Places to visit




Siena, chief town of the homonymous province, is one of the Tuscan towns capable of enchanting the tourists that here come from all over the world. It is known for its artistic patrimony and for the stylistic unity of its medieval urban architecture, as well as for its famous “Palio”; as a matter of fact since 1995 Siena’s town centre has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On 2nd July and on 16th August in Siena, in Piazza del Campo, there is the traditional Palio, a bareback riding race among the different <<contrade>> that is capable of monopolizing the attention of the whole town for days. Palio is not only a historic manifestation or the commemoration of an ancient medieval joust, but it is the expression of a very old and deep-rooted tradition. It is the result of a careful organization carried out by the <<contrade>> that have an intense social and associative life during the whole year.  There are 17 <<contrade>> in all (Aquila, Bruco, Chiocciola, Civetta, Drago, Giraffa, Istrice, Leocorno, Lupa, Nicchio, Oca, Onda, Pantera, Selva, Tartuca, Torre e Valdimontone), ten of which take part to the Palio (for example in July);  the 7 <<contrade>> that did not run the race of the year before are bound to do it the following year and about one month before the Palio of July three <<contrade>> are drawn by lot among those that had already run the previous season, so that the districts taking part to the manifestation are always ten. The same rules count for the Palio in August (the drawing for August usually takes place on the Sunday following the Palio in July).

The Palio always attracts lots of tourists and is broadcasted by many TV networks.

The horse is carefully trained all year long. During the 96 hours of the Palio it is watched at sight since it is the only one that can take the so-called <<cencio” (recognition of the victory) to the <<contrada>>. It is the horse that represents the <<contrada>> by means of the so-called <<spennacchiera>> (the cockade with the colors of the <<contrada>> placed on the forehead of the animal). It is the horse that wins the Palio even thogh <<scosso>> ( that is without its jockey). In Radicondoli there is a boarding-house for all the Palio horses that cannot run anymore due to either accidents or old age. Another detail helps understanding the veneration that the Sieneses have for this animal: the name of none of horses that have been taking place to the race is ever forgotten and graves are built for the more victorious ones so that people can always pay homage to these disappeared runners (for example the tomb of Brandano, a mythic hors of Siena  recent past)

Interesting places:

Piazza del Duomo: Duomo, Battistero di San Giovanni, Chiesa della SS. Annunziata.
Piazza del Campo: the square, the Town Hall Palace, the Torre del Mangia, the Square Chapel and the Gaia Fountain.
Piazza San Giovanni: the Magnifico Palace, Pandolfo Petrucci’s house, with its beautiful frescos by Pinturicchio, Luca Signorelli and Girolamo Genga.
Costa di Sant'Antonio: Sanctuary and house of Santa Caterina from Siena, patron of Italy.


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It is a small village of Longobard origins, about 30 km south-west from the town of Siena, along the road to Massa Marittima. In the church of San Michael the Archangel the presumed relics of San Galgano’s head are preserved.

Interesting places:

Near Chiusdino, one cannot miss the opportunity of visiting San Galgano Abbey and Montesiepi Hermitage.
Abbey: San Galgano Abbey was built starting from 1218 in Gothic-Cistercian architectonic style. The building is imposing and witnesses the spread of the veneration for San Galgano. In the 14th century the abbey reached a great power also thanks to the immunities and privileges granted by various emperors, such as Frederic II, and to lots of donations; moreover Pope Innocent III accorded it the exemption from the tithe payment.  
Hermitage: also known by the name of <<Rotonda>> it is a round-shaped building preserving the sword that San Galgano stuck in the stone. The metallographic inquiry started by Prof. Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia in 17th January 2001 has demonstrated that the sword is an authentic weapon of the 12th century.





Thanks to the medieval architecture of its town centre San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. San Gimignano has kept its original structure intact in spite of some nineteenth-century restorations. As a matter of fact it is one of the best examples of urban organization of the communal age all over Europe. San Gimignano is famous for its 15 medieval towers still rising above its landscape so that it has been nicknamed “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”. Of the 72 towers and houses existing in the golden age of the Commune, 25 were left in 1580 and today only 14 can still be seen, besides some top-less others spreading all around. The oldest one is the Rognosa tower, 51-m high, while the highest is the <<Torre del Podestà>>, that is also called <<Torre Grossa>>, of 54 meters.


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Volterra is a town in the province of Pisa. Famous for the quarrying and working of alabaster, Volterra keeps Etruscan remains in its town centre (such as its perfectly preserved <<Porta all’Arco>> and the so called <<Porta Diana>> ) together with Roman ruins and medieval buildings such as the Cathedral and the Priors’ Palace on the homonymous square. On the third and forth Sunday of August a medieval commemoration takes place in Volterra known by the name of “A.D. 1398”. On the first Sunday of September there is the Astiludio: a series of challenges among four teams (one of Volterra and three of surrounding towns) of flag players.

Interesting places:

Volterra Cathedral, Baptistery of San Giovanni, Priors’ Palace, Medicean Fortress, Roman Theatre, Etruscan Museum Guarnacci, Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, Ecomuseum of Alabaster.



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Fiorenza in poetic Italian (Florence), is the chief town of the homonymous province and of the Tuscany region, of which it is the biggest and most densely populated urban centre as well as an important place from a historic, artistic, fair and economic point of view.

With its historic university, Florence is considered to be the motherland of Renaissance and cradle of art and architecture, besides being world-wide famous as one of the most beautiful towns of the planet. Thanks to its numerous monuments and museums (including the Cathedral, the Baptistery, Santa Croce, the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti) is one of the most beautiful and important tourist localities in Italy and all over the world.

Florence is an important congress and fair centre, too. A lot of manifestations such as Pitti Immagine and the International market-show of handicraft take place within the exposition centre of Florence Fair, including the Fortezza da Basso, the Palazzo dei Congressi and the Palazzo degli Affari. Other events are usually organized in the multifunctional structure of Parterre, opposite Piazza della Libertà (that at Christmas is changed into an ice-skating floor) and in the polyvalent space of the Stazione Leopolda (that is now an exposition and congress structure), as well as in the big Nelson Mandela Forum.


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During the year there are many cultural and folkloristic manifestations, the most important being:
-    the Explosion of the Cart: a ceremony taking place in the Easter morning and dating back to the far-off time of the first crusade, that was proclaimed in order to free the Holy Sepulchre from the unfaithful hand.  
-    the Florentine Musical May, one of the most prestigious artistic manifestations;
-    Florentine kick game: taking place in June in Piazza Santa Croce;
-    Saint Ann ‘s Feast taking place on 26th July with the historic cortege;
-    the Rificolona Feast on 7th September, that in the liturgical calendar is the eve of Mary’s nativity.

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