November 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Some of the loveliest buildings still to be seen in Viareggio that date to the early 1900s are the Bagno Balena and the Teatro Margherita, while 19th century Viareggio is represented by the majestic Palazzo delle Muse, which overlooks Piazza Mazzini and now houses the Museo Civico Archeologico A.C. Blanc. Very little left of the old 16th century town, except for the imposing Torre Matilde, built after 1534 as a result of an ordinance by the Luccan senate. The first masonry structures of the small port were built around this defense tower. As time passed the port continued to grow in importance thanks both to commercial fishing and to ship building, activities which still today play an import part in the local economy, side by side with the flourishing resort activities. Lastly, speaking of Viareggio mention of its famous Carnival is mandatory. The imaginative floats take the masters in the art of papier ma months to make.


Montecatini Terme

August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

The city lies in a vast plain at the far end of the Val di Nievole. It is famous for its spas and has eight springs of prevalently sulphate-alkaline water, an authentic cure-all for disorders of the liver and the digestive apparatus. Particularly charming is the center of Montecatini Alto, an old castle-town situated on a hill behind Montecatini Terme.


July 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

This industrial town is also a famous seaside resort, with an extensive beach bordered by a flourishing pine grove. The Parish Church of San Leopoldo, a church which dates to 1836-38, is interesting because of the original combination of materials used in its construction – cast iron, stone and wood. The Biblioteca Comunale is also of interest for its exhibition models of 19th-century smelting installations.

Punta Ala
This rocky zone lies at the southern tip of the gulf of Follonica. This patch of land is almost untouched, with a beach of fine sand crowned by a dense Mediterranean shrub which reaches down to the sea. In the last twent:o years Punta Ala has become an exclusive residential area.

Castiglion della Pescaia
Well known seaside resort on the Maremman coast.. Castiglion della Pescaia has a lovely beach and varied cliffs along the sea. The picturesque portcanal is always full of fishing boats and yachts. There is also a fine pine grove set above the city which here and there reaches right down to the sea. Clinging to a hillside and esclosed within a solid circuit of walls, the old medieild town of Castiglione Castello is dominated by the fuse Aragonese fortress of the 14th-15th century.

Borgo a Mozzano

May 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

A small agricultural and industrial town, Borgo a Mozzano still retains interesting signs of its past including the Parrocchiale of San Jacopo, which contains some 15th-16th century sculpture and some interesting Della Robbian terra cottas; the Oratory of the Crucifix, with a fine wooden Crucifix of the 16th century, and the Church of San Francesco in Baroque style. Not far from the town is the picturesque Bridge of the Devil or Ponte della Maddalena, with a hog’s back roadbed and asymmetrical arches (14th cent.).


April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Splendid estates lie in the pleasant surroundings of Pistoia as they do around any important city. These include Villa Forti in Chiari and Villa Cecchi, known as the Guardatoia, but the finest of all is the imposing Villa Garzoni (now Gardi dell’ Ardenghesca), built between 1633 and 1662 on the site of a medieval castle in a typically Luccan Baroque style. Behind the villa lies the town of Collodi whose fame is in part due to the fact that the Florentine writer Carlo Lorenzini (1826-1890), the author of Pinocchio, used the name as his pseudonym. He passed his childhood here in the town his mother was born in. In its labyrinth of lanes, Collodi retains a medieval character, clustered around the Church that was founded in the 14th century and the ruins of the keep. Not far from Villa Garzoni, near the Osteria del Cambero Rosso, designed by Giovanni Michelucci in 1963, is the Park of Pinocchio with the monument to Pinocchio and the Fairy by Emilio Greco (1956), the Piazzetta dei Mosaici by Venturino Venturini and the Paese dei Balocchi (Land of Toys) where Pinocchio’s adventures are enacted.

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