How Pienza city centre started a urban approach used in modern cities
An ideal model of life and government
From the main square, the entire urban tissue developed, with its regular geography aimed at making life easy and harmonious, conceived to maximise the interactions and the happiness of its inhabitants. This eventually came to embody a model of ideal living and government based on the concept of a self-sufficient, peaceful and hardworking population.
The symbol of urban planning
Renaissance brought a new way of seeing the world along: the "Umanesimo", a system that focused on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.
In this context, urban architecture evolved too, and the square became the centre of the urban life. From the square, the entire urban tissue developed, with its regular geography aimed at making life easy and harmonious.
Pienza is one of the first and most symbolic examples of urban planning. It perfectly represents the idea of the Renaissance town, a town built around, and for, its inhabitants. See for example the main square: each side of the square has seats so that people can see each other and spend time together. Here is where parents sit.
Papa Pio II and Bernardo Rossellino
This small town, which counts less than 3000 inhabitants, was strongly sought after by Pope Pio II, who put one of the greatest Renaissance's architects in charge of building this universal prototype of the ideal city. Bernardo Rossellino, student of Leon Battista Alberti, and other architects of the time teamed up with some 20,000 workers to complete the construction, which took just three years, between 1459 and 1462.
The concept of the Ideal City after Pienza
After Pienza, the very idea that a city should reflect some “golden standards”, matching perfectly its territory and time has become a founding principle in the architectural thinking. The quest for efficient, organized and well functioning cities continued through the ages with many great modern and contemporary architects all over the world and through the ages.