Tuscany is an enchanting mystical land blending the appeal of stunning landscapes, charming people and glorious cuisine all blessed by the creative mix of art, man and nature. We can imagine the cypress lined vineyards: the rows upon endless rows of vines which sculpt the gently rolling hillsides. Tuscany is rich in an ancient way. Tuscany is full of life and boundless energy today. Tuscany is mysterious and elusive with those castles emerging out of the mists and Tuscany can be as distinctly clear as the Medici emblems are to Florentine majesty and Modern Florence’s ever-living stamp on the Western world. The Tuscan renaissance once rocked the world and the Tuscany of today thrives as one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Tuscany created the renaissance and thus gave birth to the modern world. Tuscan wine, the famed Tuscan Reds (Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti, Morellino di Scansano and others) are now welcomed globally. So Tuscany keeps on exporting! And Tuscany keeps on importing. What? Tourists and non-Tuscans. People coming to Tuscany for business, coming to Tuscany for tourism, coming to Tuscany for inspiration, coming to Tuscany for Love or, better yet, coming to Tuscany to buy a villa or hill-top farmhouse. Tuscany is filled with farmhouses and, most of these classic Tuscan stone architectural icons are fully operating organic farms producing not only wine but the spectacular olive oil that Tuscany is known for. So, yes – Tuscany lives on and Tuscany continues to enchant us today because it offers both elegance and simplicity – something all of our modern stressed out lives crave and need more and more each day. Tuscany offers tranquility and peace. Tuscany is a place of dreams and rejuvenation. Tuscany means ‘plant a seed and it will grow’ and the Tuscan harvest is always bountiful, flavor-full and punctuated by countless food festivals known as sagras. Tuscany is a place where romance is born, courtship is an art and Americans by a dream house under the Tuscan sun. Tuscan Way brings you all this with firsthand cultural immersion.
Tuscan Way’s tours show you the real Tuscany, the lesser known (off-the beaten track) Tuscany, and introduce you to the Tuscan locals who will show you their Tuscany with all the joy of their hearts.
Our trips and tours to Tuscany will help you find your way through its many celebrated attractions. And variety is the key to Tuscany’s warm heart. Tuscany offers us so much in a manageable spoonful. Tuscan Way puts together the finest most personality and fun filled packages possible.
We walk the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci, show you Michelangelo’s masterpieces and let you hand select the finest locally grown organic ingredients at local food markets for our cooking courses. Tuscany deserves this sort of attention to detail for Tuscany is the combination of all the elements we can imagine which define beauty. Italy’s miracle that is Tuscany, the Tuscan miracle, is an enigma and exemplar of pure village life tradition… so come and experience Tuscany as it should be experienced – the real Tuscany! The Tuscan Way.
TOURING TUSCANY – THE LAND OF “La Cucina Povera Toscana”
Tuscany is located in central Italy where the varied and hilly landscape creates many micro-climates where wine production thrives. This variety in topography and climate results in a wide array of spectacular wines. In addition, Tuscany is known for its rich history, art, beautiful estates, delicious food, and superb vintage. Tuscany is also home to many scenic hill towns. Tuscany’s traditional cuisine is known as “La Cucina Povera Toscana” which is the Tuscan Peasant’s Cuisine (essentially country cooking). Tuscany invites everybody, without restraint, to come taste Tuscan foods! As an organization, Tuscan Way thrives by offering wine tours and cooking classes in Tuscany in a way that immerses participants in the regional culture. Tuscan Way also helps people create their own Tuscan tours throughout Tuscany. Many people have experienced the Tuscan dream with their own personalized vacation. Tuscany has many areas which merit special attention. For example, you can visit the most famous cities of Tuscany: with our “Tuscany day Tours”. These include the following packaged tours: the “Tour of Siena” , “Tour of Assisi”, “Tour of Florence”, “Tour of gourmet winery”, “Tour of gourmet Verrazzano Castle”, “Tour of Red Winery”, “Tour of Dievole”, “Gourmet Tour of Chianti Hills” just to name a few!. Discover Italy! Discover Tuscan gastronomy – its gourmet cooking courses & cuisine and the celebrated Tuscan wine tours! You can experience the true Tuscan life on our tours. Each cuisine, with its regional flavor, tells the story of the land, history and people.
Explore and Experience Tuscany!
Arezzo | Florence | Lucca | Pisa | Siena | Golf Tuscany | Bike Tuscany | Tuscany Events Calendar
Tuscany is a charmed land, known for its magnificent landscapes, beaches and artistic and scientific contributions to modern society. Visitors to Tuscan towns and villages are presented with some of the most impressive architecture, gardens and town squares. Tuscany has been continuously influenced by some of the world’s greatest empires and individuals. From the Etruscans, who left many unique roads that are used today to the Romans and the Medici family who financed much of the Renasiannce. Opportunities abound for outdoor adventure with bike tours, world championship golf courses and resorts and trips back to the past for history enthusiasts throughout the region. For more information visit In Italy
Sites of Interest | Notable Churches | Festivals
Arezzo is a city in Tuscany and is a the capitol city of the province of the same name. Arezzo lies approximately 50 miles south-east of Florence and as of 2008 had a population of 98,788 people. Arezzo proper sits atop a steep hill above the floodplain of the Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of later structures. From the Etruscan period through Roman occupation and eventual liberation from military rule, Arezzo has grown and prospered over the centuries. Visitors can view and learn about much of the history from the architecture and museum records housed throughout the city.
