Pienza travel guide
Tourist information: The address of the Pienza Tourist Office (Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche) is Corso il Rossellino, 30 – Pienza (tel. +39 0578 749905). From 15 March to 5 November, it is open every day (except Tuesdays) from 10:30 to 13:30pm and from 14:30pm to 18:pm. The rest of the year it is open only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 4pm. The town’s ZIP code is 53026. The area code is 0578.
Public transport: There is no railway station in the town itself. The nearest stations are those of Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and Siena. There are buses to the town from both Chiusi (L.F.I.) and Siena (Tra.In).
Town hall: Corso Rossellino, 61 – 53026 Pienza. Phone: +39 0578 748502.
When Mr. Piccolomini became Pope Pius II around the middle of the 15th century, he had his hometown Corvignano reconstructed by the architect Bernardo Rossellino into what was meant to be the perfect Renaissance town. The result has remained intact over the centuries and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A brief history of Pienza
The city’s history is inextricably linked to that of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was born there in 1405 and later became Pope.
Before Pienza was renamed Pienza in the year 1462, it was a small town called Corsignano. The new name was derived from Pius II, who was elected Pope in 1458.
On his way to Mantua, when the Pope decided to briefly visit his native village, he was struck by the decay and poverty of his birth town. At this, he commissioned the architect Bernardo Rossellino to reconstruct the town from scratch, on top of the old village.
After the Pope’s death, no one ever had any interest in developing the town further. Consequently, Pienza still looks more or less as it did in the 15th century.
Since 1996, Pienza has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
How to get to Pienza by car
By car from Rome: Take the A1 northbound to the Chiusi/Chianciano Terme exit and then the SS146.
From Florence: Take the A1 southbound. Look for the Valdichiana/Bettolle exit, continue until Torrita di Siena – Pienza and then follow the directions to the town itself.
From Siena: Follow the Via Cassia (SS2) to San Quirico d’Orcia, from where you continue on the SS146.