As a frequent visitor to La Collina del Sole we have been fortunate enough to visit many Italian Palazzos and Villas in the area of Villa rentals in Tuscany and Palazzo Piccolomini which is in Pienza a 2 ½ hours’ drive from our Lucca Villa Rental is a star among them all. It is Welcoming and cool, a hallmark of Italian Villa architecture which you would expect to see in all Villas for rent in Tuscany It is full of one of a kind treasures, a real treat to visit when you Rent a villa in Tuscany it is grand yet sober and unassuming and so we consider it a star attraction when you are in Holiday Villas in Lucca Palazzo Piccolomini was donated to the state by the last in line of the Piccolomini family, along with many of the family treasures, this family provided two Popes, Pius II who was born in the Palazzo and his nephew Pius III The Palazzo itself is marvellously simple and sober, most of the rooms are lightly decorated with a few very special items, like a small drawer cabinet decorated in Agate fronted panels that look like landscape from 1 metre away but in fact are the result of salt deposits on the stone, which has been cut in slivers. There are only 2 other such items of antique furniture in the world. There is a fresco painting of the family tree on a very large and impressive wall that depicted the family up to the 1800’s, and off the main reception room is a small alcove that was for the Duchess of Piccolomini, situated beside the fireplace, the alcove has decorated walls and a sitting area in plush red velvet with small portraits of the family and with a window, this is where the Duchess would retire to read as the Palazzo was very cold in the winter and this was the only way to keep warm while reading a favourite book.
At the entrance room there is a table called the “Arms rest” where all weapons aka arms would be placed upon as you came into the Palazzo, you can also admire family portraits, beautiful gold and silver inlay leather wallpaper given as a wedding gift by Catherine of Aragon, collections of arms and armour hanging on walls. The Pallazo houses the bedroom of Pius II with a portrait of him on the wall painted while he was alive, a very elaborate baroque bed which dates from a later time, and 3 items of furniture that belonged to Pope Pius II, one a 4 sided revolving bookstand, a short drawer armadio and a receiving chair with a very high back which also served as a commode [ talk about multitasking ! ] there were in another room many books some of them dating back to XIII and a few star gazing apparatus and treatises. The Palazzo has a terrace on the 1st floor with a commanding view of the Val D’Orcia declared a world heritage site and protected by UNESCO, and a simple garden, with Roses walled in by a box hedge. All had a wonderfully sober and uncomplicated feel. The Palazzo had been saved from looting during WWII as the German Commanding officer upon taking control of Pienza and the surrounding countryside during WWII issued a protective order for the Palazzo and its contents, the document can still be seen framed on the walls. On the way out and throughout the Palazzo you can spot the coat of arms of the family - a cross with 4 crescent moons which signifies the 4th crusade to which this family went to.