The Cathedral of San Martino is a church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. According to tradition, the cathedral was founded by San Frediano in the 6th century, then rebuilt by Anselmo da Baggio, Bishop of the city, in 1060, and finally remodeled in its current form in the 12th and 13th centuries. SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, the Church of San Martino received the title of Cathedral from the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, located nearby. The Cathedral was completely rebuilt starting with 1060, and solemnly consecrated in 1070 by Anselmo da Baggio, who at the time of the consecration was Pope Alexander II, but had also kept the title of Bishop of Lucca. In 1204, Guido Bigarelli of Como began the work on the facade. In 1372, two years after the liberation from the Pisan domination, the apse of the church and the wall of the transept were completed in Gothic style. The works were finished around 1390. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade of the church was begun in 1204 by Guido Bigarelli of Como. The facade consists of a vast portico of Read more [...]
Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), formally known as Piazza del Duomo and sometimes called Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), is the most important square of Pisa. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the square includes the monuments called miracles by Gabriele d’Annunzio for their beauty and originality: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Baptistery of San Giovanni, Campo Santo and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The square is pedestrianized and is covered by a large lawn. It assumed its definitive appearance only in the 19th century, under the direction of the architect Alessandro Gherardesca, who demolished some pre-existing buildings and restored the famous monuments. SHORT HISTORY The square as we know it began to take shape in 1063, when the new cathedral of the city named after Santa Maria Maggiore was founded. At that time, the area remained outside the walls of the city, and was included only in 1156, when an expansion of the city walls was realized by the consul Cocco Griffi. Three years before the expansion of the walls, the construction of the new Baptistery also began, this time placed in front of the church. In 1173, the construction of Read more [...]
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the monuments of the Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The baptistery stands in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, south of the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery) and about 170 meters from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. SHORT HISTORY The construction of the building began in 1152, to replace a smaller baptistery located north-east of the Cathedral, where the Camposanto is now located. It was built in Romanesque style by the architect Diotisalvi, who is also credited with the construction of the Tower of Pisa. Later, the works were conducted by Nicola Pisano, Giovanni Pisano and Cellino di Nese. In the 19th century, along with the renovation that affected the entire Piazza del Duomo and its monuments, the baptistery was the subject of a radical restoration by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. His interventions led to the reconstruction of some portals and much of the decorations. Despite the denunciations of some intellectuals and prominent personalities of the Pisan culture of the time, the works of the 19th century, directed by the master builder Giovanni Storni, led to the removal of numerous sculptures by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The original sculptures Read more [...]
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente) is a tower located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The tower is actually the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, located a few meters away. The monument, one of the most recognizable symbols of Italy, is famous around the world due to its unintended tilt. The tilt was caused by an inadequate foundation on a ground too soft to properly support the structure’s weight. SHORT HISTORY The building of the tower began on 9 August 1173. Some recent studies attribute the project to the Pisan architect Diotisalvi, who at the same time was building the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The first phase of the works was interrupted in the middle of the third floor, due to the subsidence of the land on which the bell tower stands. The softness of the soil, made up of soft clay, is the cause of the tilt of the tower and, although to a lesser extent, of all the buildings in the square. The works resumed in 1275 under the guidance of Giovanni di Simone and Giovanni Pisano, who added another three floors to the previous building. In an attempt Read more [...]
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a wonderful square in Lucca, built on the remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater, which determined its closed elliptical shape. SHORT HISTORY A large amphitheater was built here in the 1st or the 2nd century BC, under Emperor Claudius, and was finished in the Flavian period. The structure, with fifty-four arches and 18 rows of seats, could accommodate around 10,000 spectators. In the 6th century, during the Gothic Wars, under siege by the Byzantine general Narses, the amphitheatre was fortified by the closure of the outside arches. Following the shape of the ancient amphitheater, the square was born in the Middle Ages, and in this era was called parlascio, a word derived from the Latin paralisium, meaning amphitheater. Progressively, the square was filled with buildings, used as warehouses, shops or prison. In the 19th century, thanks to the architect Lorenzo Nottolini, was decided an urban renewal of the structure. The space of the arena was freed from the small buildings that crowded it and the Via dell’ Anfiteatro was built around it. The new space was used for the city market, until – in the first half of the 20th century – the market was moved Read more [...]
With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square in Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where twice a year the Palio di Siena is held, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity. SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about the square is from 1169, that speaks about the arrangement of the Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (the Market Square) as a singular area. From 1193, the area was divided in two, and until 1270, the space was used for fairs and markets. In 1262, the first measures to improve the layout of the square were taken, imposing among other things the obligation to build only mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces. The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of the Palazzo Pubblico, started in 1297 and finished in 1310. At the same time, private palaces were built in the square, Torre dell Mangia was raised between 1325 and 1344, and the square was paved in fishbone-patterned red brick and divided by eight Read more [...]
The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the of the Assumption of Saint Mary, is located in the homonymous square in the historical center of the city, being one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, a great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current cathedral replaced a first church dedicated to Saint Mary, built around the 9th century, which in turn replaced an ancient temple dedicated to Minerva. The first real information about the building of the cathedral is from 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works had begun some time before that, because the consecration tooked place, according to the tradition, on November 18, 1179. Between 1238 and 1285, the church was administered by the monks of San Galgano. From 1284 to 1297, Giovanni Pisano was responsible for the construction of the lower part of the facade, completed between 1299 and 1317 by Camaino di Crescentino, father of the sculptor Tino di Camaino. The bell-tower, at a height of 77 meters, was finished in 1313. The works were completed in 1370. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is elevated on a Read more [...]
