Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996, in 1459 Pope Pius II began a scheme designed to turn the village of his birth, Corsignano, into Italy’s first model city.
Although he died within two years and only a small part of his plan was realised, the Renaissance architecture of palaces, churches and piazzas is still clearly visible in this smallest of cities.
Combine this with probably the best panoramic views in Tuscany – across the Val d’Orcia; the local pecorino cheese and artisan crafts, numerous cafes and restaurants, and Pienza makes for a fascinating day out and can be combined with a drive through the Val d’Orcia, or a visit to neighbouring Montepulciano.