Volterra

From the city of Alabaster to the set of Twilight- 32 Km from our Farm.

The hamlet of Volterra has recently found great popularity among tourists (mostly foreign) after being chosen as a set for shooting the second chapter of the Twilight saga, New Moon.

What to see in Volterra

Volterra is a hamlet perfectly preserved in its ancient appearance and is completely surrounded by medieval walls dating back to the thirteenth century. The walls open onto different sides to make room on the outskirts of the city lit (Gate Arch, Porta a Selci, Marcoli Gate, Gate Docciola, Porta San Francesco, Porta Fiorentina, Porta San Felice and Porta Diana). In the hamlet you can see:

  • Piazza dei Priori, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy on which stands the stately Palazzo Comunale (or dei Priori). The Palace, dating back to the thirteenth century, is full of decorative elements, among which the number plates of glazed earthenware representing the crests of the most powerful families in Florence.
  • Also on the Piazza dei Priori soar the Praetorian Palace and the Tower of the Pig, so named for the presence, on a shelf, the figure of a pig.
  • A short distance from Piazza dei Priori, the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. built in 1120, standing next to the Bell Tower of 1493.
  • From Piazza dei Priori and Piazza Duomo branch, messy and winding, narrow streets of the most fascinating Volterra. Going to the north than the Piazza dei Priori, you reach the Etruscan walls and a lookout to see (and photograph) the so-called "Cliffs of Volterra."
  • Among the things to do in Volterra there is also the Roman Theatre, built during the Augustan and still well preserved.

Volterra’s Alabaster: an ancient tradition of thousands of years

You can not talk about Volterra without thinking about its alabaster, it has been more than two millennia since the Etruscans began to work it. Today, the inhabitants of Volterra still work the  alabaster with a handicraft that has a history and a nobility of traditions that can be felt in every corner.

 

San Gimignano

The city of towers which offers an atmosphere of times gone just 50 Km away.

In 1282 the government of San Gimignano promulgates a law that prevented to break down the old houses except to build more beautiful properties. From there to a century, San Gimignano would reach its peak and then decline, who saved the town from radical changes. The medieval town is so nearly identical to the medieval San Gimignano. Unfortunately of the 72 towers (one for each wealthy family) built in the Middle Ages, are remained only 13.

What to see in San Gimignano

  • The Duomo and Piazza del Duomo in San Gimignano. If the Dome is the religious symbol of San Gimignano, the Palazzo del Popolo is its Civic counterpart.
  • Together, a few meters from each other, form the unique architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square. The simplicity of the Romanesque facade of the cathedral of the twelfth century contrasts with the masterpieces that can be seen on its walls. In the same square you can admire the Palazzo Comunale (or Podesta) that is on the left, between the Torre Grossa and the Loggia del Comune.

  • The Torre Grossa of 54 meters dating from the fourteenth century on which you can go up to enjoy the show from the top of the whole town and the surrounding hilly landscape.

  • Extraordinarily spectacular, Piazza della Cisterna is located on the top of the hill on which is built the Tuscan town. It takes its name from the octagonal well located in the center, and was built by the Podestà Guccio of Malavolti, whose coat of arms (a staircase) is carved on the stone of the well.

  • The Rock of Montestaffoli was home during the Middle Ages, of the Bishop of Volterra. The fortress was also used to house the market and therefore very active during the fourteenth century. Nowadays there are only the two mighty circular walls from where you can still admire the wonderful view of San Gimignano and is currently being used as a place for events and summer concerts.

Museum of Torture in San Gimignano

If you want to discover the endless ways that men have invented for torturing other men over the centuries and you are not easily impressed, the Torture Museum is worth a visit. The museum has three floors a full path on the methods of torture around the world, with tools and original tools of various periods.

 

Pisa

The city of Galileo Galilei and the "Leaning Tower" only half an hour from your stay.

Pisa, despite its modest size, has had a central role in Italian history at different times, particularly when, as a Maritime Republic, together with Amalfi, Genoa and Venice dominated the trade routes in the Mediterranean.