Located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), between the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or the Duomo di Pisa, is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style, representing the tangible proof of the prestige and wealth achieved by the Maritime Republic of Pisa at its height. SHORT HISTORY The building of Pisa Cathedral was started in 1064 by the architect Buscheto, at the same time with the reconstruction of the Basilica of Saint Mark, in Venice, as part of the race between the two maritime republics to create the most beautiful and sumptuous place of worship. The cathedral was consecrated with great pomp on September 26th, 1118, by Pope Gelasius II. In the first half of the 12th century, the cathedral was enlarged under the direction of architect Rainaldo. He designed a new facade, built by the sculptors Guglielmo and Biduino. The work ended in 1180, as documented by the date on the bronze knockers made by Bonanno Pisano for the main door. Following the disastrous fire of 1595, the roof of the church was redone and the three bronze doors of the facade were executed Read more [...]
The Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter (Cattedrale di Santi Donato e Pietro) is the main catholic church in Arezzo, dominating the city from the height of San Pietro Hill. SHORT HISTORY An important event, which contributed to the construction of the cathedral, was the visit of Pope Gregorio X, which took place on December 20, 1275, returning from the Council of Lyon. The Pope, seriously ill, died in Arezzo on January 10, leaving the sum of thirty gold florins for the building of the new Cathedral. In 1277, the decree of the bishop Guglielmo degli Ubertini was promulgated, which stated the desire to build a church “to the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of the patron Saint Donato”. In 1289, the year of the Battle of Campaldino, the church, already consecrated, presented a fully built apse and the first two bays. In 1384, the sale of the Municipality of Arezzo to the Signoria of Florence led to an interruption of the construction, which was resumed in 1471 and ended in 1511. In the early 17th century, following the new rules of the Council of Trent, a modernization operation was carried out with the renewal of Read more [...]
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today it is the third in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the Commune of Florence orders the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). Two years later, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio is comissioned to design the cathedral, but he dies a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral. In the same year, he starts the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto dies. Between 1337 and 1343, the works are supervised by Andrea Pisano, but he is banished from Florence and Francesco Talenti takes his place. Talenti alters Arnolfo’s design and completes the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joins him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi wins the competition for building the cathedral’s dome, opens the construction site and, 16 years later, in 1436, the dome is completed and Read more [...]
Palazzo Pitti was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, that was inhabited, over time, by the Medici, by the Habsburg-Lorraine and, after the Unification of Italy, by the Savoy. Palazzo Pitti hosts the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriage Museum. The museal complex of Palazzo Pitti also includes the Boboli Gardens. SHORT HISTORY Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici family, wanted a more luxurious residence than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died 12 years before the construction began, and the architect that will build Palazzo Pitti will be Luca Fancelli, a pupil and collaborator of Brunelleschi. The construction was started around 1458 but, due to design problems and financial difficulties, the works were temporarily interrupted in 1465. Luca Pitti died in 1472. Around 1550, Buonaccorso Pitti sold the palace to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. The palace thus became the main Read more [...]
The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is the most visited Italian museum and the 11th art museum in the world, by the number of visits, with over 3 million visitors in 2016. Situated near the Piazza della Signoria, in the Historic Centre of Florence, the museum hosts a collection of priceless works, most of them from the period of the Italian Renaissance. SHORT HISTORY The building of the Uffizi Gallery started in 1560, under the request of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici. The original architect was Giorgio Vasari, one of the leading architects during the 15th century. The initial role of the building was to shelter the offices (uffizi), hence the name, but for the next two hundred years, the building was destined to house the art collections of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1737, the last of the Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa, decided to leave the collections belonging to her family to the city of Florence, and in 1769, the place was opened to the public, the first in Europe to be called a “museum”. ART The art inside the Uffizi includes ancient and modern paintings and sculptures, precious furnishings, clothes, jewellery, Read more [...]
Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church situated in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. Here, Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, is buried. SHORT HISTORY It is said that, in the year 1211, Saint Francis arrived in Florence. In a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross which would be donated to Saint Francis and from which the present church would take the name. The construction of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. Over time, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and epidemics, the basilica was finished at the end of the 14th century and was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugenio IV. With many difficulties, the last works were done until 1504, but then the funding came to an end and the church remained without a façade. The current façade was built in neo-gothic style between 1853 and 1863 by the architect Read more [...]
Across the river Arno, at its narrowest point, there is a bridge called Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). The bridge was built in 1345, and is the only Florentine bridge that survived World War II. SHORT HISTORY The first bridge on this place was a wooden bridge built in the year 966, that was destroyed by a flood in 1117. Reconstructed from stone, it was swept away again in 1333. Today’s bridge was built in 1335, and was attributed to Taddeo Gaddi by the architect and historian Giorgio Vasari, but its origin is still disputed. Unlike all other bridges in Florence, Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by the Germans in the World War II, apparently, because of an order from Hitler himself. ARCHITECTURE Ponte Vecchio is composed of three segmental arches: the main arch has a span of 30 meters and a 4.4 meters height, and the two side arches each span 27 meters and have a height of 3.5 meters. Since the 13th century, shops have been built on the bridge. At first, there were all sorts of shops, from butchers to fishmongers, but in 1593, Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decreed that only goldsmiths Read more [...]
