So much to see, do and taste: sample pecorino cheeses in Castello di Corsignano
, and taste wine in the picturesque hill town of Montalcino; peruse treasures of Florentine art on an expertly guided stroll through the center of Florence, followed by a cooking class employing fresh regional products; travel to lovely Lucca for a walking tour to the San Martino Cathedral, the Roman amphitheater and more before visiting a family pasta factory, savoring a Tuscan farmhouse lunch, and viewing the famous Leaning Tour of Pisa.
Although Pienza was given new life through the irresistible will of its papal patron, its aesthetic rebirth as a demonstration of Renaissance taste did not signal the total demise of the medieval town of Corsignano that it replaced.
In February 1459, when Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini returned to his birthplace of Corsignano as the newly-elected Pope Pius II, he found its medieval buildings, like their inhabitants, "bowed down with old age." (3) During the next five years, Pius devoted much energy and a significant portion of the papal treasury to revitalizing his native town which he caused to be renamed in June 1462, as a memorial to himself, Pienza.
The metamorphosis of medieval Corsignano into Renaissance Pienza represented a multi-level endeavor which, although likely left unfinished at the death of its patron, did forever alter the structural and environmental fabric of the Tuscan hill town (Fig.