What to see in Pisa

For a fleeting visit to the city there are at least five things you absolutely must see:

  • The Tower of Pisa is the symbolic monument of the Tuscan city. Built between the twelfth and fourteenth century, the Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, even if it is separated from the main building. The Tower of Pisa is "pending" due to a slow but gradual subsidence of the ground below.
  • Piazza dei Miracoli, once admired the Tower of Pisa is now time to turn our eyes to the wonders that surround it. The so-called "Square of Miracles", so renamed by Gabriele d'Annunzio to define something difficult to describe in words. UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes this square, in addition to the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Monumental Cemetery.
  • Piazza dei Cavalieri was the beating heart of communal life in the old Pisa. Here, in the Tower of Muda (later dubbed the "Tower of Hunger"), was imprisoned Count Ugolino della Gherardesca the same narrated by Dante in the XXXIII canto of the "Divine Comedy".
  • The district of Borgo Stretto is the most evocative of Pisa if only because it hides the other two leaning towers of Pisa: the first part of the Church of St. Nicholas and is tilted about 2.5 degrees; the second is that of the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi, an inclination of 5 degrees.
  • The Lungarni spectacular during the day, but mostly at sunset. The most beautiful is the Lungarno Medici, bordered by elegant mansions of the Pisan Lordships of the past, like the Medici Palace and Palazzo Toscanelli, but also from other parts of the city's history as the Church of St. Matthew in Soarta, which now houses an interesting museum.

The Luminara of  San Ranieri

On June 16th of each year on the day of San Ranieri takes place the Luminara, occasion when Pisa is illuminated by hundreds of candles, lights and, by night has a warm and romantic atmosphere.

 

Firenze

The "Cradle of the Renaissance" in less than one hour from our oasis of peace.

Florence is a special destination. Scheming for those who visit the first time, wonderful for those who have a little 'confidence. Not only the canonical paths, but also the more particular and less beaten have their charm.

What to see in Florence

  • Piazza del Duomo is the heart of Florence. Dominated by the magnificent Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with the famous dome by Brunelleschi, the Baptistery with the bronze Gates of Paradise and Giotto's bell tower, from which you can enjoy an incredible view of the city.
  • Along Via Calzaiuoli you reach the beautiful Piazza della Signoria, for centuries the center of the political life of Florence. Here the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, current home of the ordinary citizen, to its right you can admire the fascinating Loggia dei Lanzi, where are located some famous statues, such as Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus. In Piazza della Signoria is also located the Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati and the equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna.
  • A short walk from the Palazzo Vecchio is located the Uffizi Gallery known for its large collection of works of the Renaissance, as the Allegory of Spring and the Birth of Venus by Botticelli. If you intend to visit the Uffizi, is advised to book the tickets in advance at the museum, which will allow you to avoid losing precious time in long queues at the entrance of the museum.
  • In the homonymous Piazza, recently renovated, overlooks one of the most beautiful churches in Florence: the Church of Santa Maria Novella originally built in 1279. The façade is in white and green marble and was designed by Leon Battista Alberti, while the splendid Tornabuoni Chapel was painted by Ghirlandaio.
  • If you want to enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the city, go to Piazzale Michelangelo, from which you can enjoy a great view over the historical center of Florence.

The Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Not everyone knows that the most beautiful bridge in Florence (and one of the most famous in the world) until 1565 were not the goldsmiths' workshops to dominate but the shops of greengrocers and butchers. When in 1565 was built the Vasari Corridor overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, the butchers and greengrocers were driven out in favor of goldsmiths and artisans, considered best suited to the beauty of the place.

 

Siena

The city of the "Palio" at 1 hour from our Resort.

Despite Siena is not very close to our Agriturismo is worth a visit just to travel the road that leads there, the road that will take you through unspoilt countryside, admiring landscapes hardly describable. Siena is a city to explore with calm, full of artistic and cultural treasures that remain in the heart of the visitor. It’s remained the same as it was during the Middle Ages keeping intact the charming atmosphere that immediately strikes.