B&B Wanderlust is a bed and breakfast in Pisa, located about 1.2 kilometers away from the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. At Wanderlust, each unit has a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher, oven, microwave, toaster, fridge and a little terrace. The B&B offers a continental or buffet breakfast. There is also an on-site restaurant, which serves a variety of Italian dishes. HOW TO GET THERE B&B Wanderlust is located about 1.8 kilometers away from the Pisa Centrale railway station and about 3 kilometers away from the Galileo Galilei Airport. The closest bus station is Buonarroti 3, located about 140 meters away, on the bus Lines 4, LAM Verde and Navetta E.
Piccolo Hotel Puccini is a 3-star hotel in Lucca, located within the ancient walls of the city, about 40 meters away from the Piazza San Michele and the Church of San Michele in Foro. The hotel has simply furnished rooms with private bathroom, satellite TV, WiFi access and safe. The hotel is located in a limited-traffic area. The staff can advise on nearby parking facilities, tours and restaurants. HOW TO GET THERE The hotel is located about 950 meters away from the Lucca train station, or about 15 minutes on foot. The closest bus station is San Salvatore, on the bus Line LAM Verde, located about 150 meters away.
B&B Relais Inn Lucca is a bed & breakfast located within the ancient walls of Lucca, about 270 meters away from the main square of the city, Piazza Napoleone, and about 600 meters away from the Cathedral of San Martino. All the rooms have a private bathroom, wi-fi service, TV, hair-drier and air conditioning. Breakfast is prepared with care, served in a large common area with a rich buffet. On request, the B&B can organize transfers from and to the airport of Pisa, the railway station, or excursions to Florence or Pisa. HOW TO GET THERE The B&B is located about 700 meters away from the Lucca train station. The closest bus station is San Girolamo, located about 300 meters away, on the bus Lines 5, LAM Blu and LAM Verde.
Hotel Alla Corte degli Angeli is a 4-star hotel in Lucca, located within the ancient walls of the city, about 200 meters away from the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and about 650 meters away from the Cathedral of San Martino. The hotel has 10 elegantly decorated rooms, with frescoes on the walls and some of them with wood beamed ceilings. Each room, named after a flower, has a shower or a whirlpool bathtub, mini-bar, telephone, air conditioning, WiFi and LCD TV. The hotel has also a bar and a 24-hour reception. HOW TO GET THERE The Hotel Alla Corte degli Angeli is located about 1.2 kilometers away from the Lucca train station. The closest bus station is Battisti, on the bus Line LAM Verde, located about 80 meters away.
The Church of Santa Maria Forisportam, or the Church of Santa Maria Bianca, is a church located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. Forisportam comes from the Latin foris portam, which means outside the gate, due to the location of a first church built on this place during the Roman times, outside the ancient walls of the city. Bianca (white) comes from the white marble facade of the church. SHORT HISTORY In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt and incorporated within the medieval walls of Lucca. The church was modeled after the Cathedral of Pisa. The bell tower was built in 1619, and other restoration works were carried out during the 18th and 19th centuries. From 1512 until the Napoleonic suppression, the church was affiliated with the Canonici Regolari of San Salvatore of Bologna. In 1819, the Canonici returned, and in 1823 they fused with the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi into a single order. ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the facade of the church, the first order is articulated by blind arcades supported by semi-columns of Pisan imitation. Also on the facade, we can find three portals with architraves decorated with classical motifs. The second order Read more [...]
The Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 120 meters away from the Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace and about the same from the Teatro del Giglio. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, and was the Cathedral of Lucca until the 8th century, when the role was given to the nearby Church of San Martino. However, after the change, the baptismal font was kept in the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, and the two holy places remained inseparably linked. In the 12th century, a new edifice replaced the old church. The new church, with three naves supported by columns with composite capitals, with apse and transept, wasn’t so different from the early Christian structure. The baptistery was also rebuilt in the 12th century, but the most important renovation works were made in 1393, when it was covered with an ogival dome. Starting with the end of the 16th century and throughout the first two decades of the following century, a new renovation was carried out. During this time, the new facade was built, reusing for the Read more [...]
Teatro del Giglio is one of the oldest public theaters in Italy, located in Piazza del Giglio, in Lucca. The theater was called Teatro Pubblico or Teatro Nazionale until 1819, and starting with that year it took the name of del Giglio in honor of the Bourbon dynasty, whose coat of arms bears three golden lilies (gigli). SHORT HISTORY In 1672, the expansion of the art of theater led the Council of the Republic of Lucca to promote the project of a new theater. The theater was built on the site of the ancient convent of the Jesuits, located near the Church of San Girolamo. Two and a half years later, on January 14, 1675, the new Teatro del Giglio was inaugurated. Organized on three tiers of boxes and with two entrances, the building was designed by Francesco Buonamici and built by the architect Maria Giovanni Padreddio. On February 16, 1688, the theater burned to the ground. The structure was rebuilt in 1692 after the original project, with the addition of the ceiling frescoes by Angelo Livoratti and a new stage designed by Silvano Barbati. Between 1754 and 1799, the year of the fall of the Republic of Lucca, Read more [...]
Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), known once as the Palazzo degli Illustrissimi Signori (Palace of the Illustrious Lords) and today as the Palazzo della Provincia (Palace of the Province), is a palace located in Piazza Napoleone, in Lucca. SHORT HISTORY Until the rise of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca, in the first years of the 14th century, the seat of the government of the Republic was located in Piazza San Michele. Castracani built the vast Augusta Fortress, in which he moved the entire administrative power of the city. The huge complex of Augusta Fortress, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by population in 1370, after the Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, gave the Republic its freedom. With the new lordship of Paolo Guinigi, a new fortress called Cittadella di Lucca was built on the ruins of the former Fortezza Augusta. In 1430, after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, the Citadel was destroyed as well, but the restored republican government preserved the palace that belonged originally to Castruccio, for its headquarters. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Palazzo Pubblico grew without a precise design, with the progressive addition of new buildings. Read more [...]
Piazza Napoleone, commonly known as Piazza Grande, is the main square of Lucca, the place where every year in July is held one of the most important music festivals in Italy, the Lucca Summer Festival. SHORT HISTORY In this area was built the vast Augusta Fortress, residence of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca in the first half of the 14th century. The huge complex, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by the population in 1370. Subsequently, the ruins of the Fortezza Augusta were restored by Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca, at the beginning of the 15th century, to create a new defensive structure. The new architectural complex was called Cittadella di Lucca, but it was partially destroyed as well after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, in 1429. Finally, on the ashes of the Citadel, the Palazzo Ducale was built, a palace which is still present today. The square was built in 1806, during the Napoleonic domination, by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, sister of the Emperor Napoleon. This is the reason why the square was named after the French emperor. Under the direction of the architect Giovanni Lazzarini and of the French Pierre-Theodore Bienimé, the square began Read more [...]
Palazzo Roncioni is a palace located on the northern bank of the Arno river, in Pisa, adjacent to the Palazzo Toscanelli and about 100 meters away from the Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 17th century, by merging several medieval buildings. In 1662, the original owners, the Navarette family, sold it to the Roncioni family. In 1789, Angiolo Roncioni, passionate about art, hired the painter Giovanni Battista Tempesti to paint frescoes on the walls and vaulted ceilings of the palace, and J.B. Desmarais to paint family portraits. In 1794, Angiolo Roncioni and Andrea Agostini created the Roncioni Academy, a cultural circle where famous artists were invited, and where the most advanced theatrical texts of the period were presented. In 1795, the owner comissioned the architect Alessandro Gherardesca to build a small theater in the palace. The Count Vittorio Alfieri, the founder of the Italian tragedy, stayed there in the same year, when he was invited to recite his work Saul during the period of Luminara di San Ranieri. In 1816, the writer Madame de Staël lived in the palace, and later Louis Bonaparte – the brother of Napoleon, and Read more [...]
Palazzo dell’Opera is a palace located on the north-eastern area of Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa, to the east of Campo Santo and to the north of Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Until the first years of the 21st century, the palace housed the headquarters of the Opera della Primaziale Pisana, which is the entity that manages the Cathedral of Pisa and the monumental complex of Piazza dei Miracoli. Currently, it only holds some offices for the technical staff and, since 2014, it hosts temporary art exhibitions. SHORT HISTORY The main body of the building, which still maintains its original facade, dates back to 1309, while the expansions date back to the 18th century. The building was in fact the residence of the various workers of the cathedral complex: the tailor, the gardener, the bell ringers, until the 19th century, when the administration offices of the Opera della Primaziale were brought in the palace. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade shows a Medici coat of arms and marble panels with the initials of the Opera del Duomo, as well as an 18th-century plaque commemorating the stay of Charles VIII of France in Read more [...]
The Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri, popularly known as the Church of San Vito, is a church located on the Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, in Pisa, in which, according to tradition, Saint Rainerius, the patron saint of the city, died in 1160. SHORT HISTORY Documented since 1051, the church was surrounded by a Benedictine monastery in 1069. At the beginning of the 15th century, the whole complex passed to the nuns of Santa Chiara. A century later, the church was damaged during the Florentine siege of the city. In 1542, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to realize the Giardino dei Semplici, now the Botanical Garden of Pisa, needed the area of the old Republican Arsenal and the adjacent territory. Subsequently, to build the new shipyard, he purchased the entire territory of the Convent of San Vito and had a large part of the building demolished. The ancient church was seriously damaged during the bombings of the Second World War. Therefore, after the war, it was rebuilt in similar forms to those of the 18th century. ARCHITECTURE The church, crammed between two other buildings, has a simple plastered facade, with a portal surmounted by an arched Read more [...]