Sites of Interest in Arezzo:
Piazza Grande Arezzo Tuscany ItalyThe Piazza Grande was once the main marketplace of the city and remains the most noteworthy medieval square in the city. Located at the opening behind the thirteenth-century Romanesque apse of S. Maria della Pieve. Along with the apse of the church, other landmarks of the square include: The Palace of the Lay Fraternity (Fraternita dei Laici): 14th-15th century palazzo, with a Gothic ground floor and a quattrocento second floor by Bernardo Rossellino. The Episcopal Palace, was the seat of the bishops, rebuilt in the mid-13th century. The interior has frescoes by Salvi Castellucci, Teofilo Torri, and Pietro Benvenuti. In front of the Palace is the Monument to Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici (1595), by Pietro Francavilla, following a design of Giambologna. Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari, with the Torre Faggiolana.
More Arezzo Sites of Interest: Vasari Loggia Arezzo Tuscany Italy
The Vasari Loggia (picutured left) located along the north side of the square has a flat Mannerist façade designed by Giorgio Vasari. Remains of the Communal Palace and the Palazzo del Popolo. Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and completed in 1538–1560. It was partly dismantled by the French in the early 19th century. Palazzo Camaiani-Albergotti (14th century, renovated in the 16th century), with the Torre della Bigazza. Casa Vasari (in Via XX Settembre) an older house rebuilt in 1547 by Giorgio Vasari and frescoed by him; now open as a museum, it also contains sixteenth-century archives. The main rooms were decorated by Vasari. The drawing room contains the life journey of an artist as interpreted and painted by Vasare. Ivan Bruschi House and Museum (Casa-Museo “Ivan Bruschi”). Gaio Cilnio Mecenate Archeological Museum. Civic Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. UnoAErre Jewelry Museum
Notable Churches in Arezzo: The Gothic Cathedral of Saint Donatus Basilica of San Francesco The Santa Maria della Basilica of San Domenico The Church of San Michele Church of St. Augustine Badia di SS. Flora e Lucilla San Lorenzo Santa Maria delle Grazie Santa Maria a Gradi
Festivals in Arezzo
Guido d’Arezzo is an international choral festival. Arezzo is home to the Saracen Joust (Giostra del Saracino). During this festival “knights” on horseback representing different areas of the town charge at a wooden target attached to a carving of a Saracen king and score points according to accuracy. Virtually all the town’s people dress-up in medieval costume and enthusiastically cheer on the competitors.
Visit Florence, Tuscany Italy!
Markets | Monuments | Museums | Parks | Events
Florence is the capital city of the region of Tuscany, Italy and is known as the center of the Renaissance. However this city has gone through many changes over the centuries. From the founding of the city in the first century BC by the Romans through the Carolingian period through the heights of civilization and rebirth starting in the 11th through the 15th centuries, Florence today is built upon these many layers both physically and socially. During the 15th century under the rule of the powerful Medici family it saw the greatest advances in art, culture and politics. Churches, piazzas, public buildings, fountains, and public works were built under popes, kings and emperors with each succeeding generation rebuilding and adding to each. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raffaello all lived and contributed to the culture of 16th century Florence. Today the city is still a center of the arts and culture in Tuscany and Italy. A place where people come from all over the world to experience the centuries old architecture, local foods and wines, crafts and art.
Markets in Florence:
San Lorenzo Market: In the historical center of the city the area around the Basilica of San Lorenzo, from Tuesday through Saturday, visitors can find local crafts, clothing, articles in leather, pottery, ceramics, and the usual souvenir fare.
Mercato Centrale: Located inside the San Lorenzo central market, in Via dell’Ariento you’ll find stalls of the the best food vendors in the city. Open from Monday through Saturday except for public holidays during the spring, summer and fall from 7am to 3pm. During the winter months visitors can shop on Saturdays and the day before holidays.
Sant’ambrogio: This market offers a little bit of everything Florence has to offer in food, crafts, flowers, shoes, and housewares. The market is open six days a week from 7am to 2pm and closed Sundays.
Mercato delle Cascine: Known as the largest and most affordable market in Florence, locals and tourists alike can find everything from general groceries to antiques. Located in one of Florence’s larger parks the beautiful Parco dell Cascine it is a great place to shop and enjoy a pleasant walk. Mercato delle Pulci is known as the best flea market in the area. Located in the Piazza dei Ciompi this market is open seven days a week from 9am until 7:30pm.
More Food Markets in Florence:
Fruit and Vegetables Main Market Address: Viale Guidoni Opening times: From Tuesday to Thursday from 10 to 11am; Saturday from 9 to 10 am
Le Cure Market Address: Piazza delle Cure Opening times: every morning except Sunday and public holidays
Santo Spirito Market Address: Piazza Santo Spirito Opening times: every morning except Sunday and public holidays; all day on the second Sunday of every month Clothing, Leather and Straw Goods Markets in Florence: Mercato del Porcellino Articles in Florentine straw, hand embroidery, leather goods, objects in wood, flowers Address: Piazza del Mercato Nuovo Opening times: every day from 8am to 7pm, except Sundays and Monday mornings
Straw Market Address: Piazza del Mercato Nuov Opening times: every day from 9 to 18,30 pm, except Sunday and public holidays
Second-hand Furniture, Household Goods, and Book Markets in Florence: Oltrarno Flea Market Address: Piazza S. Spirito Opening times: Second Sunday of the month, from 9 to 19 Rare Books Address: Loggia del Grano Opening times: From Thursday to Saturday, from 10 to 18
Plant and Flower Markets in Florence: Flower Market Address: under the portico in Piazza della Repubblica (via Pellicceria) Opening times: every Thursday morning, from 10 to 19
Monuments of Florence: Palazzo Vecchio, meaning “the old palace” is the most important civil building in Florence. Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio its construction began in 1299. It was transformed from the seat of the Priors of Art and of the Signoria between 1550 and 1565 by Vasari into the seat of government and the official residence of the ruling Medici family. Today it is a museum and monument of the cities rich history. The most notable of the Palazzo Vecchio are the Monumental Quarters which include the study of Francesco I de’ Medici known as Salone dei Cinquecento. Palazzo Pitti, was built by Luca Fancelli on orders from Luca Pitti to outdo the grandure of the homes and buildings of the Medici family.
