Pienza is the town where Enea Piccolomini was born in 1405. Enea, a scholar and intellectual, just one year after his appointment as Pope as Pius II, began to fulfil his grandiose project to build an ideal city for man. Palazzo Piccolomini, designed by Bernardo Rossellino, drew inspiration from Palazzo Rucellai in Florence and blends in harmoniously with the measurements of Piazza Pio II, where it stands.
It is a square-plan building with three floors, the upper two of which feature mullioned windows punctuated by narrow columns. The large door opens onto a square courtyard, surrounded by a portico designed to provide shelter from the excessive heat and cold and create a balanced climate throughout the building. Every single element is finished with care for detail, giving it harmony and functionality. The first floor of the building is used as a museum: the Sala degli Antenati (Ancestors' Room) contains a portrait of Pope Piccolomini, the bedroom of Pius II dating back to the end of the 16th century and a wonderful library in which there are incunables, rare books, edicts and documents from the 15th century.