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Pienza spreads over the Val d'Orcia valley on a picturesque hill.

The town was founded on the place, where the village of Corsigano had been before. In 1459 the Pope of Rome Pius II, whose civil name was Enea Silvio Piccolomini, ordered to start the construction of “an ideal town” here.

The architect Bernardo Gambarelli, known as Rosselino, started to make the dreams of the Pope come true. Unfortunately, the plans were realized just as long as Pius II was alive. After 1464 the project gradually stopped. However, the part which was built during just a few years, got into the history of culture and art forever.

The humanism conception of the greatness of the human spirit and the belief in the power of mind were reflected in the architecture of Pienza. It was the first to have a strict town layout. This approach became very popular in other Italian cities and also abroad.

As Pienza was the first example of Renaissance urban design, UNESCO announced it a cultural heritage monument in 1996.

The integrity of the project explains the harmony of Pienza architecture. Four buildings, Palazzo Piccolomini, Palazzo Communale, Palazzo Vescoville and the Cathedral form the trapezium-shaped square and make a single complex.

Palazzo Piccolomini used to be the house of Pius II and his family. The location of the palace allowed to have a fascinating view of the Val d'Orcia Valley and Mount Amiata from its southern side.

The Cathedral is the largest building with the most complicated architecture. Its facade is done in the Renaissance style. There is a bell tower to the left from the Cathedral. Its architecture resembles greatly Austrian or German church towers. The decor is remarkable for its altar and for the central arch, decorated with a fine crown of leaves and fruit. The most experienced masters of Siena art school created them.

Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia financed the construction of Palazzo Vescovile, the pontifical palace. Unlike other buildings on the square, Palazzo Vescovile has kept some peculiarities of an old construction, which lays at its base. An additional floor was built, the facade got a new portal, the old windows were changed for Gothic while the palace was being rebuilt. Besides, an inner garden was constructed.

Today the pontifical palace houses a museum, where you can observe religious paintings, sacred objects, local handmade textile of the VII-XVI centuries. The displays are arranged in chronological order. You can't help admiring the collection of the museum.

Palazzo Comunale is one more building facing the square. Its facade is decorated with molding, spacious balconies and a brick tower, constructed a little bit later. This tower is not so high as the bell tower of the Cathedral. The sizes are symbolical, they stress the advantage of the church over civil authorities.

Not only buildings located on the square are of great cultural interest. It's worth drawing your attention to San Francesco Church, for example. It is the only construction that has been preserved from the ancient Corsiliano. Besides, it is one of the oldest Franciscan buildings in Italy. The church was erected in the middle of the eighth century, however its appearance has preserved later transformations. The fronton and the portal of the facade belong to Gothic style. While in the church, have a look at the frescoes, which show the twelve episodes from the life of St Francis Assisi. The frescoes were done by artists of the Siena art school in the middle of the XIV century.

Visiting Pienza is definitely an unforgettable experience.


The Festival of the Thrush in Montalcino 2012
The festival of the thrush or Sagra del Tordo is held in the old Tuscan town of Montalcino on the last October weekend. Thousands of tourists go to Montalcino while the festival. If you want to see the festival of the thrush, you should take care of accommodation in Montalcino in advance. It’s better to come a bit earlier for the festival. On the day of the competition, you will have to leave your car far away in the valley and walk a couple of kilometers up. Don’t forget to ask your landlords to help you buy tickets for the ceremonial dinner and the tournament.
Tuscany: Gastronomic Festivals in October
Towns and villages of Tuscany hold various gastronomic festivals regularly from May to October. These events are dedicated to some product or dish typical for this area. Usually such festivals are organized on days-off. Sometimes they last for a couple of weekends. Fairs are often combined with diverse entertainment program. The October of 2011 offers a number of gastronomic events in Tuscany.
Tarot Garden
The Tarot garden as a work of art is a combination of landscape design, sculpture and architecture. The garden is located on the southern slope of the Garavicchio hill in the Tuscan Maremma, a few kilometers away from the town of Capalbio. The Franko-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle created it.