Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

Val D\'Orcia

26 In 1405 Enea Silvio was born of the noble Piccolomini family in the medieval fortified village of Corsignano. His family, which had long played an active political and economic role in Siena, had been forced to take exile in Val d’Orcia in the mid-1300s. Young Enea soon proved to be bright, curious and an avid traveller.He quickly found his way into the humanistical circles in numerous Italian cities, including Siena, Florence, Padua, Ferrara and Milan. He then explored Europe’s foremost intellectual fora: the Council of Basel, the Imperial court and the Roman court. A true Renaissance man, he became an expert in classical and legal matters, studied literature, wrote poetry, was a respected diplomat and an exquisite speaker. At forty, having already enjoyed an intense and exciting life, he undertook a brilliant ecclesiastical career and was soon appointed bishop of Trieste, then of Siena, then cardinal, and finally pope in 1458, when he assumed the name Pius II. The new pope was an adamant admirer of natural beauty and vestiges of antiquity. He sought to discover new, ideal ways to recover the knowledge lost since antiquity. The humanistic ideal of reviving classical culture and creating a new harmony between nature and history seemed within reach. Pius II always remained enamored of his childhood home, of the wide-open spaces in Val d’Orcia and Monte Amiata, which he rendered so poetically in his “Commentarii”. He decided that Corsignano should serve as a laboratory where the ideal city might become a reality. Thus, thanks to “the fondness in his heart and his dream of perfection” (as described by the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli) Pienza was born as Pope Pius’ ideal city. It was the outcome of the Pope’s dream, Leon Battista Alberti’s theories and the plan drawn up by Rossellino during just over three years, from 1459 to 1462. Pope Pius II and his ideal City Carlo Prezzolini Pienza, Piazza Pio II VALDORCIA_INT_ING 30-07-2009 18:48 Pagina 26

Pages Overview