Pienza: A bit of history

Pienza, the little town where Cicloposse is located, has nowadays become very famous, not only in Italy.

The reasons are multiple: pecorino cheese, the fact that it is one of the towns inside Orcia valley and also for being itself a turning point for history of architecture, because it can be also called “the ideal city of Renaissance age”.
This little hilly town – less than 2000 inhabitants – is twice Unesco site: for the historic center and for being part of Parco val d’Orcia.

First of all, we should talk about the name itself.
Pienza is a name coming from the name of pope Pius II. In fact during the fifteenth century, he decided to rebuild his hometown to give shine to this little village. To understand this properly we have to go two hundred years back.

Pope Pius II name was Enea Silvio Piccolomini.
His family, Picccolomini’s family, was originally from Siena but during the thirteenth century they were exiled from the city because they were in the part that lost the civil war that divided many towns in the center of italy, between those supporting  the pope and those supporting the emperor, obviously Piccolimini’s family supported the pope.
So they had to go away from the city and they came to Orcia Valley, in particular they settled in Radicofani, one of the others little towns located in today’s Unesco site of Val d’ Orcia.

So, during these two centuries, Piccolimini’s family members became more and more powerful and rich in the area, using  legal and illegal ways to do it.

What is certain is that oncet Enea became pope Pius II he decided to build an ideal city, helped by the architect Rossellino, and transformed the village of Corsignano (there still exists the Pieve di Corsignano, it is the old Church of the ancient village) making a lot of  debts, forcing the rich and nobles to settle in the town, and to build palaces, such as the Borgia family.

But for sure, as a result, he achieved his goal: Pienza is still  admired for its architecture and Piccolomini’s family name will be remembered,  until the town stays there!

If you come to Pienza for one of our bike tour a Must-to-See is  undoubtedly Palazzo Piccolomini 
Very interesting guided visit of secret rooms and an amazing garden.

Tommaso T. Febraury 2020