What to see in Siena

Despite Siena is not very close to our Agriturismo is worth a visit just to travel the road that leads there, the road that will take you through unspoilt countryside, admiring landscapes hardly describable. Siena is a city to explore with calm, full of artistic and cultural treasures that remain in the heart of the visitor. It’s remained the same as it was during the Middle Ages keeping intact the charming atmosphere that immediately strikes.

There are so many things to see that it is difficult to suggest what to visit but definitely you can not miss:

  • Piazza del Campo in Siena is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world. It has a shell shape at 9 segments, particular that can be seen only from the top of the Torre del Mangia. Since 1300 is the center of life of Siena and has been an active market and gathering place for people of Siena during important political moments, parties and rides. As still happens twice a year during the famous Palio.
  • If you are afraid of heights, perhaps is not the case to venture up to the 88 meters Torre del Mangia. From there you can enjoy a breathtaking spectacle. You can see all the city: Piazza del Campo, the Duomo, the faraway hills. The tower is named after Giovanni di Duccio, first keeper who enjoyed life spent all his earnings eating in the taverns of Siena.
  • The Cathedral, dedicated to Maria Assunta is another jewel of the city. Its facade strikes immediately, but the inside is even more full of treasures: frescoes by Pinturicchio, statues by Michelangelo, the Pulpit by Nicola Pisano in addition to floors, the frescoes and the paintings that tell the main biblical stories. Behind it is the Baptistery characterized by a baptismal font in marble and bronze.

The “Contrade” in Siena

The 17 Contrade as we know today have remained unchanged since 1729. Previously there were many more, but, from that year, the Governor Violante Beatrice of Bavaria sanctioned with a "Notice on the borders" the current division of the city within the walls. There are many rivalries between the Contrade, some dating back to 900, many of which originate in the problems of boundaries or episodes that occurred during one of the editions of the Palio.

 

Lucca 

The city by the Mighty Defensive Walls, 50 minutes from your stay

The best way to discover Lucca is looking at it from the top. You can do it climbing on its massive walls, the Tower Guinigi or by addressing the 207 steps of the high Clock Tower. These points provide a wonderful overview that allows you to appreciate its beauty and harmony and discover the same urban structure built by the Romans.

What to see in Lucca

  • The Piazza dell'Anfiteatro was built from 1830 onwards, recovering the ancient route of the Roman amphitheater. The construction sacrificed much of Roman pre existing buildings. The harmony of the Square mostly captures admiring it from the center. The access to the square, takes place by four small doors in time and this gives the appearance of "enclosed square." The point of intersection between the four doors is indicated by a ceramic tile in the center of the square.
  • There was a time, during the Middle Ages, in which in Lucca there were 250 towers of all sizes. Today there are only two: the Torre Guinigi and the one "of the Hours". The Guinigi Tower, built by a richand powerful merchant family by the fifteenth centuries, is 45 meters high and the top has a roof garden where they grow some beautiful oak trees. The Tower of the Hours is an irresistible appeal to all fans of mechanisms to measure time, the clock installed in 1754 still works today and has manual winding mechanism on sight.
  • The first thing you notice of the cathedral dedicated to St. Martin is the asymmetry of the right side of its facade that have had to be adapted to the existing bell tower. On the polychrome facade inspired by the Duomo of Pisa is the statue of St. Martin. On the right side there is a maze that goes back to the myth of Ariadne and Theseus.

The Walls of Lucca
Do not you realize the majesty of Lucca's walls until you set foot on it. Is not so much the height to impress (12 meters) but the length of 4 km and width of 30 meters. They are the only example of defensive walls of the modern age arrived intact until today. They were built between 1504 and 1645 on a project of Alessandro Farnese and, fortunately, have never served to defend the city if not to save the center of Lucca by the violent flood of the river Serchio of 1812.

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