Let’s say you are the Pope. You’re from a small, Medieval village in Tuscany that really isn’t on the map and you want to do something really great for your hometown. In fact, you want to make it an important rest stop on a famous road that leads from Rome to Bologna and points north, or to Rome and Naples and points south. What would you do?
Would you create an “ideal city” and make sure it gets notoriety?
That’s exactly what Pope Pius II did.
Born Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini, (18 October 1405 – 14 August 1464), he became the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 19 August 1458 until his death. During his 6 year reign, he transformed his hometown into a marvelous Renaissance borgo.
You enter the city through this gate:
The picture above tells us that Pienza was destroyed on 15 June 1944 and restored by October 1955. If walls could talk.
Here is the cathedral Pope Pius II built.