All SEE in Tuscany

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions in Tuscany…

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    Palazzo Vecchio

    Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, near the Uffizi Gallery.   SHORT HISTORY At the end of the 13th century, the city decided to build a palace in order to ensure effective protection for its magistrates. The project was attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, architect of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and of the Basilica of Santa Croce. The palace, called Palazzo dei Priori, was built on the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, formerly owned by the Ghibelline family of the Uberti. Arnolfo di Cambio began the works in 1299, but the palace was completed after his death, in 1314. On March 26, 1302, the palace became the seat of the Signoria (the city council headed by the Priors). Between 1342 and 1343, the Duke of Athens, Gualtieri VI of Brienne, enlarged the palace towards Via della Ninna. Other important changes took place between 1440 and 1460 under Cosimo de’ Medici, when Sala dei Dugento was decorated in Renaissance style. Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) was built in 1494 during the republic of Girolamo Savonarola. Between 1540 and 1550, Palazzo Vecchio Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pubblico

    Palazzo Pubblico, also known as Palazzo Comunale, is a medieval palace in Siena, located in the beautiful Piazza del Campo. Currently, the palace houses the Civic Museum of Siena on the first floor, and the city’s Town Hall on the second floor.   SHORT HISTORY After the Council of Nine (Governo dei Nove) came to power in 1287, some ancient buildings in Piazza del Campo were purchased and subsequently demolished, to make room for a new public palace. The construction of Palazzo Pubblico began in 1297, and by 1310 the building was already completed. The tower of the palace, known as Torre del Mangia, was built between 1325 and 1348. By 1350, the second and the third floors of the central body, and the Loggia on the second floor facing Piazza del Mercato were also completed. The marble Cappella di Piazza (Chapel of the Square) was built in 1352 to thank the Virgin Mary for the end of the black plague that struck the city in 1348. The last floor of the palace was added only in 1680 by the architect Carlo Fontana.   ARCHITECTURE The central body of the palace has four floors, while the two side wings have Read more [...]

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    Piazza dei Miracoli

    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, the 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 erected. 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 began, this time placed in front of the church. In 1173, the construction of Read more [...]

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    Leaning Tower of Pisa

    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 nearby. 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 August 9, 1173. Some recent studies attribute the project to the Pisan architect Diotisalvi, who at the time was also 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 was built. The softness of the soil, made up of soft clay, is the cause of the tower’s tilt and, although to a lesser extent, of all the buildings in the square. The works were resumed in 1275 under the guidance of Giovanni di Simone and Giovanni Pisano, who added another three floors to the previous structure. In an attempt to straighten the tower, the Read more [...]

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    Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

    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, started under Emperor Claudius, and completed 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. During this era, the square 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 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 [...]

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    Piazza del Campo

    With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square of Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where Palio di Siena is held twice a year, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about the square dates back to 1169, describing the arrangement of Il Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (Market Square) as a singular area. Starting with 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 buildings with mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces. The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of Palazzo Pubblico, began in 1297 and completed 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 with fishbone-patterned red brick and divided by eight lines Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, is located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. A great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of Siena is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current Cathedral of Siena 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 documented information about the building of the Cathedral dates back to 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works began 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 Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    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 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 construction of the 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 was completed 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 on the facade were Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy and the world. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today is the third in Europe, after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary in Milan.   SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the government of Florence ordered the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower), on the site of the city’s second cathedral dedicated to Santa Reparata. In 1296, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio was comissioned to design the cathedral, but he died only a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral, and he started the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto died. Starting with 1337, the construction was supervised by Andrea Pisano, until 1348, when the Black Death halted the works. Francesco Talenti, who took Pisano’s place in 1349, altered Arnolfo’s design, and completed the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joined him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Croce

    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church located in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. The church is the burial place of Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time. Besides Michelangelo, inside the church are buried many famous people, including the scientist Galileo Galilei, the politician and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, the writer Vittorio Alfieri, the poet Ugo Foscolo and the composer Gioachino Rossini. Due to this fact, the Basilica of Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, in 1211, Saint Francis of Assisi arrived in Florence. On a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross, which was donated to Saint Francis, and from which the current church borrowed the name. The building of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. During its construction, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto di Bondone, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Filippo Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and Read more [...]

