Tour of the Sienese
Through the gentle hills of Siena
- Spoken language:
Schengen Area: ID card or passport
Extra U.E.:short stays (3 months) passport valid at least three months after the departing date and if need be visa
- Power and Sockets:
- 230 V / 50 Hz - F Type Plug (Schuko) and L Type Plug
One of the most famous and fascinating centers of the Val d’Orcia, Pienza is an oasis of quiet where the traditions of the past are kept intact, a cluster of houses, streets, bell towers and chimneys nestled in a silent countryside made of sinuous cypress trees that rustle in the wind, sunflowers and old olive trees. The city owes its name and its urban structure to Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became famous as Pius II.
Known in the early Middle Ages with the name of Corsignano, Pienza was a Sienese stronghold famous for having been mentioned in a novel by Giovanni Boccaccio. According to some historians, its name derives from “Corsinianus”, one of the soldiers of Silla between which the territory of Chiusino was divided, while others trace the Piccolomini back to a Bacco piccolomo, a small ally of Porsenna in the war against ancient Rome. Much of its most beautiful architecture was built by Pope Pius II between 1459 and 1462, who called to work in Pienza one of the most famous architects of the time, Bernardo Rossellino, making the ancient village one of the most spectacular and successful examples of rational urban planning typical of the Renaissance.
Behind its modest size and timid and discreet appearance, Pienza hides a blaze of architectural, artistic and cultural wonders, which in 1996 earned the UNESCO World Heritage title. The streets and buildings of the center are all around the main square, dedicated to the famous pontiff. Around the square, evocative and elegant, the most important buildings of the city are arranged, the Cathedral, which stands out from the other buildings, but also the Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Borgia and Palazzo Piccolomini. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the most significant monuments of the Renaissance. Some details, such as the double-sloping roof and the central eye of the façade, recall the Franciscan Gothic churches, but the complex is typically Renaissance and unveils the influence exerted by Leon Battista Alberti, considered together with the Pope the true inspirer of the city.
All the city center is a treasure chest full of suggestive views and ancient details, which bring the visitor back to a lost era, made of authentic flavors. The cobblestones of the little squares and roads lead on a fascinating journey, to the discovery of a genuine town where you can still see the lines laden with neat laundry on the heads of passers-by, and pots of flowers on the windowsills and on the steps. As for the flavors, Pienza can be considered fully the capital of the pecorino cheese. It is no coincidence that every first Sunday in September there is a real Cheese Fair in the city, with delicious tastings and the game of melted cheese, an ancient country custom. Do not miss the market of organic and traditional products, held at the beginning of January.
Official website of the city
For general information visit the site:
Tourist Information Office
Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche di Pienza
Corso il Rossellino, 30 – Pienza
Tel. e Fax +39 0578 749905
Fire Department 115
Healthcare Emergency 118
Travel Informed (CCISS) 1518
The climate of Pienza and Val d’Orcia in general has continental features, more accentuated in the valleys due to the frequent phenomenon of thermal inversion. Summers are moderately warm and dry, while winters are rather harsh. Precipitations, rather irregular, are quite contained thanks to the location of the area under wind with respect to Mount Amiata, which blocks or attenuates the damp south-western winds. Pienza has so much to offer in every season of the year: springs with delicate colors, warm and bright summers, red and gold autumns and cold and melancholic winters. One of the best months to visit it could be June, when all the Val d’Orcia is covered by the gold of the wheat and myriads of fireflies in the evening dance on the fields.
San Quirico d’Orcia Km. 10
Castiglione d’Orcia Km. 13
Montepulciano Km. 14
Chianciano Terme Km. 22
Sinalunga Km. 23
Montalcino Km. 24
Siena Km. 70
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