PIENZA, THE CITY OF UTOPIA
The Pienza project is closely related to the name of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, the future Pope Pius II, son of the noble Sienese family, whom adverse political events obliged to stay in Corsignano.
It was 1405 when Enea saw the light there. The ancient village, recalled by Dante and Boccaccio, was to maintain its medieval appearance for only a few nore decades. After periods of study and journeys to Italian and foreign cities, the future Pope contracted the most famous thinkers of the time, becoming on of the major exponents of the philosophic doctrine and not only this.
A collaborator of Cardinal Capranica, secretary of the Antipope Felice V and father of two chiledren who subsequently died, Enea then took vows as a priest. It was 1445. Three years later he was to be elected to the papacy with the name of Pius II and with his native village in his heart. The day after his election, he decided to confer on Corsignano a high city office, designating it as the summer seat of the Papal court.
The assignment of this transformation, ransom for the past grandeur of the family and the materialisation of the dream of an ideal city, was entrusted to Rossellino, formerly master builder for the construction of the Duomo in Florence and a pupil of the humanist architect Leon Battista Alberti.
The dream became a reality in only five years, and the city of Pius, i.e. Pienza, was also equipped with twelve houses for the population, according to a concept that was completely revolutionary for the time.
As the fruit of the humanistic thought theorised by the Florentine neoplatonists, the city incarnated the ideal of Renaissance perfection, thanks to the harmony of space, light and volumes. It was a utopia that was only partially realised. However, due to the Pontiff's premature death.
The Pienza project is still the source of research and study.
The architect Jan Pieper recently revealed new relations and proportions between the buildings, succeeding in identifying also the individual function of a meridian performed by the Cathedral and the square.