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    Ponte Vecchio

    Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is a medieval arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence. The bridge connects the northern bank of the river (Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery) with the southern bank (Palazzo Pitti and the Basilica of Santo Spirito).   SHORT HISTORY The first bridge on this site was a wooden one built in the year 966, that was destroyed by a flood in 1117. Reconstructed from stone, the bridge was swept away again in 1333. The current 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 the 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 4.4 meters in height, and the two side arches each span 27 meters and have a height of about 3.5 meters. Starting with the 13th century, various shops were built on the bridge. At first, there were all sorts of shops, from butchers to Read more [...]

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    Church of San Salvatore Al Monte

    The Church of San Salvatore al Monte is a Catholic church in Florence, located on the hill known as Monte delle Croci, not far from the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 15th century, on this site was a Franciscan chapel. The chapel was enlarged in the first half of the century, and the works were completed around 1442. In the last decades of the 15th century, the church was renovated by the architect Simone del Pollaiolo, also known as Il Cronaca, by the will of the rich merchant Castello Quaratesi. The renovation started in 1499, and was completed in 1504. During the Siege of 1529, the church was badly damaged, and throughout the 16th century was left in a state of neglect. In 1665, the friars definitively left San Salvatore al Monte. In 1875, Piazzale Michelangelo was built nearby.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, very simple and framed by the typical Tuscan cypresses, has plastered surfaces interrupted only by the portal and the gable windows. Inside, the church has a single nave with five chapels on each side, marked by a double order of stone pilasters in Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santo Spirito

    The Basilica di Santo Spirito (Basilica of the Holy Spirit) is a Renaissance-style church in Florence, located in the Oltrarno district, in Piazza Santo Spirito.   SHORT HISTORY In 1250, Spinello Accolti and Omodeo di Guido donated to the Augustinian friar Aldobrandino a house and two vineyards in the Oltrarno area for the construction of a church, which was originally dedicated, in 1252, to the Virgin Mary, to the Holy Spirit and to all the Saints. In 1269, a community of Augustinian friars settled permanently in Florence, and began on this site the construction of a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit. Starting with 1397, the Municipality provided funds for the construction of a new basilica, but the work began only in 1434, when the project was entrusted to Filippo Brunelleschi. After the death of Brunelleschi in 1446, the construction site passed into the hands of his three disciples, Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d’Andrea. In 1471, a serious fire destroyed many works of art in the church. Salvi d’Andrea built the dome between 1479 and 1481, and the internal facade between 1483 and 1487. Consecrated in 1481, the basilica was completed in 1487. Giuliano da Sangallo’s sacristy Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Signoria

    Piazza della Signoria is the main square of Florence, located in the historical center of the city, about 400 meters away from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.   SHORT HISTORY It appears that the area of the square was populated since the Neolithic, and it constituted an important fulcrum of the city of Florentia during the Roman times. In the 4th century, a large Christian basilica was built here, which remained in use until the 7th century. In the 8th century, the basilica was replaced with a church dedicated to Santa Cecilia. The square began to take its present shape around the year 1268, when the houses of the Ghibellines that resided in the area were demolished by the Guelphs who won the Battle of Benevento. Only in 1385, the square was paved for the first time. During the same 14th century, Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia della Signoria were built, and the square became the center of the political life of the city. The interventions in the following centuries mainly concerned the sculptural decoration of the square, and culminated during the Grand Ducal period with the transformation of Loggia della Signoria into an open-air museum. The construction of Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Lorenzo

