “Camminata Panoramica”. In addition to a fantastic view of the cathedral, you will have a picturesque view over the hilly Tuscan landscape of the Val d’Orcia. This is a really romantic viewpoint, which you should not miss on any trip to Pienza!
Pieve di Corsignano
Another interesting attraction of Pienza is the church Pieve di Corsignano, which is located a little below the city walls. It is one of the most important Romanesque monuments of the region and fascinates above all with its simple but impressive architecture. This church was probably built between the 11th and 12th century.
Tip: The 5-minute walk down to the gladiator viewpoint also starts at this church.
De Cypresses – The Gladiator point
Some scenes of the film Gladiator were shot directly under the city walls of Pienza. You can find one of the most beautiful locations at the so-called “De Cypresses – The Gladiator point”. It is located 600 meters below the church Pieve di Corsignano, next to the dirt road that leads to the Agriturismo A Terrapille. A visit is definitely worthwhile, because this place is absolutely magical and one of the most beautiful spots for brilliant photos in the Pienza region!
Things to do around Pienza
Pienza is a perfect starting point for countless tours and excursions. Situated in the beautiful Val d’Orcia, one of the most beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, it is worth spending several days in Pienza!
An excursion to Bagno Vignoni and its medicinal springs is also highly recommended!
From Pienza you have the possibility to visit the famous city of Siena on a day trip as it is only about 55 kilometers away.
Where to stay in Pienza
Pienza offers its visitors a wide range of fabulous accommodations, both in the old town and close to it. From well-kept wineries, agritourism with swimming pool to apartments and campsites, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the best accommodations in Pienza…It’s worth a look!
- Agriturismo with swimming pool: The Agriturismo Marinello is a beautiful farmhouse in the best position overlooking Pienza. Guests enjoy the unique peace and quiet, the great clean pool and the delicious breakfast.
- Agriturismo in great position: The Agriturismo Il Casalino is a 19th century farmhouse with well-equipped apartments and is situated in a perfect position with a wonderful view.
- Hotel in the center: The hotel Residence San Gregorio is a small, beautiful hotel at the gates of the historical center.
- Pension in the old town: La Bellavita B&B delights with nice rooms and a very nice roof terrace with a fantastic view over the old town of Pienza.
Find the best accommodation in Pienza:
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