Palazzo Reale is a palace located on the Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, in Pisa, now hosting the National Museum of the Royal Palace. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) was built in 1583 by Bernardo Buontalenti for Francesco I de’ Medici, to replace the Medici Palace located near the Church of San Matteo. The palace was built by merging some medieval buildings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and partly still visible – that of the Counts Gaetani of Terriccio, Pomaya and d’Oriseo (the Tower of the Verga d’Oro and the Tower of the Canton), and was remodeled several times, during the 17th and 19th centuries. On an alley behind the palace, we can see the round arches of a medieval building, now lowered due to the rising of the floor, and from the courtyard, we can see an ancient tower, with an arched portal, two small windows with a pentagonal architrave and a single-lancet window higher up. On the ground floor of the courtyard, we can also see the remains of a loggia, with two columns with capitals, partially abraded. The Medici court met here mainly in winter, and among its guests were the scientists Galileo Galilei Read more [...]
Palazzo Agostini, commonly known as Palazzo dell’Ussero or Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace), is one of the most beautiful palaces in Pisa and one of the main examples of Gothic architecture in Tuscany. The palace, belonging to the noble family Agostini Fantini Venerosi della Seta Gaetani Bocca Grassi, is home to the Caffè dell’Ussero starting with 1775, and houses the Cinema Lumière since 1899. SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 14th century, the Astajo family built their palace by merging two older buildings. In 1447, the heirs of Jacopo and Filippo Astajo ceded the palace to Antonio Primi. Later, the palace passed to the Florentine family Visdomini who, on 25 January 1465, ceded it to the brothers Antonio and Pietro, Pisan goldsmiths. In 1496, the palace was bought by Mariano and Pietro Agostini, belonging to a family of mercantile origin, specialized in the silk trade. The palace was restored in 1895 on a project of the architect Angelo Giannini. On May 12, 1895, the roof was added by Luigi Corona, on a design of the architect Luigi Del Moro. ARCHITECTURE The facade, covered in terracotta tiles with a characteristic reddish color, from which the palace draws its Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Cristina is a church located on the southern bank of the Arno river, on the Lungarno Gambacorti, in Pisa, a few meters away from the Palazzo Blu. SHORT HISTORY The church is documented since the 8th century, but the external apsidal structures are attributed to the 10th century. The church was destroyed by a flood in 1115 and rebuilt in 1118. From the 13th to the 16th century, it was the property of the Canonici del Duomo. The Count Luigi Archinto, member of a prominent Milanese family, moved to Pisa in the late 18th century, and in 1814 he acquired the Agnello palace adjacent to the church. The Count Archinto commissioned the reconstruction of the church, which was in a very poor conservation. The church was restored in its current form in 1816 on a project by Francesco Riccetti, when the bell tower was also built. In 1854, according to the project of Lanfranco Mei regarding the enlargement of the Lungarno Gambacorti, the position of the church was in a strong contrast with the harmony of the nearby buildings. Saved by the proposal of demolition, it was decided to rectify the rectory overlooking the river. Read more [...]
Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi is a palace located in Pisa, on the Lungarno Gambacorti, near the Church of Santa Cristina. The palace has recently become known as the Palazzo Blu (Blue Palace), because of the restored color of its plasterwork. SHORT HISTORY On November 14, 1356, Doge Giovanni Dell’Agnello, owner of some properties in the area, obtained permission to enlarge some of his buildings, thus raising the first nucleus of the palace, a structure composed of large pillars, with two or more modules, joined to form ogival arches, filled with bricks and decorated with single mullioned windows. During the first Florentine domination, between 1406 and 1494, the building underwent considerable changes, due to the decline of the Dell’Agnello family. Passed to the Municipality at the end of the 14th century, it became the property of the Republic of Florence, which used it as the headquarters for the five supervisors of the occupied city, until it was given back to Giovan Bernardino Dell’Agnello. Towards the end of the 16th century, the complex was transformed by the families of Sancasciano and Del Testa. It was precisely Emilio Del Testa, who in 1593 radically transformed the building to a sumptuous late-Renaissance palace, Read more [...]
Piazza dei Cavalieri is, after the more famous Piazza dei Miracoli, the second most important square of the city of Pisa. In ancient times, the square represented the center of civil power, while starting from the second half of the 16th century it became the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, commissioned by the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. SHORT HISTORY Starting with 1140, Piazza dei Cavalieri became the heart of the municipality of Pisa, with buildings and churches used by the different magistrates of the city. After the seizure of power by the Pisan people in 1254, it was built by merging pre-existing buildings the Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders), today the Palazzo della Carovana. The Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided in the nearby Palazzo dell’Orologio, which belonged to the Gualandi family and incorporated the famous Tower of Muda or Della Fame, where in 1289 the Count Ugolino died. The works for the complete transformation of the square began in 1558, after Cosimo I decided to dedicate it to the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen, founded with papal approval in 1562. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to Read more [...]
Palazzo della Canonica is a palace dating from the 16th century, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, in Pisa, near the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, across the square from the Palazzo della Carovana. SHORT HISTORY In 1567, Cosimo I de’ Medici donated the medieval buildings standing between Via Ulisse Dini and Via San Frediano, to provide quarters for the important and influential division of the priests of the Order of Knights of Saint Stephen. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to design the palace, along with the whole new layout of the square, and David Fortini was the architect to built it. The works on the building lasted over forty years, because most of the funds available were directed to the construction of the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The interventions continued until the 17th century. Between 1604 and 1607, the rooms on the top floor were built, which were renovated between 1690 and 1692, with further additions at the middle of the 19th century. ARCHITECTURE The long facade of the palace closely resembles that of the Palazzo della Carovana. Three rows of windows define its facade as a whole, masking the differences between the medieval buildings joined Read more [...]
