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Itineraires

SIENA
The tipically medieval art city (by a legend founded by the Roman Remo’s sons Aschio and Senio fleeing from their uncle Romolo) is shaped like a Y on the top of the sorrounding hills and is still divided into Terzi, or Thirds (like the 3 legs of a Y): the first is known as the Third of the City, the original residential nucleus of Siena, relied on the Castelvecchio (Old Castle) for its defense, then there is the Third of Saint Martin, patron saint of pilgrims and travellers, an area formed along the Via Francigena, the pilgrims’ road towards Rome, and finally the Third of Camollia: on the arch of its walls is significantly written the sentence “Cor Magis Tibi Sena Pandit”” (“Siena opens its heart to you more than its gates”). At the very centre of the 3 Thirds there is the Piazza del Campo (Square of the Field, where in the past there was a meadow), with its famous Torre del Mangia, the Fonte Gaia (a well known marbre fountain) and the Gothic Palazzo Pubblico (City Palace), with its celebrated frescoes by Vecchietta, Simone Martini and Sodoma. The Dome or Cathedral is a wonderful building, Romanesque in the lower part and Gothic above, made by coloured marbres, decorated with an horizontal black and white strip, the “bandana”, representing the heraldic symbol of the town. Inside there is a marvellous marbre floor where are pictured many stories of the Ancient Holy Books. Here are many works by well known artists, among which we remember the “Maiesty” by Duccio di Buoninsegna, the works by Giovanni Pisano, Donatello, Arnolfo di Cambio, Michelangelo. In the same square we can admire the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, a museum where we can see many important art objects. The city is full of art, museums, palaces and churches in a charming atmosfere. The sorroundings are so picturesque, vivid and full of art, too, as well of an unequalled nature.

 

FLORENCE

So full of monuments and masterpieces, Firenze is in a hollow sorrounded by green hills all around. In its principal square we can see the wonderful cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower with the Dome by Filippo Brunelleschi. At one side there stands the Romanesque Bell tower by Giotto, decorated by the bronze doors by Ghiberti and Andrea Pisano. In Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the town, we can admire the Palace of Signoria or Palazzo Vecchio (i.e. Palace of the Seigniory or Old Palace), where is the City Administration Hall and an important Museum. In its inner courtyard we can see the fountain with a putto by Andrea Verrocchio and inside there are the frescoes by Vasari. Again in the square we can see the fourteenth century Loggia dei Lanzi, decorated by many important statues (ex.: Perseo by Benvenuto Cellini, The Rape of the Sabin women by Giambologna). Connected with Palazzo Vecchio is the Uffizi, designed and planned by Vasari in XVI century, one of the most important museums in the world. Symbol of the city is Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge), where since 1500 there are shops and workshops of goldsmiths. Across the bridge we see the fifteenth century Palazzo Pitti, sorrounded in the back by the Renaissance wonderful garden of Boboli. Not so far there is piazza Santo Spirito, sorrounded by beautiful palaces and by the church planned by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1444. We have not to forget the other well known churches, like San Lorenzo with its buildings all around, the Franciscan Saint Cross, San Maroc with the friary known for the frescoes painted there by Beato Angelico, the Dominican Santa Maria Novella designed by Leon Battista Alberti ant the church of l’Annunciata, all covered with art masterpieces. We have not to forget the palaces too: Palace Medici Riccardi, Palace Strozzi, the Palace of Bargello and the building of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, planned by Filippo Brunelleschi to send the abandoned children to. Spectacular as view are Forte Belvedere and Piazzale Brunelleschi. Last but not least, on the sorrounding hills we can see the Romanesque church of San Miniato al Monte, a masterpiece rich of harmonious coloured marbre tarsias.

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AREZZO
Arezzo rises on a panoramic site at the top of a hill. Its origin is very ancient. Actually it was an important Etrurian city and later on a Roman strategic stronghold: of this latter period we can still admire the remained amphitheatre. In the upper part of the city, so charming and romantic in its medieval atmosphere, we can see the Gothic Cathedral, where there are Piero della Francesca’s fresco “Santa Maria Maddalena”, “Saint Mary Madeleine”, and the wonderful stained-glass windows, the Middle Age towers, the so typically Renaissance Vasari’s Open Gallery, the Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici (the Brotherhood of the Lays’ Palace), summary of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the apse of Saint Mary’s Parish Church. Moreover, the Piazza Grande, i.e. the Large Square, on the next to last Saturdays in June and on the first Sundays on September becomes the scenery where there takes place the Giostra del Saracino (i.e. the Joust of the Saracen Man), a chivalric tournement of Middle Age origins. Moreover, besides the several beautiful monuments and remains all around the city, you can visit also Saint Francis’ church, when there are the most famous frescoes by Piero della Francesca, as well as Saint Dominick’s church, where you can see the famous Cross painted by Cimabue when he was young. Arezzo is so full of ancient palaces, towers, remains, churches and museums, rich of picturesque small streets and squares, romantic corners where you can enjoy the magic atmosphere, fully immersed in the farest past.

 

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