    The Basilica of San Lorenzo is a beautiful church in Florence, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza di San Lorenzo.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the church was built during the 4th century outside the walls of the ancient city. In 393, it was consecrated to the martyr Lawrence, in the presence of Saint Ambrose and Saint Zenobius. For the next 300 years, San Lorenzo was the Cathedral of Florence, before giving up the status to the Church of Santa Reparata, where the remains of San Zanobi, the first bishop of Florence, were solemnly transferred. In 1059, the church was enlarged and rededicated, on the initiative of the bishop Gherardo di Borgogna, when he became pope under the name of Niccolò II. In 1418, the abbot Matteo Dolfini obtained permission to demolish some houses to enlarge the transept of the church. Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, a wealthy banker, financed the construction and named Filippo Brunelleschi to direct the works. The sacristy was finished in 1428, but then the works were stopped. After 1441, Cosimo de’ Medici, Giovanni’s son, assumed the entire burden of the construction, and the direction of the works passed to Michelozzo, Read more [...]

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    Fonte Gaia

    Fonte Gaia is a monumental fountain in Siena, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Campo.   SHORT HISTORY The fountain was inaugurated in 1346, and was met with much joy, hence the name Gaia (joyous). The fountain was supplied with water by a hydraulic system consisting of a tunnel about 30 kilometers long and a large cistern, strengthened during the 15th century by Francesco di Giorgio. The fountain was decorated with a series of sculptural reliefs commissioned in 1409 to Jacopo della Quercia, and completed ten years later, in 1419. The weak local marble used for the construction of the fountain contributed, over time, to the material degradation of the monument. In 1859, it was decided to replace Jacopo’s fountain with a copy made of the more durable Carrara marble, commissioned to the Sienese sculptor Tito Sarrocchi. The new fountain was completed only ten years later. On that same occasion, Fonte Gaia was moved to a more central position in the square, and was protected by a gate, work by the architect Giuseppe Partini. The original reliefs, very damaged, were restored and are now in the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala, after being exhibited Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Chigi Zondadari

    Palazzo Chigi Zondadari is an 18th-century palace in Siena, located on the northeast side of Piazza del Campo, adjacent to Palazzo Sansedoni.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, which dates back to the 14th century, was rebuilt starting with 1724 on a project by Antonio Valeri, comissioned by Cardinal Antonio Felice Zondadari. Although the cardinal lived in Rome, he would often return to Siena to rest in his palace. Zondadari is typically a Sienese surname, and it comes from the ancient Zendadari, sellers of zendadi (silk fabrics).   ART The interior rooms were frescoed by various artists, including Marco Benefial, Placido Costanzi and Giuseppe Colignon, while some paintings are the work of Giambattista Marchetti, Roman painter comissioned by Giuseppe Flavio Chigi Zondadari. Inside, there is also a bust of Alessandro VII Chigi, the work of the famous sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Chigi Zondadari is located about 1.9 kilometers away from the Siena railway station. The closest bus stop is Logge Del Papa Bibo, located about 60 meters away, on the bus Line 590.

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    Dama Ignuda

    Dama Ignuda (Naked Lady) is a beautiful sculpture located in Via dei Rossi, in Siena.   SHORT HISTORY The sculpture was comissioned by the Contrada del Bruco to the sculptor Pier Luigi Olla, and placed on the wall of the building in Via dei Rossi in 1995. Pier Luigi Olla was born in Pistoia in 1939, but he lives in Siena since 1946, where he alternates his work as a teacher with sculpture. He is a contemporary artist, who carries forward the ancient tradition of Sienese sculpture. Pier Luigi Olla worked for the Palio di Siena, making costumes, flags, heraldic symbols, as well as the banner for the Palio of 1976. Contrada del Bruco (Contrada of the Caterpillar) is one of the 17 contrade (districts) of the city, which competes every year in the Palio di Siena.   DESCRIPTION The sculpture depicts a naked young woman partially hidden behind curtains. The work of Pier Luigi Olla looks like another window on the wall, and you can easily pass it without noticing it.   HOW TO GET THERE Dama Ignuda is located about 1.6 kilometers away from the Siena railway station. The closest bus stop, Porta Ovile, is located about 260 Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Domenico