Unfortuanetly when the Pitti family lost its fortune the palace was bought by Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1549. Enlarged by Bartolomeo Ammannati’s design. Today it hosts many important Florentine museums, such as: the Palatina Gallery (with Raffaello, Andrea del Sarto, Caravaggio, Bronzino masterpieces and more), the Silver Museum, the Modern Art Gallery and the Customes Gallery. It is also known the Boboli gardens, also designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati and, later, expanded on by Bernardo Buontalenti, under Cosimo I de’ Medici. The Cathedral or Duomo is built in the typical gothic Italian architecture style designed by Arnolfo di Camio. Construction of the Duomo took over 60 years to complete. Today it houses two frescoes depicting the condottieri or generals equestrian monuments by Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno. Dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore it boasts magnificent stained glass windows that are designs from Donatello, Andrea del Castagno and Paolo Uccello. CupolaThe Cupola is by far one of the most interesting and characteristic feature of Florence today.
Built as a self-supporting form its construction was far ahead of its time. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi with his knowledge in what was known as “the way of the building.” The interior of the dome was decorated by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari and depicts the Last Judgement. The Cupoloa took 16 years from start to finish between the years of 1420 and 1436. The Basilica of San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Florence, originally built and consencrated by St. Ambrose in 393 and rebuilt in the Romanesque style in 1060. The church now houses works of art by Rosso Fiorentino, Desiderio da Settignano, Donatello and Bronzino. The Cappelle Medicee or the Medici Chapels are part of the San Lorenzo complex and was part of the official church of the Medici family and eventully as the mausoleum added in 1520. Michelangelo contributed work on the sculptures until 1533 and completed the allegories of Dawn and dusk, Night and Day and the group of Madonna and Child. The San Miniato al Monte church is considered to be a premier examples of Tuscan Romanesque architecture. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries it is decorated by fine arcading and has a 12th-century mosaic of Christ between the Madonna and St. Miniato. In the interior, the altar preserves the bones of St. Miniato. Museums of Florence The Uffizi Gallery is a world-renowned museums and is the pride of Tuscany and Florence. The Uffizi was first designed to house the offices of the famous Medici family and at the onset of the creation of the structure several rooms were set aside to house the finest works from their collections.
For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/uffizi-gallery.html
The Accademy Gallery or Galleria dell’Accademia is best know as the home of many of Michaelangelo’s famous sculptures to include the “David”, “The four prisoners” and the “Pieta of Palestina”. There are also many paintings collected by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold to help the young Florentine artists, enrolled in the Academy of Arts school which is still next door to the gallery.
For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/accademy-gallery-florence.html
The National Museum Il Bargello is housed in one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Florence. Construction on the building began in 1255 and was originally the home of the Bargello or “head of police spies. The building was converted into the national museum in the mid-nineteenth century and contains masterpieces by Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Cellini, Giambologna and Donatello alognwith priceless ivories, enamels, jewels, tapestries and weapons. For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/national-museum-bargello.html
The Museum Of San Marco is worth visiting for its architecture alone. Once a Dominican convent it was restored and enlarged to its present size for Cosimo the Elder de’ Medici by his favourite architect Michelozzo. The museum now houses frescoed interiors by Fra’ Angelico a very beautiful Last Supper frescoed by Ghirlandaio completed at the end of the fifteenth century. It was alos the first public library of the Renaissance, and still houses a rare and fine series of illuminated manuscripts.
For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/Museum-of-San-Marco.html
The Museum of The History of The Science chronicles historical collections of scientific instruments to include those of Falileo Galilei and supports Florence’s historical interest in science from the thirteenth century onwards and was as great or greater than its interest in art. It is well-known that Cosimo I and Francesco de’ Medici encouraged the scientific and artistic researches carried out in the Grand Ducal workshops, but also members of the Medici family in the seventeenth century protected and personally followed physics experiments in the full light of Galileo’s method. The Gallery of The Hospital of The Innocents is set in one of the best known and most important architectural complexes of the early fifteenth century in Florence. Commissioned and financed by the Arte della Lana and designed by Filippo Brunelleschi it was actually an orphanage and training center for abandoned children. After the 1966 flood, the entire complex of buildings was completely restored in an attempt to return to its original fifteenth century appearance. The Gallery is located in the loggia above the cloister and in the former dayroom of the children above the main portico.
Parks in Florence
Boboli Gardens FlorenceThe Boboli Gardens became famous after acquired by the Medici family and commissioned Niccolò Pericoli, known as Tribolo who created innovative forms of landscape architecture between the years 1550 and 1558. The park contains fountains and statues by Ammannati, Giambologna and Tacca and completed by Giulio and Alfonso Parigi (1631- 1656). The design of the Boboli Gardens was so admired that it became the standard and copied at the royal gardens in Europe, to include those at Versailles.
For more information: http://www.firenzemusei.it/00_english/boboli/index.html
The Bardini Garden is worth a visit as it was restored to its original splendor in the late 19th century and contains fountains, mosaics, rose borders. Flowers, fruit trees, wisteria and other botanical treasures can be found in this garden. The Parco delle Cascine was first an agricultural and farm and has a rich history starting in the mid-1500’s with the purchase of the property by Archduke Alessandro. It was considered a primarily wild area where the Archduke and his family could hunt. It was the site of the Archduchess Maria Teresa’s wedding. In the second half of the 18th century, the Archduchess Elisa transformed the property into a public park and gifting it to the city. In the 19th century the gardens of the Cascine were laid out in a romantic style, and looked very different than they do now. Also, in the course of the 19th century large areas of the park were transformed into sporting facilities, including racetracks.
