Forte dei Marmi

June 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today Forte dei Marmi is the most elegant tourist resort on the entire Versiglia coast and is, without doubt, one of the most famous vacation spots in Italy. This town known in antiquity solely as the point of arrival for precious marbles from the Apuans, is now famous for development of its tourist facilities in the 1900s. But one sign of its obscure past still remains, the Fort, built by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo around the end of the 18th century to defend the zone from barbarian incursions.

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Torre del Lago

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

The small town became famous in the early 1900s due to the presence here of the Luccan composer Giacomo Puccini, who built his residence on the shores of the lake. Today his villa lies only a few meters from do water and contains musical and hunting mementos of the master in the dusky rooms, furnished in the Art Nouveau style then in fashion. The bust in the srml square overlooking the lake is also dedicated to Puccini. Every summer in Torre del Lago there is an interesting musical event, the Puccini festival, during which thaw are open air performances of the great composer’s most famous operas.

Fiesole

April 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

This ancient city of Etruscan origins lies at the top of  a hill overlooking Florence. The town centers around the lowly Piazza Mino da Fiesole with the large Cathedral of S. Romolo dating to the 11th century, contains the important Cappella Salutati, frescoed in the 15th century by Cosimo Rosselli and the of Bishop Salutati by Mino da Fiesole. The Palazzo Vescovile (11th century) and the old Church of Santa Maria Primerana lie across from the Cathedral. From here one can go up towards the Church and the Franciscan Convent (14th century), which houses the Ethnographic Mission Museum which contains important Etruscan material. It is but a short walk from the piazza to the Museo Civico Archeologico and the lovely Roman Theater dating to the first century B.C. where important theatral and cinematographic manifestations are held. Nearby are the Roman Baths and the Etrusco-Roman Temple. Not to be forgotten is the valuable Museo Bandini which houses sculpture and painting from the 13th to the 15th centuries, and the very old Basilica of San Alessandro.

Vinci

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

The town is famous above all because it is the birthplace of Leonardo, the great genius who still today is why people come to Vinci. A fine Museum has recently been installed which serves as a study center on Leonardo’s work as well and which houses numerous models of machines and contraptions made from designs by Leonardo. But the town is much older than its illustrious representative: it developed around the castle of the feudatory Counts Guidi and then in the 13th century passed under the dominion of Florence. Still today the Castle retains its 13th century appearance: inside it is decorated with coats of arms and other ornaments. Within the walls of the castle is the Church of Santa Croce, Romanesque in origin but frequently remodeled. Also of interest is the 17th century Oratory of the Santissima Annunziata, on the site of a particularly venerated shrine. Inside is an Annunciation attributed to Paolino da Pistoia.

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