    The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana, is a Gothic church in Siena, located in Piazza San Domenico. The church contains the head-relic of Saint Catherine of Siena, placed in a splendid Renaissance chapel.   SHORT HISTORY The Dominicans arrived in Siena in 1220, a year before the death of their founder, Dominic de Guzmán. In 1225, they received a piece of land on the Camporegio Hill, and built a church there between 1226 and 1265. In the 14th century, the complex was enlarged in Gothic style, and took its current appearance. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the church underwent numerous alterations in Baroque style, such as the reconstruction of the side altars. After the earthquake of 1798, the bell tower, already in ruins, was truncated to its present level, and equipped with the current crenellated crowning. The last intervention dates back to 1941, when the Baroque decorations were removed, the ancient Gothic forms were partially restored, and the stained glass windows with the Stories of Saint Catherine by Bruno Cassinari were added.   ARCHITECTURE The basilica has a simple but massive appearance, typical of the mendicant orders. Suggestive is the view of the rear side Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Poste

    Palazzo delle Poste is a palace located in the historical center of Siena, in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti. The palace houses the local headquarters of the Italian Post (Italy’s national postal service provider).   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 20th century, the ancient Church of Sant’Egidio and the former Capuchin convent located in Piazza Umberto I, today Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, were demolished, and the entire area was restructured. On September 18, 1910, the first stone of the new Palazzo delle Poste was laid. The works, entrusted to the architect Vittorio Mariani and carried out by the Sienese construction company of Pietro Ciabattini, lasted exactly two years. The new Palazzo delle Poste e Telecomunicazioni was inaugurated on September 20, 1912.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo delle Poste is located about 1.5 kilometers away from the Siena railway station. The closest bus stop is located in Viale Federico Tozzi, about 140 meters away, on the bus Lines 0S1, 0S3, 0S6, 501, 506, 616, 640 and S18.

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    Palazzo Salimbeni

    Palazzo Salimbeni, also known as Rocca Salimbeni, is a palace located in the historical center of Siena, in Piazza Salimbeni. The palace houses the headquarters of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Salimbeni was built in the 14th century, by expanding a pre-existing castle from the 12th century belonging to the Salimbeni family. The rear of the palace shows signs of its previous medieval construction. In 1419, the palace was confiscated by the Sienese Republic and partly used as the headquarters of the Salt Customs House. The institution Monte di Pietà (Mount of Piety) was also located here since 1472. In 1866, the building was bought by Monte dei Paschi di Siena. The palace was restored and remodeled in Neo-Gothic style starting with 1877, by the architect Giuseppe Partini. Another restoration was carried out at the beginning of the 20th century by Carlo Ariotti and Vittorio Mariani. At the same time, the other buildings located in the square were also remodeled.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo Salimbeni has a facade in Sienese Gothic style. The restorations of the 19th and 20th centuries in Neo-Gothic style tried to reproduce the architecture of Siena from the 14th century, with Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Francesco

    The Basilica of San Francesco is a Romanesque church in Siena, located in the homonymous square. Dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, the church is officiated by the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.   SHORT HISTORY The Franciscans arrived in Siena shortly after the death of Saint Francis in 1226. Between 1228 and 1255, a first church was erected on this site. The current church was built between 1326 and 1475 in Gothic style, enlarging the pre-existing church. In 1655, a fire damaged the church, leaving it in ruins for over two centuries. Between 1763 and 1765, the current bell tower was built, based on a project by Paolo Posi. In 1855, following the suppression of religious orders carried out by Napoleon, the convent became the property of the Archdiocese of Siena, which made it the seat of the Archiepiscopal Seminary. The church was restored in Neo-Gothic style at the end of the 19th century. The works were entrusted to Giuseppe Partini for the interior, and to Vittorio Mariani and Gaetano Ceccarelli for the exterior. In 1968, the ancient Convent adjacent to the Basilica was purchased by the University of Siena, where the Department of Economics, Politics and Statistics is Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Sansedoni

