First, the photos are of the 2012 'Cortili aperti' in the lovely quattrocento cortile of the private Palazzo Ammannati.
Second, the anecdote. The group of friends who collaborate to achieve 'Cortili aperti' every year have adopted the collective name and motto 'Non Sine Iocunditate', a Latin phrase. Why, and what does it mean?
The phrase comes from the famous memoirs or Commentaries of Pope Pius II, the renaissance humanist Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini who rebuilt Pienza as an architectural jewel. The pope writes of watching in 1462 the games and races celebrating the new town on the 'festa' of Saint Matthew, a town patron. After describing the races with some gusto, with amusing anecdotes, he concludes: (in the words of the Gragg translation*): 'The Pope watched these contests from a very high window with a good deal of pleasure though while they were going on he was consulting with the cardinals on public business'. 'Non sine iocunditate': literally, not without pleasure or good cheer.
Ironically, when the Pope's Commentaries were first published and printed in Counter-Reformation (Catholic Reformation) times of the later sixteenth century, it was deemed unseemly, even damaging to the reputation of the Church, for a pope to recount such amusing anecdotes and actually to express enjoyment over these doings. So the anecdotes and the unworthy expression of enjoyment, 'non sine iocunditate', were censored (along with many other passages, phrases, individual words).
Francesco explains that the phrase seemed to express well the purely personal effort and pleasure motivating him and his evolving group of friends, volunteers all, so the phrase has been adopted as their collective name. And, of course, because it is associated -- amusingly, I would add -- with Pope Pius II himself, Pienza's founder and builder.
* Memoirs of a Renaissance Pope: The Commentaries of Pius II, translated by F.A.Gragg in an abridgement edited by L.C.Gabel (1959; Capricorn edition 1962, pp.