Events in Florence
The Giro d’Italia is a long distance road bycicle racing stage race for professional cyclist held over three weeks every year in May or early June in and around Italy. Disputed in 1909 for the first time, it took place regularly during the years, except for interruptions due to the first and second world war. The Giro is currently one of the three Grand Tours – together with the Tour de France and the Vuela a España – and is part of the UCI World Ranking calendar.
The Intercity Festival is has been a regular event for the city of Florence for more than 20 years. During this festival, foreign acting companies, new Italian and foreign productions, and stage plays from various European cities come to perform their productions but are translated into Italian. To add to the festivities there are various For More info: http://www.teatrodellalimonaia.it/Limonaia/Intercity/IntHome.html
The Festival of Creativity takes place every year in October and highlights the creative arts from fashion, technology, poetry, music and celebrates innovation of the artists as well. The Fabbrica Europa celebrates the various forms of contemporary and experimental art in the European community. From painting to music, from theatre to literature, young artists perform and display their creations. More info: http://www.fabbricaeuropa.com/
The International Handicrafts Fair (Mostra Mercato Internazionale dell’Artigianato) showchases Florence’s best artist and craftsmen, where visitors can admire and handmade clothing and accessories, silverware and jewelry, furniture, beauty and health products and food and wine. This fair takes place each spring for nine days. For more information: http://www.mostraartigianato.it/eng_home.html
The Salone Del Mobile in Florence is one of the largest furniture fairs in Italy and provides visitors a sampling some of the latest furniture and design trends. Located within the Fortezza da Basso visitors to this market will also find a wine and food pavilion where local cuisine from Sicily to Piedmont can be found and enjoyed. The Festival dei Popoli is Florence’s film festival that showcases both Italian and European feature and documentary presentations. First conceived and presented as a way of bringing the world to Florence it is now a centerpiece of Florentine cultural events. Website – More info: http://www.festivaldeipopoli.org
The Fortezza da Basso hosts the International Arts Biennale in Florence and it takes place every two years. Conceived and first produced in 1997 by brothers Pasquale and Piero Celona to fill the void for more international exposure for talented career artists to exhibit their work. Artists are welcome no matter what medium or school in order to showcase as many contemporary works as possible. Website – More info: http://www.florencebiennale.org/indexeng.html
Pitti Immagine Uomo, Bimbo, Filati, Casa and ModaPelle are international fashion events production-consumption, and esthetic and cultural design. These shows are presented throughout the year. The Florence Gift Mart is held twice a year at the Fortezza di San Giovanni or da Basso. The complex was designed by Antonio da Sangallo and built between the years 1533 and 1535. Created to protect the city from invasion it is now home to conferences and exhibitions. The Florence International Music Festival began in 2005 and was designed especially for young talented musicians from all over the world. More info: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Florence-international-music-festival.html
Lucca Churches and Monuments
Lucca is a beautiful little Tuscan town protected by 16th-century walls and contains some of Italy’s finest medieval and Renaissance architecture. Visitors can enjoy superb dining, antique markets, classical and rock music festivals. Lucca is conveniently located within a few miles of stunning nearby villas in the surrounding hills, and endless beaches less than half an hour away. The villas and farmhouses surrounding the city are popular summer destinations of discerning European visitors. Walk or bicycle along the ancient ramparts that ring the old city. Built from brick in the 16th century for defense purposes, today’s visitors can walk or bike around the city on the wide shaded walkways atop the walls. For a more vigorous adventure, climb up the Torre Guinigi a 130 ft. tower with an ancient oak tree on top. In Lucca visitors can also stroll through the streets and enjoy chic boutiques and restaurants.
Churches and Monuments in Lucca The churches in Lucca are the San Michele in Foro and San Frediano, and the Cathedral San Martino. The San Frediano Church is probably the most decorated church in Lucca with lavish thirteenth century mosaics. The interior of the church contains a richly carved baptismal font as well as a shrine to Lucca’s saint, Santa Zita. The most notable architectural feature is the golden mosaic high on the façade. The church also houses a shrine to Santa Zita, Lucca’s saint, whose mummified body is brought out once a year when she may be touched by the devout. Garden in Lucca Duomo (11th-13th century, Romanesque) houses the Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, a sculptural masterpiece by Jacopo della Quercia (1408) The Church of S. Maria Foris portam (13th-16th century) Case dei Guinigi (a complex of 14th century towers and buildings) Church of S. Michele in Foro (12th-13th century Church of S. Frediano (12th century, Romanesque, with a large mosaic of the Ascension, 13th century on the façade) Palazzo Mansi (17th century) Palazzo Pretorio (16th century) Villa of Paolo Guinigi (15th century) The Piazza Anfiteatro or Piazza of the Amphitheatre was built on the site of an original Roman amphitheatre. Some of the original Roman features remain in the outer walls, which date back to the 2nd century A.D.
Visit Pisa, Tuscany Italy!
Attractions | Churches | Festival and Events | Museums and Art Galleries | Shopping and Markets
Pisa, located in western Tuscany, is best known for the Leaning Tower. However, there are many more attractions and sites of interest that visitors can explore and enjoy. This ecclesiastical city’s origins were as a seaside community settled approximately 3,000 years ago. Much of Pisa has retained its medieval appearance where tourists can enjoy many local and international attractions, museums, events, and festivals. Notable Attractions in Pisa: Tower of PisaThe Piazza del Duomo contains Leaning Tower of Pisa (left) which was the bell tower of the Pisa cathedral. A popular tourist photo is one where the subject of the photo appears to “hold up” the tower. And for most who visit it is hard to understand how it has remained standing after more than 700 years.