    Palazzo Sansedoni is a medieval palace located on the northern side of Piazza del Campo, in Siena. Today, the palace houses the Monte dei Paschi di Siena Foundation.   SHORT HISTORY The palace takes its name from the noble Sansedoni family, one of the most powerful families of Siena during the Middle Ages. Palazzo Sansedoni was built at the beginning of the 13th century, by joining several ancient buildings. In 1339, the architect Agostino di Giovanni oversaw the reconstruction and expansion of the palace. The majestic brick facade of the palace facing the square dates back to an 18th-century renovation in Gothic style by the architect Ferdinando Ruggieri.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The concave facade of Palazzo Sansedoni, which follows the curvature of the square, is composed of four orders, three of them with trifore mullioned windows. The facade is topped by battlements above a frieze of round arches. The tower of the palace, positioned asymmetrically to the left of the building, was truncated in 1760, because Torre del Mangia, located nearby, had to be the tallest building in the square. Inside, various rooms have 18th-century decorations, work of Francesco Melani, Giuseppe Melani and Gian Domenico Ferretti. Anton Domenico Gabbiani Read more [...]

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    Baptistery of San Giovanni

    The Baptistery of San Giovanni is a religious building in Pisa, located in the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli. 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 Leaning Tower. 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 many 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 [...]

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    Camposanto Monumentale

    Camposanto Monumentale is a monumental cemetery in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Miracoli, near the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the Archbishop Ubaldo Lanfranchi filled the interior of Campo Santo (Holy Field) with soil from Golgotha, brought by Pisan ships returning from the fourth crusade. In reality, the cemetery was created to collect various burials and sarcophagi spread around the Cathedral. Camposanto Monumentale was built starting with 1277 by Giovanni di Simone. After the death of the architect and the crisis caused by the Pisan defeat in the battle of Meloria of 1284, the works were slowed down. Starting with 1360, the walls were decorated with frescoes with subjects related to the theme of life and death. During this period, Buonamico Buffalmacco painted the Triumph of Death, and Francesco Traini the Crucifixion. Shortly afterwards, Giovanni Scorcialupi painted the frescoes with the Stories of Christ, while Stefano da Firenze painted an Assumption above the eastern door. The cycle was continued a few decades later by Andrea Bonaiuti, Antonio Veneziano and Spinello Aretino. Near the end of the 14th century, Taddeo Gaddi painted Stories of Job, and Piero di Puccio painted Stories of the Old Testament. Read more [...]

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    Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno

    The Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (Saint Paul on the Bank of the Arno), is a Romanesque-style church in Pisa, located 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 was 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-12th 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 October 2016, thanks to Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria della Spina

    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 (of the Thorn) comes from a thorn of the crown 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 Arno River 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 were completed in 1875. This intervention moved the building Read more [...]

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    Piazza dei Cavalieri

    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 Pisa, with buildings and churches used by the different magistrates of the city. After the seizure of power by the Pisan people in 1254, Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders), today Palazzo della Carovana, was built by merging pre-existing buildings. 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 Saint Stephen, founded with papal approval in 1562. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to transform the square. The first reconstruction Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Orologio

    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 [...]

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    Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri

    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 the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana.   SHORT HISTORY The first stone of the church was laid on April 17, 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 and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Michele in Foro

    The Church of San Michele in Foro is a church in Romanesque style, located in the homonymous square, Piazza San Michele, in Lucca.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, in the middle 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, but the structure was completed only in the 14th century. At the beginning of the 13th century, the works were carried out by the architect Guidetto. The new church had three naves, delimited by columns with Corinthian capitals, and an apse. The bell-tower was built around the same time, but was later shortened by Giovanni dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa between 1364 and 1368, because the sound of its bells could be heard from Pisa. During the Middle Ages, the access to the church was made by crossing a wooden bridge, called Ponte al Foro, which passed over a small canal known as Fossa Natali.   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 Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Martino

