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Pienza: Relics, Ritual and Architecture in the City of a Renaissance Pope

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines that the architectural heritage is but the material vestige of Pope Pius II's whole conception. As well as a memorial for posterity, the buildings and streets of Pienza - indeed the surrounding countryside too - provided the scenographic setting for the ultimate foundational act, the performance of religious ritual in time and space, lifted onto a cosmographical plane by the endowment of a sacred relic on the occasion of a holy feast day falling at the autumnal equinox. It addresses Pius's choice of the feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist for the dedication date and considers the impact on the city of Pius's donation of the mandible of the apostle Andrew. The analysis that follows is grounded in the premise that Pius thought in terms of movement through space, whether through the interior of a building, through urban landscape or from region to region.

Keywords:Pienza; Pope Pius II



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