A step back in centuries: Siena

Art is certainly what has most influenced Siena, making it one of the most visited tourist city: Piazza del Campo, the Duomo, Palazzo Comunale and the Torre del Mangia attract visitors from around the world.  A simple walk through its narrow streets is a step back in centuries. Siena is also famous for wine and food, the Italian Wine Cellar, located in the Medici Fortress, has a selection of typical food and the ancient Sienese sweets, like ricciarelli, gingerbread, the copate and cavallucci.

Piazza del Campo.

Piazza del Campo

The square has always been the place where Sienese meet, the spot they have always considered to be the “showplace” of the city. Here is the centre of city life and government. One of the most important civic buildings in the Gothic style, the Palazzo Pubblico has always been the seat of government. Inside the Palace is the Civic Museum, that houses masterpieces like Simone Martini’s Maestà and his Guidoriccio da Fogliano, and The Effects of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. An equally spectacular surprise awaits those who climb the 400 steps of the Torre del Mangia. From up there, your eye sweeps over the entire city, its towers, gates, narrow streets, and red brick houses

Piazza del Duomo

The Romanesque-Gothic cathedral of Siena dominates Piazza del Duomo. lf you are up to climbing 130 steps, you will be rewarded by the view from the Facciatone, or “big façade,” which would have been the front of the New Cathedral of Siena. Here is one of the highest points of the city, and all of Siena unfolds before your eyes. Another artistic jewel in this square is Santa Maria della Scala, one of the oldest hospitals in the world, and today an internationally famous cultural centre.

Il Mercato nel Campo

mercato in piazzaMore than 700 years ago the weekly market was held in the Piazza del Campo. A couple of years ago the Comune decided to evoke the ancient tradition organising a typical market in the suggestive Piazza. Every year in December the event take place. Visitors can taste and buy Pecorino, honey, Cinta Senese cold cuts and meats, saffron, vegetables and fruits. Leather, ceramic, antique furniture are also showed int he stalls. The market lasts for two days usually first week-end of December.

Il Palio – 2nd July and 16th August

palioDefinitely the best-known and most exciting traditional Italian festival and the only one to have taken place, without interruption, from the 14th century until today. Initially the Palio took place only on July 2nd, in honour of the Madonna di Provenzano, and was run through the city streets without any particular rules. In the 18th century, the race began to be held on August 16th as well, in honour of the Madonna of the Assumption, and rules were established which still apply today. The 17 quarters “Contrade” which Siena is divided into can enter for the Palio, but horses from only ten quarters, drawn by lot, actually race. There’s a magnificent procession in costume before the race featuring the famous flag-throwers from each contrada.

To book your villa near Siena contact Tuscan Views. 

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Montepulciano is not just a wine!

Montepulciano is a lovely medieval and Renaissance hill town of Southern Tuscany.

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Montepulciano 3The main Corso that goes from Porta al Prato to the Piazza Grande is a wonderful walk (make sure to wear comfortable shoes). The Piazza is one of the most beautiful of Tuscany and the Corso is full of lovely shops and “enoteca” where you can taste the “Nobile” and “Rosso” di Montepulciano

The most important buildings face each other across the beautiful Piazza Grande. Sit on the steps of the Duomo to relax after the walk up to the Piazza and enjoy the Town Hall on your left, designed by Michelozzo in the tradition of Piazza della Signoria, Florence.

pozzo grifi

The amazing Palazzo Nobili Tarugi in front of you, it is entirely in travertine, with a portico and the Pozzo dei Grifi e dei Leoni next to it. If you’re brave enough climb the Town Hall tower to see the Piazza from above and the three lakes of the Val di Chiana on the horizon.

Cathedral – Facing the Palazzo Tarugi it has a simple Mannerist façade with a three-arcade portico. The interior has a single nave, and houses a precious terracotta altar by Andrea della Robbia.

montepulciano fortezza

Fortezza – A few steps from Piazza Grande there’s the massive, imposing Fortezza surrounded by a lovely Italian garden. It is probably one of the oldest buildings in the city, it was built on the site of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to god Mercury. Today has been partially restored and has become an important cultural centre. The garden is a lovely area to sit down and rest after you’ve walked all the way up to the Piazza.

Montepulciano

San Biagio – The Sanctuary of San Biagio has become an architectural symbol of Montepulciano., designed by Antonio da Sangallo the elder. The imposing centrally planned travertine stone sanctuary, the principal facade flanked by two bell towers (one incomplete) and the perfect dome combine to make this an ideal example of the architectural theories of the Renaissance.

Make a stop in the garden surrounding the Church to relax and enjoy beautiful views.

Bravio B&W

On the last Sunday of august Montepulciano is home of a delightful game: The Bravio delle Botti

Wine barrels are rolled up along the narrow streets of this lovely town.

A day in Florence

Florence is the heart of renaissance, an open air museum that you can easily walk.

Florence

florence -mercato centraleWe always recommend our guests and friends a tour of the Mercato Centrale, the food market where Florentine go to shop. It is a lovely experience and it’s a great place to take very nice pictures and buy great food.

prosciuttoWe have many guests that have been to Florence various time and we like to suggest them a different view of the city with  a “gastronomic tour” followed by a cooking class or private visit to Vasari Corridor or other places that are less accessible to tourists.

But we know that even if you just decide to walk around you’ll have a wonderful day full of memories as fantastic Art and great Food can be founded on each corner of this enchanting city.

Duomo

Piazza del Duomo with the imposing Duomo, is the symbol of Florence, a daring and majestic structure from the top of which you will get a wonderful panoramic view of the city, and also of the interior of the Cathedral. Beside the façade stands another giant, Giotto’s campanile (bell tower), slender and many-coloured, also affording a fine view of the city.

florence - signoriaWalking through Via dei Calzaiuoli you’ll reach the enchanting Piazza della Signoria dominated by the fourteenth century Palazzo Vecchio with its high tower, it is surrounded by other important buildings: the Loggia della Signoria and the Palazzo degli Uffizi on the south side, the sixteenth century Palazzo degli Uguccioni on the north side and the Palazzo del Tribunale di Mercanzia (about 1359) on the east side.

Pass next to the Uffizi Gallery to reach the Arno and take some nice shots of Ponte Vecchio. A walk on the bridge is a must to see the beautiful antique jewels shops.

ponte vecchio

At this time you must be tired and hungry, our suggestion is to stop for a quick-lunch at Ristoro Dei Perditempo (our favorite for informal meal) sit by the window that overlook the Arno and Ponte Vecchio and enjoy some delicious food.

DSCN0010DSCN0015

DSCN0001_3There are various option for the afternoon, perhaps you just want to go back and do some shopping or you can climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy a beautiful view of Florence or get lost in the Boboli Garden.

View from sitting room

View from sitting room

If you wish to stay in Florence and enjoy the beauty of this city for more than one day we highly recommend our beautiful apartment Duomo to have your private room with a view…

For info an booking contact Tuscan Views.