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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art


Italian city in Tuscany, 50 km south of Siena. The small hamlet of Corsignano (birthplace of Pius II) was transformed into the beautiful city of Pienza during one of the most intense periods of urban renewal in Renaissance Italy. The newly elected Pope made a return visit there in February 1459 and found it peopled by individuals who were ‘bowed down by old age and illness’. He determined to ‘build there a new church and a palace . . . to leave as lasting as possible a memorial of his birth’. In June 1462 Pius requested the senate in Rome to rename the town Pienza (a name deriving from his own) and to raise it to the level of a city state. During the mid-15th century the town was officially in the possession of the Sienese, but with its elevation and change of name it effectively came under the rule of Rome.

Anabel Thomas