Pisa Tourist Attractions
Pisa Walking Tours are very popular as visitors are guided to many of the city’s most interesting attractions and landmarks and learn about Pisa’s wealth of history. The Battistero (Baptistery) located in the Piazza del Duomo the largest of its kind in Italy, with a circumference of 348 feet. Construction for the Battistero began in 1153 and was designed by Deotisalvi. Construction and improvements were made to the structure through 1260 when the massive pulpit was designed by Nicola Pisano was constructed. It was the first of the great Pisano pulpits found throughout Italy. Camposanto, the Cemetery or Holy Field is located north of the Piazza del Duomo. It was created in 1278 to house shiploads of holy soil, brought back from the mount where Christ was crucified and is without doubt one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. In 1944 the cemetery was heavily bombed and the wooden roof caught fire. The lead panels melted and ran over many of the frescoes, damaging and destroying them. When the damaged frescoes were removed, workers found the original sketches underneath and these are now displayed in the Museo della Sinopie. Remaining notable frescoes include the 14th-century ‘Triumph of Death’ and the ‘Drunkenness of Noah’. Also of interest is a 2nd-century BC Greek vase that has inspired many sculptors in Pisa over the years. Orto Botanico di Pisa are Pisa’s botanical gardens located in the centre of the city and are just a short walk from the tower. Founded in the 1540s they are the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. The garden’s collections contain mature specimens from all over the world and are now part of Pisa University. The Piazza dei Cavalieri adjoins the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. This square opens from the narrow backstreets of the central square. The curving palazzo is topped with large busts of the Medici family. The Piazza dei Cavalieri was once the seat of the Ordine dei Cavalieri di Santo Stefano, (Order of the Knights of St. Stephen), which was a religious and military institution founded to defend the coast from possible threats by the Turks.
Pisa Churches, Cathedrals Religious Sites: Pisa Tuscany Italy
There are many beautiful and superbly maintained churches in Pisa The Santa Maria della Spina – a 13th-century chapel that was renamed after it became the shrine of a thorn (spina) which, according to legend, belonged to the crown of thorns once worn by Jesus Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri – built in 1565, with a marble facade and beautiful baroque Main Altar San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno – also known as the Duomo Vecchio (old cathedral), this ancient church has undergone many transformations since it was first built over 1,200 years ago San Francesco – constructed between 1230 to 1270, its marble facade was completed in 1603 San Michele in Borgo – built on the ruins of a Roman temple dedicated to Mars, on a small square in Borgo Santo Sepolcro – probably the most characteristic church in town, built for the Templar Knights in the 12th century
Festivals and Events in Pisa:
Events in Pisa Tuscany ItalyThe Gioco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), takes place on the last Sunday in June. Twelve teams from both the north and south banks of the city stage a number of battles some take place across the Ponte di Mezzo, Pisa’s old Roman bridge. This historic event was first recorded in 1568 and still features medieval costumes. The Festa di San Ranieri, is a festival that honors the city’s patron saint by lining the River Arno with torches on June 16th. The city’s waterfront buildings and also the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa are beautifully illuminated. Included in the festival days is the Regatta di San Ranieri, where four rowing teams race in costume in honour of the patron saint of Pisa.
Pisa Museums and Art Galleries:
Maria della MariaThe Museo Nazionale di San Matteo or the National Museum of St. Matthew is located on the banks of the River Arno and contains impressive paintings and sculptures dating from between the 12th and 18th centuries.
The Le Navi Antiche di Pisa or Lungarno Simonelli Museum is located in the Medici Arsenale, Ponte della Cittadella. It houses many interesting works recovered from ongoing excavations and restorations of ancient wooden Roman ships and riverboats, which were first discovered by builders in 1998 at the San Rossore train station.
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo or the Cathedral Works Museum located in the Piazza Arcivescovado was originally a chapter house that is now home to a large and significant collection of sculptures, paintings and other works relating to the ecclesiastical buildings on the Piazza del Duomo.
The Museo delle Sinopie located on the Piazza del Duomo contains the famous Sinopie sketches (a sinopia is a monochrome sketch over which a fresco is painted) that were found under the remains of the Camposanto’s ruined frescoes and reconstructions of Carlo Lasinio’s 19th-century engravings of frescoes.
Pisa Shopping and Markets:
Pisa Food Market Pisa is one of the most interesting centres for shopping in Italy because of the numerous districts and streets where visitors can find a wide variety of quality Italian goods, including jewellery, stylish clothes and tempting, and local cuisine. There are also shops in Pisa full of souvenirs. Via Buonarroti is held every Wednesday and Saturday and provides a wide variety of clothing and various other articles Via San Martino takes place every Wednesday and Saturday and is a perfect place to find unique clothes and fashion accessories Marina di Pisa Market specializes in providing a large selection of second-hand clothes Piazza delle Vettovaglie is a daily food market specializing in fresh Italian produce Ponti di Mezzo is an antiques market held on the second weekend of each month
Museums | Parks & Gardens | Underground Waterways and Fountains Art | Markets and Festivals | Attractions | More Siena Events
Siena was said to be founded by sons of Remus, Senio and Ascanio, of the famous duo Romulus and Remus. However, this is just legend and in reality the Romans first setteled in the area in 30 AD creating a military outpost that soon became a trading post along the route north. In the 6th century AD the Franks and Lombards settled in the area of Siena and were instrumental in establishing the Via Francigena, the main road from Rome to France. The Catholic Church had a great influence and ruled much of the city during the time between the 9th and 11th centuries. The city grew throughout the centuries despite the many battles with the citizens and rulers of Florence. Siena prospered during the renaissance as great artists created monuments and adorned buildings that remain today. Visitors can marvel at the beauty of the Duomo, the Plaazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia just to name a few.
