This stunning medieval town is simply not to be missed. The magnificent fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is the heart of the city’s ancient parishes which compete with each other in the famous Palio – a heady mix of medieval pomp, pageantry and passion, culminating in a crazy, bareback horse race around the Campo. The city’s main sights, including the extraordinary black and white striped cathedral, plus shops, ice cream parlours and restaurants, are clustered close to the square in a maze of narrow medieval streets.
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Traditional Sienese specialities include Panzanella, a salad of soaked bread, tomatoes, onion and basil. Pappardelle con la Lepre, ribbon pasta with hare. Panforte, cake of fruit, almonds and honey. Ribollita, Bean, vegetables and bread soup.
Traditional trattorias, Pizzerias, Seafood, Delis, Cafes and Gelaterias.
Despite its large vicinity, Siena nightlife is generally low-key. The evenings can be spent relaxing in cosy bars and listening to live music. Take a stroll around the city’s cobbled streets and take in the surrounding atmosphere..
Built on seven hills, the city features a network of narrow cobbled streets and alleyways. At its centre, the Piazza del Campo is undoubtably known as the heart and social centre of the city. Built on the site of a former Roman marketplace, the piazza floor is sloped so you will find many locals and tourists spend time just sitting and watching the world. The piazza features the Fonte Gaia, a rectangular fountain decorated with statues.
The Museo Civico, Siena's most famous museum is located within the Palazzo Pubblico and occupies a number of formal state rooms on the upper floors.
Museo dell 'Opera Metropolitana is a museum built into the unfinished section of the Duomo and features pieces of artwork that previously adorned the cathedral.
Siena's popular art gallery, Pinacoteca Nazionale, is located within a 14th century palace, the Palazzo Buonsignori. The gallery showcases important and gothic works by the Sienese school.
The Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra is a small gallery home to a number of fantastic paintings and is located on the Piazza San Francesco.
Also worth a visit is the Palazzo Piccolomini, a museum in possession of the 13th century paintings and ledgers known as Tavolette di Biccherna.
Siena's Duomo, or cathedral, is a must see while in Siena. The Duomo, known as one of the most spectacular Duomos in Italy, features a stunning red, green and white polychrome facade.
Why not also view the Cripta, Crypt, and Battistero di San Giovanni, baptistry, at the Duomo, as well as the Panorama del Facciatone for some fantastic panoramic views after climbing the 131 steps to the top.
The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana, is situated on Piazza San Domenico. This gothic style church contains several relics of St.Catherine of Siena.
The Palazzo Pubblico is possibly the most iconic building in Siena and has been the town hall since the 13th century. At 102 meters high the bell tower, also known as the Torre del Mangia, boasts 500 plus steps and is the second tallest medieval tower to be built in Italy. Climbing to the top provides outstanding views of Siena and the surrounding area.
Pisa is a city located on the right of the mouth of the river Arno and is the home of the University of Pisa and many research schools. The centre of the city offers vibrant cafes, bars and a lively street atmosphere, or alternatively a large collection of Romanesque buildings, Renaissance piazzas and churches can be found giving all visitors lots to see and do. However the real reason millions of people visit the city each year is for its famous Leaning Tower. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is also partnered by the Duomo (cathedral), the Baptistry and the Campo Santo cemetery situated on the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles).
The Leaning Tower:
Construction of this uniquely breath-taking tower, also known as the campanile (bell tower) for the Duomo (cathedral), began back in 1173 but had to stop due to the structure starting to tilt after the third storey was completed. Work continued despite the lean and was fully completed in 1350. Open to the public, today a small number of visitors at a time can climb the 294 steps to the top.
Many other sights in Pisa include the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the Museo delle Sinopie and the Piazza dei Cavalieri.
While in Tuscany, a trip to Florence is an absolute must. The city is known to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and possibly the most beautiful city in Italy. Florence boasts hundreds of local restaurants and shops as well as an overwhelming amount of museums, galleries and stunning architecture.
Some of these tourist sites include:
Possibly the most iconic building in Florence, the Duomo (or cathedral of Florence) dominates the city with its enormous dome. A visit to this magnificent cathedral wouldn’t be complete or fully appreciated without climbing its 463 interior stone steps to the top, where views of the surrounding city can be enjoyed. Located in the Piazza del Duomo, this cathedral complex also includes the Campanile and Bapistery, with the Bapistery being one of Florence’s oldest buildings. The Campanile (bell tower) contains 414 steps to the top and offers the reward of a view nearly as impressive as that from the dome. Together these buildings form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Known to be among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany, this medieval palace was completed in 1322 and boasts a striking campanile (bell tower) that reaches 94 meters high. The palazzo overlooks the Piazza della Signoria, a piazza showcasing a unique outdoor sculpture gallery with statues highlighting major events in the city’s history.
The Uffizi gallery is among the oldest and most famous art museum in Europe and possibly the world. This gallery is situated in Piazzale degli Uffizi and is overflowing with Renaissance masterpieces, including: ‘The Birth of Venus’ (1485) by Botticelli, ‘The Venus of Urbino’ (1538) by Titian and ‘Dukes of Urbino’ (1460) by Piero della Franesca to name a few.
A medieval bridge, built in 1345 that crosses the Arno river. The bridge is Florence’s oldest and is noted for still featuring shops built along it. Currently the shops are let to jewellers, souvenir sellers and art dealers.
An art museum in Florence that is most famously known as the home of Michelangelo’s sculpture, David. The museum also showcases a collection of Renaissance paintings.
Many other sights in Florence include the Palazzo Pitti, Basilica of Santa Croce, Boboli Gardens, Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and the Basilica di San Lorenzo to name a few.
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