Placed on a hilltop at 491 m, the ideal Renaissance city draws its name from Pio II who wished for its creation. Enea Silvio Piccolomini became pope with the name of Pio II and he, in fact, decided to transform the native village of Corsignano, ancient fortified village, in a large residence. In 1459 he delegated the plan to the florentine architect Bernardo Gambarelli known as Il Rossellino follower of the great architect and theorist Leon Battista Alberti.
A rare example of urban planning was hence created, centered around the monumental proportions of the main square surrounded by its main buildings: the Cathedral, the Piccolomini Palace, the Bishop’s Palace, the City Hall. The architect also defined the main structure of the city, Corso Rossellino, the road which tied the two gates to Murello an Ciglio in the medieval village, where the imposing residences of the cardinals rapidly rose.
The heart of the “ideal city” is Piazza Pio II. The city still preserves its original style and is one of the most significant architectonic creations of the 14th century classical ideals. The historical center of Pienza has become part of the World Heritage in 1996.