    The Cathedral of San Martino is the Cathedral of Lucca, located in the homonymous square, in the historical center of the city. According to tradition, the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, 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 San Giovanni and Santa 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 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 Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Frediano

    The Basilica of San Frediano is a Romanesque church in Lucca, located in the homonymous square, 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 on this site in the 6th century, and was dedicated to the three holy Levites – Vincenzo, Stefano and Lorenzo. The construction of the 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, the rebuilding of the church began, and the structure was completed and 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 the 13th Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata

    The Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 100 meters away from the Cathedral of San Martino, and about the same distance from Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace.   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 passed 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 Read more [...]

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    Piazza San Michele

    Piazza San Michele is a beautiful square in Lucca, which gets its name from the imposing Church of San Michele in Foro. The square is also known as Piazza delle Catene, due to the numerous marble columns connected by metal chains which surround it.   SHORT HISTORY The square corresponds to the ancient forum of the Roman city, and is tangent to the ancient roads of decumanus (east-west street) and cardo (north-south street). In the square, next to the Church of San Michele in Foro, once stood Palatium Civitatis (Public Palace), a building now gone. Later, the municipal offices were transferred to the Augusta Fortress, in Piazza Napoleone, which was also demolished in 1370. During the medieval period, a canal known as Fossa Natali surrounded the square. To get inside the Church of San Michele in Foro, you had to cross a wooden bridge known as Ponte al Foro. Piazza San Michele was paved for the first time in the 15th century, with bricks in herringbone pattern. In the 18th century, the square was paved with large gray stone bricks and bordered by numerous columns with chains.   ARCHITECTURE The square is enclosed by medieval buildings with round and pointed Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giuseppe

    The Church of San Giuseppe is a Catholic church in Lucca, located in Piazza Antelminelli, not far from the Cathedral of San Martino.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Giuseppe is, actually, the small oratory of the convent of the Jesuit nuns founded in 1518 in Lucca, and the only part of this ancient structure still standing.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has the typical oratory structure, with two grilled windows on either side of the central portal. The lunette of the portal is decorated with glazed terracotta from the second half of the 16th century, depicting the Madonna between Saints Joseph and Jerome. The interior of the church, with a single nave and a cross vault, underwent a renovation in the mid-17th century, and on this occasion was enriched with carved and gilded wood: a choir leaning against the counter-facade, two side altars, and the high altar, which has in the center the late 16th-century painting with Saints Paul, Joseph and Girolamo, work of Lorenzo Zacchia.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Giuseppe is located about 700 meters away from the Lucca railway station. The closest bus stop is Della Rossa, located about 220 Read more [...]

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    Piazza San Salvatore

    Piazza San Salvatore, also known as Piazza della Pupporona or Piazza della Misericordia, is a square in Lucca, located about 60 meters away from Piazza San Michele and the Church of San Michele in Foro.   SHORT HISTORY The name of Piazza San Salvatore derives from the presence of the homonymous church, built in the 12th century. At least one work in the church – the architrave of the side door, was attributed to Biduino, a sculptor and architect from the Romanesque period. The name of Piazza della Misericordia comes from Arciconfraternita della Misericordia (Archconfraternity of Mercy), which takes care of the Church of San Salvatore since 1818. The square is also called Piazza della Pupporona in homage to the Neoclassical fountain designed by Lorenzo Nottolini and built by Luigi Camolli between 1838 and 1840. The people of Lucca call pupporona to the statue of Naiade, which dominates the fountain, for its exposed breast.   ARCHITECTURE The Church of San Salvatore, located on the eastern side of the square, was built before the year 1000, and rebuilt in the 12th century. The church was renovated in the 19th century, during the Bourbon rule of the city. On the southern side Read more [...]