The Church of San Francesco is a church dating from the 13th century, located in Piazza San Francesco, in Pisa. SHORT HISTORY Mentioned for the first time in a document from 1233, the church was rebuilt starting with 1261 at the behest of the archbishop Federico Visconti. Between 1265 and 1270, the works were directed by Giovanni di Simone. During this time, the slender bell-tower was also built. The new church included many private chapels belonging to noble Pisan families. The chapels, which preserve ancient tombs, were built and adorned by the Pisan families, who exercised the right of patronage on the church, while the Franciscan monks only limited themselves to the administration of the cult. Two new cloisters and the San Bernardino chapel were added in the 15th century. The marble facade dates back to 1603, and the interior was renovated in the same 17th century. In 1863, following a law of December 1861, the church and convent were deconsecrated and converted to military barracks. All the objects, paintings and ornaments were therefore withdrawn by the families, who exercised their patronage rights. On 7 July 1866, the church was transformed into a warehouse. On 22 May 1893, the Read more [...]
Palazzo Lanfreducci, also called Palazzo alla Giornata or Palazzo Upezzinghi, after the 19th century owners, is a Mannerist or early Baroque-style palace on the Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, in Pisa. The building is now the seat of the Rectorate of the University of Pisa. SHORT HISTORY Built at the behest of Francesco Lanfreducci, Knight of Malta and exponent of an important and ancient family of Pisa from the 13th century, the palace owes its present appearance to the Sienese architect Cosimo Pugliani, who suprevised the works between 1594 and the early 17th century. The Pisans called it Palazzo alla Giornata, inspired by the motto chosen by its owner. One of the many legends raised by the enigmatic motto alla Giornata (on the day of the battle) tells that, after a long imprisonment in Algiers, the Knight Lanfreducci placed that inscription above the door as a reflection on the precariousness of life. Behind the palace, there was a church called San Biagio delle Catene, owned by the Lanfreducci family. Torre dei Lanfreducci (Tower of Lanfreducci) is one of Pisa’s best preserved medieval towers, located in the internal courtyard of the palace. The tower, with a rectangular plan, was built in two Read more [...]
Ponte di Mezzo, commonly known as the Ponte Conte Ugolino, is a bridge over the Arno river, in Pisa. The bridge connects Piazza Garibaldi, belonging to Tramontana, the northern part of the city, to Piazza XX Settembre, located south of the river, in Mezzogiorno. Every year, on the last Saturday of June, a historical reenactment event takes place on the Ponte di Mezzo, known as the Battle of the Bridge (Gioco del Ponte). SHORT HISTORY Until the 12th century, Pisa had only one bridge, made initially of wood, which connected the two banks of the Arno river in the position where currently is the Church of Santa Cristina. In 1035, the year of the victory of Lipari, the wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone and moved further east, where currently stands the Ponte di Mezzo. The bridge was restored by the order of Pietro Gambacorta in 1388, owner of the homonymous palace. In 1635, the bridge, known at the time as Ponte Vecchio, collapsed due to a flood of the Arno. The reconstruction work took about thirty years, and the bridge was completed in 1660. In the early decades of the 20th century, Pisa’s tram network went into service, Read more [...]
Palazzo dell’Orologio (Palace of the Clock) is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the more famous Palazzo della Carovana and about 100 meters away from the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavaleri. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo dell’Orologio is an ancient medieval building where the Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided from 1357, when the palace already belonged to the Gualandi family. When the palace was built, it incorporated the famous Torre della Muda (or della Fame – Tower of Hunger) where in 1289 the Count Ugolino Della Gherardesca, along with his sons and grandchildren, died of hunger. The profile of the tower is still recognizable to the left of the central arch, where the 20th-century four-light window opens today. Starting with 1566, the palace housed the infirmary of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. The health manager was called Bonomo, and for this reason the palace is also known as Palazzo del Bonomo. The current appearance of the palace dates back to 1605-1608, when two neighboring buildings were joined through an arch with a clock, according to a project of Giorgio Vasari from 1554. Between 1607 and 1609, Giovanni Stefano Marucelli and Read more [...]
The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri is a church dedicated to Saint Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, located in the historical center of Pisa, in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near to the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana. SHORT HISTORY The first stone of the church was laid on 17 April 1565 by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The church was built for the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, founded by the Grand Duke to combat Saracen piracy in the Mediterranean. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, with the works being supervised by David Fortini, the church was built on the site of the old Church of San Sebastiano alle Fabbriche Maggiori, documented since 1074. The construction was completed in August 1567, and the church was consecrated on December 1569. The bell tower, added between 1570 and 1572, was erected by Giovanni Fancelli based on a design by Vasari. In the following century, the church was decorated with most of the paintings that are still on display, painted by the greatest Florentine masters of the 17th century. The altar and the nave were designed by Pier Francesco Silvani. Between 1683 and 1691, the two side bodies were built, used as dressing rooms Read more [...]
The Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (St. Paul on the bank of the Arno), is a church from the 10th century located in Pisa, on the Lungarno Sidney Sonnino, in the homonymous square. SHORT HISTORY The church was built around the year 925 and is attested in documents dating back to 1032. The associated convent has been documented since 1147. The church and the monastery belonged to the Benedictine monks until 1092, when it was given to the Vallumbrosan monks. In the mid-twelfth century, it was enlarged in similar forms to the contemporary Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Later, the church and the monastery were entrusted to the cardinal Landolfo Marramauro and, in the 16th century, it was assigned to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. After the suppression of the order, the church became a parish. In the 19th century, several restorations were made, but the building suffered some damage during the Second World War and was therefore restored again between 1949 and 1952. Just as a result of the post-war interventions, most of the buildings adjacent to the church were demolished. In 2012, it was closed due to precarious conditions. Restoration started in Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria della Spina is a small Gothic church in Pisa, located on the southern bank of the river Arno. The title della Spina comes from a thorn of the crown of thorns placed on Christ during his Crucifixion, which was brought to the church in 1333, but is kept in the Church of Santa Chiara since the 19th century. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1230 by the Gualandi family, and it was originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo, because of a nearby bridge across the river Arno that connected Via Sant’Antonio to Via Santa Maria, collapsed in the 15th century. Between 1323 and 1376, enlargement works were made, probably under the direction of the architect Lupo di Francesco. Starting with the 5th decade of the 15th century, the works were supervised by the architect Andrea Pisano and his son, Nino. After the unification of Italy, the city council and a commission formed by members of the Academy of Fine Arts decided to dismantle and rebuild the church on a higher ground. The works, led by the architect Vincenzo Micheli, started in 1871 and ended in 1875. This intervention moved the building a few Read more [...]
Palazzo Toscanelli, known until the 19th century as the Palazzo Lanfranchi, is a Renaissance-style palace located on the Lungarno Mediceo, in Pisa, about 120 meters away of the Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici. Since 1913, the palace is the seat of the State Archive (Archivio di Stato di Pisa), which holds an impressive collection of documents from the archives of the Pisan Republic. Over time, the archive was enriched with documents from the Pisan monasteries or donations from private individuals belonging to noble Tuscan families. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 16th century by Bartolomeo Lanfranchi. Another palace commissioned later by Alessandro Lanfranchi stands across the Arno river. In 1576, the palace was refurbished after a design by Francesco Mosca. Lord Byron lived in the palace between 1821 and 1822. From here, the English poet left for Greece, where he died in 1824. The Toscanelli family bought the palace in 1827. The current appearance of the building dates back to the same 19th century, when Palazzo Toscanelli was renovated by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. Giovan Battista Toscanelli and his wife, Angiola Cipriani, lived in the palace, gaining over time a large and prominent art Read more [...]
Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici, formerly Palazzo Appiano, is a palace in Pisa, located on the Lungarno Mediceo, about 120 meters away of Palazzo Toscanelli. Today, Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici is the seat of the Prefecture. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the 13th century, on the site of a previous building dating back to the 11th century. The Appiani family, lords of Pisa between 1392 and 1398, lived here until 1446, when the palace was bought by the Medici family. Lorenzo de’ Medici often stayed there, as he came to the Tuscan coast to cure his frail health. The King Charles VIII of France, guest of Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Piero the Unfortunate, resided in the palace in 1494, when Florence rebelled against Piero and he was exiled from the city. In 1539, the palace was the residence of Cosimo I de’ Medici. In 1574, Francesco I de’ Medici built a new Medici palace in Pisa, Palazzo Reale, and by 1784, the Medici Palace was sold to Jacopo Finocchietti. In 1871, the architect Ranieri Simonelli was comissioned by Vittoria Spinola, the morganatic daughter of Vittorio Emanuele II, to restore the palace. The architect transformed Read more [...]
Rosso di Sera Tuscany is a beautiful bed and breakfast set in a 19th-century Art Noveau villa, in Pisa. The B&B has 12 unique rooms, furnished with particular attention to detail, allowing you to live a unique experience, between the historic charm of Pisa and a new concept of hospitality. The rooms have private bathrooms, flat-screen TV and the WiFi is available everywhere. HOW TO GET THERE Rosso di Sera Tuscany is right in front of the Pisa San Rossore train station and about 4.5 kilometers away from the Galileo Galilei Airport. Piazza dei Miracoli is about 650 meters away from the B&B. The closest bus station is Cammeo, about 350 meters away.
B&B Villa Martina is a wonderful bed a breakfast in Pisa, located about 1 kilometer away from the Piazza dei Miracoli and the famous Leaning Tower. Villa Martina offers air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, flat-screen TV and free WiFi. The B&B features also a garden and a lounge. HOW TO GET THERE B&B Villa Martina is about 1,5 kilometers away from the main train station of the city, Stazione Pisa Centrale, and about 2.9 kilometers from the Galileo Galilei Airport. The closest bus station is Rustichello 3, about 300 meters away from the B&B, on the bus routes 5, 21 and LAM Rossa.
Hotel Terranova is a nice hotel located in a renovated building from the 1950s, offering inexpensive accomodation in Pisa. Each room has its own bathroom and TV. Concierge service is available 24 hours a day. In addition, the hotel provides bar and restaurant service. HOW TO GET THERE Hotel Terranova is about 900 meters away from the Stazione Pisa Centrale, the main railway station of the city, about 1.6 kilometers from the Galileo Galilei Airport and about 2.3 kilometers from the Piazza dei Miracoli and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The closest bus station is Emilia 3, about 100 meters away from the hotel, on the bus routes 8, 12 and 16.