Museums in Siena:
Learn and experience the rich history of Siena as you visit the many museums, gothic architecture, churches and historic squares.
Accademia dei Fisiocritici Museo di Storia Naturale is Siena’s natural history museum and holds and displays large collections of zoological, anatomical and botanical specimens and examples of medieval and renaissance discovery. Location: Prato S.Agostino, 5 Piazzetta Silvio Gigli 2 Website – More info: http://www.accademiafisiocritici.it
Archivio di Stato is located in the Palazzo Piccolomini and is the location where ancient manuscripts, books and tablets of the state ledgers are kept. The museum is only open upon requet Monday through Friday mornings. Location: Palazzo Piccolomini, Banchi di Sotto 52 Duomo SienaDuomo of Siena Cathedral is the location of the Libreria Piccolomini where the frescos of the life of Pope Pius II and elaborately illustrated books can be viewed. Marvel at the beauty of the stained glass window and marble statutes and adornments of this ancient cathedral. Battistero is located behind the Duomo and contains the marble font baptistery created by Jacopo della Quercia. View the magnificent bronze panels depicting the life of John the Baptist designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo view sacred works of art from the 13th to 15th centuries by Duccio, Giovanni Pisano. Stroll the outdoor walkway with a panoramic view of Siena. Location: Piazza del Duomo, 8 Website – More info: http://www.operaduomo.siena.it/english/index.html Museo Civico contains frescos that depict Italy’s first king and astronomical depictions in the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sala Della Pace. Climb the Torre del Mangia bell tower for a wonderful view of the Il Campo and the countryside around Siena. Location: Palazzo Comunale, Il Campo (Via), 1 Website – More info: http://www.comune.siena.it/museocivico
Museo d’Arte per Bambini offers programs for children’s education in art and history Location: Via dei Pispini, 164 Website – More info: http://www.comune.siena.it/museocivico/musbambini.html
Museo della Società Esecutori Pie Disposizioni has been open to the public since 1938 and contains many interesting collections of art from the Sienese school created between the 14th and 18th centuries. Notable works of art can be viewed created by La Sacra Famiglia con San Giovannino of Sodoma and Santa Caterina conduce a Roma il Papa of Girolamo of Benvenuto. Location: Via Roma 71 Website – More info: http://www.accademiafisiocritici.it
Oratorio di S.Bernardino was built during the 15th century and includes beautiful wood and wall paintings in the baptistery and frescoes by Domenico Beccafumi. Location: Piazza San Francesco Palazzo delle Papesse – Centro di Arte Contemporanea is Siena’s museum of contemporary art that offers educational and rotating exhibits throughout the seasons. Location: Via di Città, 126 Website – More info: http://www.papesse.org
Pinacoteca Nazionale contains works of art by some of the great Tuscan masters, to include Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti from the Sienese School of art created between the 12th though 17th centuries. Location: Palazzo Buonsignori, S. Pietro (via di), 29 Santa Maria della Scala Complesso musealeSantuario Di Santa Caterina Da Siena is one of Siena’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors can view the Oratorio della Cucina, once the family kitchen and the Oratorio della Camera where Saint Catherine, Siena’s patron saint once rested. Location: Costa di S. Antonio/ corner Via Fontebranda Santa Maria della Scala Complesso museale was once one of Europes first hospitals offering care to the homeless and poor of the area. It now houses an extensive collection of Sienese art and frescos depicting life in the surrounding areas. Location: Piazza del Duomo, 2 Website – More info: http://www.santamaria.comune.siena.it
Parks & Gardens In Siena:
Botanical Garden: Orto Botanico, founded by Biagio Bartalini in 1784 this garden is home to many of Tuscany’s local medicinal and culinary herbs, aquatic plants, fruit trees, flowers, and shrubs. The gardens also display many exotic varieties found in other parts of the world. It was once the location for the cultivation of medicinal herbs used at the Orto dei Semplici, hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala. Website – More info: http://www.unisi.it/ricerca/dip/dba/Botanica/orto_botanico.htm
La Lizza located on the property of the Forte di Santa Barbara, the fortress built by Cosimo I of the Medici this garden area is used for many events throughout the year. The fortress is also the home of the Italian center for wine that hosts many events, exhibits and conferences on the world’s wines. Orto de’ Pecci is a garden that offers a wonderful view of the Torre del Mangia. To find this cooperative garden go to the Piazza del Mercato, follow the stairs that lead down to a field and then take the small street or alley that is to the right of the Via Del Sole. Follow this route through the gate and experience a variety of Tucan plants and the aromas of lavender, rosemary and other fragrant herbs and flowers. Underground Waterways of Siena: Underground Waterways SienaTake a guided tour of the underground world of Siena’s aquaducts called bottini. Organized by the La Diana association, these tours take place in the spring and again in the autumn as water levels permit. View images and get more information on the history of the bottini at the Diana website: http://www.comune.siena.it/diana/english/index.html
