Siena is a city of brick, where urban development all but ceased after the great plague of the 14th century, busy as it was defending itself. Today, Siena is one of the largest Tuscan cities to maintain a distinctively medieval atmosphere and a great place to discover Tuscany at its medieval best, with numerous gothic palaces, pastry shops, and unequaled altarpieces.
Siena is a city of brick, where urban development all but ceased after the great plague of the 14th century, busy as it was defending itself.
Pisa does not need an introduction, as testified by the millions of tourists offloading each year for their mandatory photo of the Leaning Tower. In the rush of the moment, few bother to find out that Pisa was founded circa 1000 b.c. and became an important maritime republic alongside Venice, Amalfi, and Genoa. Birthplace of the famed Galileo Galilei, Pisa is also home to one of Italy?s top universities. For those choosing to stay longer, there are plenty of architectural splendors around the Tower.
Pisa does not need an introduction, as testified by the millions of tourists offloading each year for their mandatory photo of the Leaning Tower.
Assisi is one of Italy's top sights, competing with the Colosseum, Pompeii, and Venice's canals. It boasts some of Italy's finest early Renaissance art. One of the top attractions is the remarkably preserved portico of a Roman temple on its main square. The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (St Francis) is a World Heritage Site that well worths a visit. The town is dominated by two medieval castles. The larger, called Rocca Maggiore, was built by Cardinal Albornoz (1367).
Assisi is one of Italy's top sights, competing with the Colosseum, Pompeii, and Venice's canals.
Montecatini Terme is heaven for those who love spa treatments! The curative powers of the hot springs and steaming vaporous caverns of the Valdinevole have been renowned for centuries. The Parco dei Termi, a long park of neoclassical temples expanding over the sources of various underground hot springs is the ideal place for relaxation. Here you will find Terme Tettuccio, a historic spa famous for its thermal waters. It`s a lavish Liberty-style building with a park was built in the latter part of the 18th century by Leopold of Hasburg, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He also had two other spas built, the Regina and the Leopoldine, and the three spas made this area famous all over Europe, boasting their obvious riches and royalty. There is also the Grotto of Monsummano, a series of lime caves with a steaming lake and hot rooms that are said to cure people who enter.
But it`s not only spas! Walk the town`s main street of Viale Verdi ; visit the Hamlet of Montecatini Alto with ancient castles, churches and towers upon an enchanting hill; and go to Piazza Giusti, an ancient sanctuary with its original stone flooring and noble coat of arms. There is also the Parlascio, a historic site of public markets and assemblies, the town center`s historic fountains, as well as the Roman Church of Saint Peter with its gorgeous paintings spanning through several historical ages.
Distances: Florence - 31 miles, Pisa - 33 miles, Siena - 74 miles
Montecatini Terme is heaven for those who love spa treatments! The curative powers of the hot springs and steaming vaporous caverns of the Valdinevole have been renowned for centuries.
Lucca is located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the Tuscan coast. Lucca is one of Tuscany´s gems, a haven of religious buildings, interesting history and fabulous places to eat. Of Etruscan origin (founded in 180 BC), it belonged to the Romans and then proclaimed itself independent and stayed so for 5 centuries.
Lucca is famous for its Renaissance city walls that have remained intact while so many other Tuscan towns saw theirs destroyed in past centuries as they lost their military importance and became a pedestrian promenade circling the old town. It is the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini. If you are interested in religious art, enter the 14th-century cathedral Duomo San Martino to see Nicola Pisano's Descent from the Cross or have a look at the multi-patterned columns at "San Michele", the church of the archangel. At the Doumo, visit the Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, a moving sculpture by Jacopo della Quercia commemorating a young woman who died in childbirth. And be sure to take some time to enjoy Lucca's tranquil atmosphere and its many fine restaurants.
Nearby: Visit San Galgano, Terme di Petriolo, Bagni di Lucca Distances: Florence - 48 miles, Pisa - 11 miles , Siena - 89 miles
Lucca is located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the Tuscan coast.
Perugia is the capital city of Umbria, central Italy, claiming to be one of the most cosmopolitan medieval cities in the world. It hosts numerous Gothic palaces and jazz cafes, as well as some one of Italy's largest state universities. It is also the place to learn Italian and Italian customs, as it is home to Universita per Stranieri, the country's most prestigious of its kind. Perugina, a fine Italian chocolatier, is based here, and this is also a place to enjoy a famous European jazz festival in the summer.
Perugia is the capital city of Umbria, central Italy, claiming to be one of the most cosmopolitan medieval cities in the world.
Situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tufa, Orvieto is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy's region named Umbria. The site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of tufa cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone. The main attraction of the town is the spectacular Duomo, one of Italy's finest Gothic buildings dating from 1290. Its glittering mosaic facade is visible for miles around.
Situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tufa, Orvieto is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy's region named Umbria.
San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the Tuscany, known as the `City of Beautiful Towers`, which has preserved its medieval appearance more completely than any other town in Tuscany. It stands on the site of a small Etruscan settlement dating to second BC. Its history begins around the Tenth Century. Truly a little gem, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Walking through the Old City means plunging into the Middle Ages and getting a taste of what the city must have been like more than seven hundred years ago.
The Old City is enclosed with 13th-century walls and is accessed by two main streets that intersect to create two wonderful piazzas. It is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form `an unforgettable skyline`. Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The town also is known for the white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area. San Gimignano is also famous for its Torture museum, with a display of instruments and devices for torture in various times and places.
Nearby: Visit Colle val d` Elsa, Casole d` Elsa, the Chianti area Distances: Siena - 29 miles, Florence - 32 Miles, Arezzo - 74 miles
San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the Tuscany, known as the `City of Beautiful Towers`, which has preserved its medieval appearance more completely than any other town in Tuscany.
Spoleto is located in the region of Umbria, Perugia province and hosts numerous Roman ruins and medieval buildings terraced from the valley up on the hill. Among the sites worth visiting are the Roman theather, the Roman amphiteater, Ponte del Torri, a 13th century aqueduct possibly built on a Roman foundation, the Duomo, and many other palazzi, churches, and other ancient structures.
Spoleto is located in the region of Umbria, Perugia province and hosts numerous Roman ruins and medieval buildings terraced from the valley up on the hill.
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is one of Italy`s most atmospheric and pleasant, retaining a strong resemblance to the small late-medieval center that contributed so much to the cultural and political development of Europe. Art treasures Michelangelo`s David Botticelli`s Birth of Venus, and Raphael's La Velata draw millions of visitors every year. Throw into the mix fabulous architecture (the Duomo with Brunelleschi's dome, Giotto's campanile, Santa Croce), fine restaurants and earthy trattorie, plus leading designer boutiques and bustling outdoor markets, and the city of the Renaissance becomes quite simply one of the world`s must-see sights.
Recommended Stay: At least 2 nights Must See`s: The Duomo Complex, Church of Santa Croce, The Cathedral, The Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell`Accademia, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and so much more!
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is one of Italy`s most atmospheric and pleasant, retaining a strong resemblance to the small late-medieval center that contributed so much to the cultural and political development of Europe.
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