Via Roma 25 is a bed and breakfast located in the heart of the historic city of Arezzo, about 500 meters away from Piazza Grande, on the first floor of an old beautiful building, completely renovated. The property has four rooms. The design of the rooms is characterized by the four elements of nature: air, fire, earth and water. The B&B offers a continental breakfast served every morning from 7.30 am to 10 am, ultra-fast free WiFi, daily cleaning, luggage storage, parking in the vicinity monitored by a camera and free transfer from and to Arezzo railway station. Guests will have their room key, in order to move without constraints. HOW TO GET THERE Via Roma 25 B&B is located about 350 meters away from the Arezzo Train Station. The closest bus station is in Via Roma Portici, right in front of the B&B, on the bus lines LF4, LF6 and LF8.
La Pieve is a beautiful bed and breakfast located in the historical center of Arezzo, near the Roman Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, a few steps from Piazza Grande. The B&B offers its guests a total of 5 double rooms with private bathrooms, which are equipped with bed linen and towels, hair dryer, flat-screen TV, fan and heating. La Pieve B&B features a garden and a terrace. Breakfast buffet is available each morning. HOW TO GET THERE The closest bus station is in Via Ricasoli, about 260 meters away from the B&B, on the bus line CS2. La Pieve is located about 800 meters away from the Arezzo Train Station.
BiBi is a luxury bed and breakfast situated in the heart of the historical center of Arezzo, in the S. Andrea district, about 400 meters away from Piazza Grande. The B&B was born out of passion for beauty and it welcomes its guests since 2014, when it was refurbished, making their stay memorable in a city that is yet to be discovered. The B&B has three charming rooms, each one with its own unique personality, distinguishing from each other by the use of colours, lights and attention to details. The flats include kitchens equipped with refrigerator and dishwasher, balconies, a large room with a canopy bed, Murano chandeliers and luxury curtains, LED TV, air conditioning, private bathroom with a hair drier. HOW TO GET THERE BiBi is located about 950 meters away from the Arezzo Train Station and, if you need precise directions to the B&B, from any point in the city, use the map below. The closest bus station is Porta T. Trieste Lato Mura, about 160 meters away, on the bus lines L1S, LF3, LF4, LF6 and LF9.
One of the oldest churches in Lucca, Basilica of San Frediano is built in Romanesque style in the square with the same name, Piazza San Frediano. Every year, on the evening of September 13, the candlelit procession of Luminara di Santa Croce, part of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, starts here. SHORT HISTORY An ancient church was built in this place in the 6th century, dedicated to the three holy Levites Vincenzo, Stefano and Lorenzo. The construction of this church is owed to San Frediano, an Irish pilgrim who was bishop of Lucca between 560 and 588. During the Longobard domination, the church was enlarged. At the end of the 8th century, a crypt was built for the body of San Frediano. In 1112, it began the rebuilding of the church, that will be consecrated in 1147 by Pope Eugene III. The project included a church with three naves and an apse, with the facade facing east, unlike the Augustinian rule that oriented it to the west. In the 12th century, the church was lower than we see today. The raising of the central nave and the construction of the wooden ceiling dates back to Read more [...]
Basilica of San Michele in Foro is a beautiful church in Lucca, located in the square with the same name, Piazza San Michele. SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, at the center of the ancient Roman forum, a church dedicated to San Michele (Archangel Michael) was built, together with a monastery and a hospital. Around 1070, by the will of Pope Alessandro II, the reconstruction of the church began, and ended much later, in the 14th century. The new church will have three naves, Corinthian columns with capitals and an apse. The bell-tower was built around the same period, but was later cut off by Giovanni dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa from 1364 to 1368, because the sound of its bells could be heard from Pisa. During the medieval period, access to the church was made by crossing a wooden bridge, called Ponte al Foro, which passed over the canal Fossa Natali. At the beginning of the 13th century, the works were carried out by the architect Guidetto. ART AND ARCHITECTURE San Michele in Foro is a church with a Latin cross plan, built in Romanesque style. The facade is adorned with four levels of loggias and surmounted by Read more [...]
Fontebranda is an interesting medieval fountain in Siena, near the Porta di Fontebranda, one of the remaining gates in the ancient city walls. SHORT HISTORY Fontebranda was first mentioned in the year 1081, expanded in 1193 and rebuilt of bricks and travertine in 1246 by Giovanni di Stefano, for the Wool Guild, who needed a permanent source of water. Fontebranda is, probably, the most famous fountain in Tuscany, because it was mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy. St. Catherine of Siena was born and lived near the fountain, and that is why she is also known as the Saint of Fontebranda. ARCHITECTURE The source is characterized by three large ogival gothic arches surmounted by merlons and a row of blind arches with triangular motifs. The front is adorned with four lion-shaped gushes, with the emblem of Siena in the center. Beyond the water tank, there are more than 25 kilometers of conduits, partly excavated and partly inside the wall, whose medium height is about 1.75 meters, with a width of about 0.90 meters. Today, you can walk through this tunnels, where rainwater, collected in a small channel carved in the walkway, flows with an inclination of Read more [...]