Fountains in Siena: le Fonti di Siena or the fountains of Siena can be found throughout the city. These fountains were originally part of the outlying areas of the city but as Siena grew they became part of the city proper. Fountains were used for a variety of everyday life from cooking to baptisms and still today are favorite gathering places for local citizens and tourists alike. Fonte Gaia is one of the premier examples of Italian sculpture and known as the “the queen of Sienese fountains” because of its central location in the Piazza del Campo. This fountain built between 1409 and 1419 displays panels created by Jacopo della Quercia. Fountains of SienaFontebranda is considered the most impressive fountain in Siena and is the the oldest. The Fontebranda is best known as the fountain that Saint Catherine is most associated with and the reason she is also known as the Saint of Fontebranda. Today this fountain is the site for many outdoor performances and concerts. Fonte d’Ovile built in 1260 replaced an earlier fountain construction and is worth visiting as part of your fountains tour of Siena. Fonte del Casato known as Siena’s “hidden” fountain because it is not easy to find in the center of the city. Fonte Nuova d’Ovile is a Gothic style fountain built between 1296 andl 1303 as an outlet for the bottino or underground aquaducts of the city. Arts & Crafts in Siena: Duomo of Siena is a workshop that displays all stages of the ancient ceramics techniques. Location: Via P.A. Mattioli 12 Website – More info: http://www.ceramicart1.com/index.html
Antique Furniture Restoration located in the ancient palazzo of Siena displays the art of gold leaf, fauz finish, and painting that dates back to the 13th century. The Arts of SienaStained Glass – Vetrate Artistiche Toscane is located near the Piazza del Campo and is where visitors can learn about ancient techniques used to create stained glass windows and restoration. Location: Via della Galluzza 5 Website – More info: http://www.glassisland.com
Silk Painting and Batik – Il Girasole “Il Girasole” is an art handicraft store, producing silk painting, mosaic, papier-maché, painting and decoupage. Location: Via S.Pietro 48 Website – More info: http://www.il-girasole.it/ Sator Print specialises in the book binding production, conservation and restoration of contemporary and ancient books, maps and documents.They also have a unique limited edition of hand-made art-books. Location: Piaggia del Giuggiolo 7
Markets & Festivals in Siena:
La Lizza city market held every Wednesday from 8:30am to 1:30pm is the most important city market. Find clothes, shoes, bags, household goods, flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables all at reasonable prices. Ceramics Siena MarketsPiazza del Mercato antique market held on the third Sunday of every month. Santa Lucia street festival held on December 13 in the Piano dei Mantellini and Piano dei Mantellini and S.Giuseppe, March 19 in the Contrada dell’Onda, celebrate local agricultural traditions such as olive harvesting and wine-making and based on the influence of local patron saints. More local markets and festivals in the province of Siena: Asciano (Crete) Mercatino delle Crete: on the second Sunday of each month, is a street market with all kinds of local arts and crafts. Carnival of Asciano: in February, a procession of traditional carnival chariots, music bands and folklore activities.
Arts Markets in Siena
Mercatino della Scialenga: on the third weekend of September, a street market for antiques in the center of the city. Buonconvento Antiques market, on the last Sunday of each month. La Trebbiatura: in July a festival of old times agricultural traditions. Collections’ Fair: for all types of antiques and collectors’ items, in the last week of September in the city streets. Castiglione d’Orcia (Val d’Orcia) Maggiolata: a festival of ancient traditional songs and dances, to celebrate the coming of May, on the 30th April-first of May. Festival of the Newly made Olive Oil: in the first week of December.
Markets of Art
SienaFesta della Trebbiatura, a historical celebration of the old times harvesting festival, in July. Etruscan week: in the Castle of Murlo during the last week of August. Festival of Wine and Oil: in the Castle of Murlo, in November. San Quirico d’Orcia – Forme nel Verde: a fascinating international exhibition of sculptures in the magnificent garden of Horti Leonini
Rapolano Terme -Festival of the wild boar: in April, in the city center Attractions Around Siena: The countryside around Siena is a favorite destination for tourists. The pace of life in Siena’s outlying areas is perfect for those seeking bicycle tours and hiking. Public transportation is available and there are travel agencies and tours available for those seeking to experience all of what the area has to offer. MontepulcianoMontepulciano – Take time walking the streets of this medieval town.
Visit the renaissance church, Antonio da Sangallo’s San Biagio, visit local shops, and sample local cuisine. Pienza – This small hill town was transformed by Pope Pius II into a renaissance urban planning testing ground in the mid-15th century. Make this your first stop for a leisurly morning stroll as you travel the countryside around Siena. San Gimignano – A medieval town that owes its famous skyline to the rival families who tried to outdo each other by building taller and taller towers. Of the original 76 towers only 13 still survive today.
Asciano – Located in the medieval oasis in the “Crete” desert, this hill town has many historical monuments to include the Romanesque Basilica di Sant’Agata. Bagno Vignoni – Located on the terrace-like terrain of the Orcia Valley, this town is known as a popular spa town because of its thermal springs.
Le Crete – This town has been the home of poets and painters because of its enchanting scenery of the Val d’Orcia area. Montalcino – This town is well-known for its red and Brunello wine and the castle wine cellars where visitors can taste and purchase.
