• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Historic Centre of the City of Pienza

  • Historical Function

    Papal residence (summer court).

Location and site

In Tuscany, about 50 km southwest of Siena, Pienza is at the top of a hill that overlooks the Orcia and Asso Valleys. It is surrounded by farmland.

Urban Morphology

The surrounding wall that was restored in the fifteenth century still stands, largely intact. The high street, le Corso Rossellino, crosses Pienza from east to west and links the two main town gates. On either side of this street the rectilinear street plan, following the ancient layout, creates an irregular grid. The shape of the Piazza Pio II is an irregular trapezoid, and it consitututes the urban centre and focal point of the town. At groundlevel, the herringbone pattern of the cobblestones accentuates the square’s unique shape.

The Piazza Pio II is also the artistic heart of the town. The square is lined with impressive structures: the cathedral, the Piccolomini Palace, City Hall and the Episcopal Palace are all Renaissance masterpieces. The use of travertine stone unites them, even though some Gothic elements were introduced according to Pius II’s tastes. The palaces are mostly to be found along the Corso Rossellini. Fountains and wells, all in Renaissance style, add to Pienza’s ambiance.

Registration Criteria

i, ii and iii to be completed.

Historical Reference

  • The little town of Pienza was built over the medieval village of Corsignano on the inititative of one of its residents, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was later promoted to pontifical status under the name Pius II (1458-1464). Pius II wanted both to improve living conditions for the town’s residents and make it his summer palace; in addition the town had to reflect the Pope’s family fortune.
  • The urban concept was assigned to Rossellino (1409-1464), an architect who had embraced the ideas of the famous Renaissance humanist and architect Alberti; both men were originally from Florence.
  • The streetplan was developed according to Renaissance principles, but at the same time respected the former town structure. The large buildings erected around the Piazza Pio II had to match the layout of the square. Palaces for the cardinals and prelates were built, along with houses and shops, a hospital and an inn.
  • Rossellino’s urban and architectural plans for Pienza were carried out between 1460 and 1463. Since Puis II’s death, neither the town nor surrounding countryside have been significantly altered.
Mr. Fabrizio Fè
Comune di Pienza - 53023
Corso II Rossellino N° 61
53026 Pienza, Provincia di Siena, Italia
+39.578 74.85.13
+39.578 74.83.61