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    Piazza Cittadella

    Piazza Cittadella is a small square in Lucca, located between Via di Poggio and Via San Paolino, about 50 meters away from Piazza San Michele and the Church of San Michele in Foro.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza Cittadella was initially called Piazza Di Poggio, due to the residence of the Di Poggio family, located in the square, one of the most powerful families of Lucca during the Middle Ages. In 1522, took place the Conspiracy of the Poggi, when the Di Poggio family challenged other patrician families of Lucca for power. The Di Poggio family was defeated, its members were exiled, and the name of the square was changed to Piazza del Grano. Subsequently, the square was named Piazza Cittadella, in honor of another powerful family of Lucca, the Cittadella family. Their residence, Palazzo Cittadella, located in the square, was known at the beginning of the 17th century for its large terrace with a hanging garden.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Piazza Cittadella is famous above all for the presence of the house, now a museum, in which the great composer Giacomo Puccini was born, located in the northeastern corner of the square. In the center of the square, there is Read more [...]

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    Villa Bottini

    Villa Bottini, also known as Villa Buonvisi, is a beautiful villa in Lucca, located in Via Elisa, near the medieval Porta San Gervasio.   SHORT HISTORY The villa was built by Bernardino Buonvisi in the second half of the 16th century. In the following centuries, the building undergone various vicissitudes, remaining closed and abandoned for a long time. At the beginning of the 19th century, it was purchased by Elisa Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon. In the early 20th century, it became the property of the Marquises Bottini of Lucca. Subsequently, it passed to the Motroni-Andreozzi family, and then to the Marcheschi family. Finally, it was bought by the region of Tuscany which, after the restoration, ceded it to the Municipality of Lucca. Now it is open to the public, and is used as a representative area of the Municipality and seat of the Culture Office.   ARCHITECTURE The building has a large garden, and is enclosed by a wall with kneeling windows and three portals built in Renaissance style. The main portal is located on Via Elisa, while the other two are located on the sides of the garden. Villa Bottini has a rectangular shape, surmonted by a belvedere loggia. Read more [...]

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    Piazza Antelminelli

    Piazza Antelminelli, also known as Piazza dei Ferri, is a square in Lucca, located near Piazza San Martino and the Cathedral of San Martino.   SHORT HISTORY The name of the square derives from the Antelminelli family, who owned some buildings in the area during the 13th century. The buildings were demolished in 1301, to make way for the square. Piazza Antelminelli, which was previously used as a parking lot for residents, became a pedestrian area in 2012, after the restoration of the pavement.   ARCHITECTURE In the middle of the square, there is a circular fountain built in marble by Lorenzo Nottolini in 1832. The fountain is surrounded by marble columns joined by chains, from which the name of Piazza dei Ferri derives (ferri means irons in Italian). In the eastern side of the square, there is the small Church of San Giuseppe, the only remnant of the convent of the Jesuit nuns founded in 1518. To the west of the square lies Palazzo Micheletti, a palace built in the mid-16th century by Bartolomeo Ammannati, and to the south is the beautiful Cathedral of San Martino, built between 1060 and 1390.   HOW TO GET THERE Piazza Antelminelli is Read more [...]

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    Fontebranda

    Fontebranda is a medieval fountain in Siena, located near Porta di Fontebranda, one of the remaining gates of the ancient city walls.   SHORT HISTORY The first mention of Fontebranda dates back to the year 1081. The fountain was enlarged in 1193, and rebuilt in bricks and travertine in 1246 by Giovanni di Stefano, for the Wool Guild, who needed a permanent source of water. Saint 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 fountain 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 walls, 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 one meter per kilometer, from the springs located in the Sienese countryside. These pipelines, in Read more [...]

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    Teatro del Giglio

    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 and Teatro Nazionale until 1819, and after it was rebuilt 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 Pubblico (Public Theater) 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 [...]

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    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), known once as Palazzo degli Illustrissimi Signori (Palace of the Illustrious Lords) and today as Palazzo della Provincia (Palace of the Province), is an imposing 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 transfered 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 for its headquarters. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Palazzo Pubblico grew without a precise design, with the progressive addition of new buildings. The structure housed the parliament and the Read more [...]