Monte Oliveto Maggiore – This Benedictine monastery situated on the rocky ridge and area where trees native to Tuscany are preserved in a park, is best known for the nave’s choir stalls adorned with some of Italy’s finest inlaid wood carvings. San Quirico d’ Orcia is a fortified town best known as a wayside respite on the road from Rome to Northern Europe. For more information visit: http://www.aboutsiena.com/travels-in-Tuscany.html
More Events In Siena:
Festivals and events in and around Siena take place throuh during the year. Here is a sample of these events. For more information contact the local tourist bureau at: Phone: 0577 292215. Accademia Musicale Chigiana on Via di Chitta hosts opera and classical concerts thoughout the year with the most prominent week of Sienese music at events in July and August and the Settimana Musicale Senese in November. Location: Accademia Musicale Chigiana, da Basso, Via di Città, 89 Website – More info: http://www.chigiana.it/index_ing.htm
Associazione Siena Jazz presents open-air jazz concerts in July and August. Location: Fortezza Medicea, 10 Website – More info: http://www.sienajazz.it/home_eng.html Cinema in Fortezza, located at the Fortezza Medici presents outdoor movies in June and July and during the month of August, films are shown at various parks in Siena. They also sponsor outdoor theater performances by small community groups. Treno Natura
Sagres & Festivals:
Le Sagre E Le Feste are small community celebrations during the spring, summer and fall months. These events highlight local religious, political, crafts and local agriculture. Treno Natura is a relaxing steam-powered train trip through the south countryside of Siena during the spring and autum months. The round-trip begins in Siena and makes stops in Asciano and Monte Antico. Website – More info: http://www.ferrovieturistiche.it/p.asp?p=etrenonatura.asp
UNA Poggio dei Medici | Le Pavoniere | Dell’Ugolino
Imagine playing golf on tournament quality courses surrouned by the beauty of Tuscany, with its centuries-old castles and breathtaking landscapes. Combine you days with excursions into the Tuscan countryside to partake of award winning wines and local cuisine. Experience the magesty and history of the renaissance. Stay in villas once occupied by some of the most powerful families who shaped Tuscan art, music, and science.
The UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Resort UNA Pogio dei Medici Golf Resort
Home to Poggio dei Medici Golf Club, an 18 hole, par 73 course and was built to USGA standards on the sprawling 16th century villa, once a favorite retreat of the Medici, a powerful renaissance family who supported the great science and art of the time. This international championship course provides a driving range, pitching green, shaded driving bays, putting green, and pro shop. Stay in one of the 70 rooms or seven suites lovingly and authentically restored farmhouses surrounding the greens. Although you are surrounded by history the amenities include modern and luxuriously appointed bathrooms with hair dryers, bathrobes. All rooms and suites come with satellite TV, minibar, telephone and air conditioning. Other services and facilities include a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, swimming pool with a Jacuzzi, spa center offering the latest in beauty and health treatments to include a Turkish bath. The golf course, designed by Italian champion Baldovino Dassu and architect Alvise Rossi Fioravanti, offers challenging fairways and greens and was a venue for the Italian Ladies Open. Both professional and beginning golfers will find this course both imaginative and beautiful. For more information and to contact them for reservations, click here to visit the Poggio dei Medici Golf Resort website. http://www.rent-a-villa-in-tuscany.com/golfintuscany.html
Le Pavoniere Golf Course Le Pavoniere Golf Course
Designed by Arnold Palmer, this 18-hole, par 72 course is located just outside of Prato and a short drive to Florence. This course incorporates the natural landscape of the countryside with hazards cleverly placed to make this an enjoyable and challenging day of golf. Other amenities located at this facility include a driving range, putting green, pro shop, swimming pool, tennis courts, snack bar, restaurant, sauna, and gym. Every member of the family can find something to do, even if golf isn’t their thing. To find out more information about the course and other activities, schedules and reservations, click here to visit their website. http://www.golfholidaysonline.com/pavoniere_golf.html
Dell’Ugolino Golf Course
Dell’Ugolino Golf CourseThe Dell’Ugolino was the first golf course built in Italy. Located along the well-known route to Chianti, the Chiantigiana Road, this course has hosted many tournaments over the years to include the International Open in 1983. Founded on the Via Chiantigiana in 1933 and designed by British architects Blandford and Gannon who had also designed the course at Monza near Milan. The course originally was designed as a par 69 but was considered too difficult, and was redesined in the 1960s into the present day course as a par 72 by Piero Mancinelli. Other ammenites found at the Ugolino are a driving range, pro shop, tennis courts, snack bar and restaurant. For more information click here to visit the Dell’Ugolino Golf Course website. http://www.golfugolino.it
Tuscany Bicycle Tours Bicycle Tours and Rentals in Tuscany
Experience Tuscany’s beautiful countryside and breathtaking scenery as you bicycle down windy country lanes, vineyards, olive groves and historic cities and towns. Florence by Bike is the perfect place to start your bike tour of Florence and surrounding areas. Their staff will help you choose the bike that is designed for your itinerary and destinations. Bicycles can be rented by the hour, day, week, or longer. They can be picked up at their shop or for you convenience and a fee can be delivered to your villa. Make your reservations for the bicycles and times of your choice as soon as your plans are final to ensure availability during the busy season from April through October. Be sure to request the accessories, maps, and guidebooks needed for ease of travel and best bike experience. For more information and to complete a booking form, Visit Florence by Bike’s website: http://www.rent-a-villa-in-tuscany.com/touring-bike-info.html
Vermont Bicycle Touring: Tuscan Coast by Bike One of Vermont Bicyle Touring’s most popular excursions takes place along the Tuscan coastline. From the Strada del Vino, pedal along one of Italy’s most famous routes and experience sunsets at a seaside village, sample olive oil at a local mill or relax at a seaside town along the Costa degli Estruchi. Stay in historic villas and restored farmhouses and relax as you sample local wines and cuisine. Discover the Etruscan Coast as you ride through medieval hilltop villages, seaside towns and historic wineries. These tours are prefect for the beginner and intermediate riders, combining both easy terrain and moderate hills. Each day of your tour you will ride approximately 18 to 45 miles, spending from two to five hours pedeling along the Tuscan coastlines. Groups range from 14 to 20 participants. We provide full van support throughout the entire trip. For more information, and to book your Tuscan coast bike vacation click below to visit the VBT website. http://www.vbt.com/Europe/Italy/The-Tuscan-Coast-2009/Bicycle-Tour-Details.aspx