Pienza is one of the gems of Tuscany and should on no account be overlooked. Although located near the Val d’Orcia south of Sienna, it is readily accessible as a day trip from Chianti. A beautiful Tuscan garden, the Piccolomini Gardens at Pienza in southern Tuscany, overlooking the Val d’Orcia with Monte Amiata in the background, are equal in beauty to the town itself.
Pope Pius II, the Piccolomini Pope, was a humanist Universal Man who set about creating an ideal humanist city in his hometown, then known as Corsignano and now named Pienza, after its greatest benefactor. Here he built a Renaissance town including the Palazzo Piccolomini, which, like almost all Renaissance villas, aimed to integrate the man-made structure into Nature and the landscape via the medium of a formal garden. From the portico on the rear of the palazzo, there unfolds an extraordinary view of the Val d’Orcia and Monte Amiata. Placed within the foreground of this panorama, on the ground floor level of the palazzo, is a square garden bound by walls and with a well in the centre. These are the Piccolomini Gardens, the first “hanging garden” of the Renaissance, and an italianate garden almost without equal – only the garden of Villa Gamberaia comes near to it in terms of aesthetic value and pleasure.
More about the Piccolomini Gardens.
More about the gardens of Tuscany.
More about Tuscan Villa Gardens.