Pius II’s dream
Renaissance itinerary in the “perfect town”
In February 1459, Pope Pius II Piccolomini stopped in his native town of Corsignano on his way to Mantua. It was during this pit-stop that he in fact thought up and started the project that would eventually, and for the first time, put into practice Renaissance town planning concepts, transforming his birth town into an example of Italian Renaissance. Three years later, in 1462, with the construction or renovation of around public and private buildings the project was concluded: resulting in the new town that was given the name Pienza. The project was commissioned to architect Rossellino. Our itinerary runs along the high street – named after the architect himself and built to link the two main gates of the medieval walls. The new vision of urban space was established in the splendid trapezoidal square, known as Piazza Pio II. Important new buildings were built around the square: the Cathedral, Palazzo Piccolomini, Palazzo Borgia (or Palazzo Vescovile), the Town Hall and the new buildings for cardinals accompanying the Pope, as well as 12 new social housing buildings near the wall and the Giglio Gate. In 1996, Pienza was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status “representing the first application of the humanist and Renaissance concept of urban planning and as such plays a significant role in the evolution of subsequent urban development in Italy and abroad”.