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    Piazza Napoleone

    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 The large Augusta Fortress (Fortezza Augusta) was built on this site during the 14th century, as the residence of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca. 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 remains of the Citadel, Palazzo Ducale was built. The square was built in 1806, during the Napoleonic domination, by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, and dedicated to the French emperor. Under the direction of the architect Giovanni Lazzarini and of the French Pierre-Theodore Bienimé, the square began to develop in the 19th century. The idea was to give greater importance to the Palazzo Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is a Catholic church in Lucca, located in the homonymous square. Today, the church is deconsecrated and used as a venue for various events.   SHORT HISTORY The presence of the Franciscans in Lucca is attested as early as 1228. The church, built at their behest, was completed in 1430. After a period of neglect, the church became the property of the Municipality of Lucca in 1901, and was reopened for worship in 1910. The facade was completed only at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2003, the Franciscan friars left the convent and the entire complex was purchased by the Municipality of Lucca. In 2010, after some works on the adjacent buildings damaged the complex, the church was bought by Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca Foundation. The church underwent a major restoration between 2011 and 2013.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, completed in 1930, has wider bands of white limestone alternating with narrower bands of gray limestone. The lower part of the facade presents, in the center, the portal with a painted lunette and, on the sides, two blind round arches with sepulchres. In the upper part, there is Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Forisportam

    The Church of Santa Maria Forisportam, also known as the Church of Santa Maria Bianca, is a church located in the homonymous square, 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 site 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 religious building 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 [...]

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    Palazzo della Carovana

    Palazzo della Carovana, also known as Palazzo dei Cavalieri, is a palace with a beautiful facade located in Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square), in Pisa, between Palazzo dell’Orologio and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The palace was once the headquarter of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, but since 1846 it houses Scuola Normale Superiore.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Carovana was built between 1562 and 1564 by the architect Giorgio Vasari, drastically restructuring the medieval Palace of the Elders (Palazzo degli Anziani). Some remains of the old building are still visible along the sides of the palace. In 1810, Napoleon suppressed the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, and gave the building to Scuola Normale Superiore, the university he founded. The double-flight marble staircase was built in 1821 by Giuseppe Marchelli and the rear part of the building was added between 1928 and 1930, after a design by Giovanni Girometti, on the occasion of the revival of Scuola Normale.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Vasari regularized the uneven medieval facade, fusing three arts he mastered – architecture, sculpture and painting. The sgraffiti with allegorical figures and zodiacal signs, designed by Vasari himself and executed by Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Cristina

    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 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. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, 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. 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. The rectification also regularized Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici

    Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, across the square from Palazzo della Carovana.   SHORT HISTORY The name of the palace changed over time, depending on the institution it hosted. At first, it was Palazzo dell’Archivio during the Middle Ages, then Palazzo dei Priori after the Florentine conquest of 1409, and finally Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici, when it passed into the hands of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. The Council of the 12 Knights was, in fact, a decision-making body of the Order. At the end of the 16th century, the palace was renovated by the architect Pietro Francavilla, who also sculpted the statue of Cosimo I located in front of the nearby Palazzo dei Cavalieri. Francavilla brought the palace in line with the surrounding buildings, in terms of height, with a facade decorated in late Renaissance style. The works were completed in 1603, under the Grand Duchy of Ferdinando I de’ Medici, but the transition to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen was made only in 1691, when the priors moved to Palazzo Gambacorti.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace is Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Opera

    Palazzo dell’Opera is a palace located on the northeastern area of Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa, to the east of Campo Santo and to the north of the 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 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 various workers of the cathedral complex: the tailor, the gardener, the bell ringers, until the 19th century, when the administration offices of 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 Opera del Duomo, as well as an 18th-century plaque commemorating the stay of Charles VIII of France in 1494, and one Read more [...]