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 de’ Medici

    Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici, formerly Palazzo Appiano, is a palace in Pisa, located on the Lungarno Mediceo, about 120 meters away from 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 here, 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 [...]

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    Church of San Vito and San Ranieri

    The Church of San Vito and San Ranieri, popularly known as the Church of San Vito, is a church located on Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, in Pisa. According to tradition, Saint Rainerius, the patron saint of the city, died in the church 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 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 [...]

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    Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi

    Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi is a palace in Pisa, located on Lungarno Gambacorti, near the Church of Santa Cristina. The palace has recently become known as 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, applying a Read more [...]

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    Torre Guelfa

    Torre Guelfa (Guelph Tower) is a tower in Pisa, located on Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, near the Old Citadel (Cittadella Vecchia) and Ponte della Cittadella.   SHORT HISTORY On this area, during medieval times, it was the Republican Arsenal, where the ships of the Marine Republic of Pisa were built, ships that contributed to the city’s rise as a Mediterranean power. At the beginning of the 15th century, the shipyard was enlarged and transformed to what will be later known as the Old Citadel, in opposition to the New Citadel (Cittadella Nuova), built in 1440 on the other side of the city. Around the same time, Torre Guelfa was built. The name of the tower was chosen in contrast to the older Ghibelline Tower (Torre Ghibellina), erected in 1290 and later destroyed. The Guelph Tower, together with the Sant’Agnese Tower (Torre di Sant’Agnese), the Canto Tower (Torre del Canto) and the Ghibelline Tower, delimited the ancient area of Terzanaia, where republican galleys were built and repaired. In 1944, during the Second World War, the whole area was badly damaged by bombing, and the citadel along with the Guelph Tower were completely destroyed, with the exception of the Republican Arsenal. In 1956, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Lanfreducci

    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, located on the architrave of the main portal. One of the many legends raised by the enigmatic motto alla Giornata (at the day) 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 Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Toscanelli

    Palazzo Toscanelli, known until the 19th century as Palazzo Lanfranchi, is a Renaissance-style palace located on Lungarno Mediceo, in Pisa, about 120 meters away of 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 collection. Among the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Prini-Aulla

    Palazzo Prini-Aulla, also known as Palazzo Mazzarosa, is a palace in Pisa, built in Neo-Renaissance style, located on Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, at number 45.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built around 1830 at the behest of the Prini-Aulla family, who kept the property until the beginning of the 20th century. The architect was Alessandro Gherardesca, who built the palace by merging some medieval houses and by closing an alley whose access corresponded with the entrance door of the current structure. Over time, famous people lived in the palace, such as the Italian philosopher and poet Giacomo Leopardi, the French writer Xavier de Maistre, or the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, built in Neo-Renaissance style, has three levels. The ground floor has 10 rectangular windows and a massive portal, while the upper floors have 11 rectangular windows each. The portal is surmounted by a balcony, and the window on the main floor corresponding to the portal is decorated with the coat of arms of the Prini-Aulla family.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Prini-Aulla is located about 1 kilometer away from the Pisa Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Pacinotti 1, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale

    Palazzo Reale is a large palace in Pisa, located on the northern bank of the Arno River, on Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, at number 46. Today, the palace hosts the National Museum of the Royal Palace (Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale).   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 in the courtyard, there is 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 find the remains of a loggia, with two columns with capitals, partially abraded. Read more [...]

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    Ponte di Mezzo

    Ponte di Mezzo, commonly known as 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 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 the Church of Santa Cristina currently stands. In 1035, the year of the victory of Lipari, the wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone and moved further east, on the current site of 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, with Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Agostini

    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 the 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 January 25, 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 by the architect Angelo Giannini. On May 12, 1895, the roof was added by Luigi Corona, on a design by 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 [...]

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    Palazzo Roncioni

    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 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 the 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 [...]

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    Palazzo della Canonica

    Palazzo della Canonica is a 16th-century palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, across the square from 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 the 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 around the middle of the 19th century.   ARCHITECTURE The long facade of the palace closely resembles that of Palazzo della Carovana. Three rows of windows define its facade as a whole, masking the differences between the medieval buildings joined together to make the new Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Collegio Puteano

    Palazzo del Collegio Puteano is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, adjacent to the Church of San Rocco, between Palazzo dell’Orologio and Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo del Collegio Puteano was built in its current form between 1594 and 1598, by merging a group of ancient buildings. In 1605, the palace was granted to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, to host Piedmontese students of the University of Pisa, according to a wish of Archbishop Carlo Antonio Dal Pozzo. The facade of the palace was decorated with allegorical frescoes between 1608 and 1609 by Giovanni Stefano Marucelli. After the suppression of the Order, the college remained open until 1925. In 1930, only five years later, Scuola Normale di Pisa reopened it as the Student House of the prestigious University, which had its headquarters in the nearby Palazzo della Carovana. In 2001, the palace became the seat of the Ennio De Giorgi Center for Mathematical Research.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo del Collegio Puteano is located about 1.4 kilometers away from the Pisa Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Corsica, located about 100 meters away, on the bus Line Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is a 13th-century church, 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 religious building. 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 July 7, 1866, the church was transformed into a warehouse. On May 22, 1893, the Ministry of Education Read more [...]

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    Piazza Grande

    Piazza Grande, one of the most beautiful squares in Tuscany, has been the focal point of public life in Arezzo since the ancient times. The Romanesque apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, built in the 12th century, dominates the west side of the square. Next to the church is the Baroque Palazzo del Tribunale (Palace of Justice) and a little further is the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, where the Museum of the Fraternita dei Laici is located. On the north side, it can be found the Palazzo delle Logge built between 1573 and 1595 after a project by Giorgio Vasari. In front of the Palazzo delle Logge, across the square, there are a series of ancient buildings including the 13th century Torre Faggiolana, the Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari and the Lappoli tower-house, also from the 13th century. In Piazza Grande, twice a year, in June and September, Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen) take place, a traditional festival with a medieval fragrance.   HOW TO GET THERE As the main point of the historical center of Arezzo, Piazza Grande is not hard to find. The nearest bus station is Viale Buozzi Opp 5 – Prato, about 250 Read more [...]

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    Fraternita dei Laici Museum

    The Fraternita dei Laici Museum was founded anew in 2010 in the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, in Arezzo, to exhibit a series of works collected between the 14th and the 19th century.   SHORT HISTORY The first collections of the institution were exhibited at the Fraternita dei Laici Museum from 1820, the year of its foundation, to 1935, when most of the art (archeology and science collections, and the library saved after the 1759 fire) was partly sent to the town Civic Museums. Most of the works, about 6000 of them, including 100 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and ancient furnishings are still in the palace and represent the core of today’s exhibition.   ART The Museum is composed of the Quadreria, the Council Room and the Primo Rettore’s Room. Besides the ancient works, the collection was completed around 1780 with the magnificent Gallery of Portraits, a series of effigies of grand dukes and benefactors who made the institution rich since the Middle Ages, including works by Pietro Benvenuti. The Bartolini Collection, composed of drawings, prints, plaster casts and books, is named after its founder, the sculptor Ranieri Bartolini, who left it to the city of Arezzo after his death. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici

    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is a palace in Piazza Grande, in Arezzo, known as the headquarters of the Fraternita dei Laici, an institution founded in 1262, still active today and very involved in projects of social and cultural interest.   SHORT HISTORY The Palace, begun in 1375, was completed only in the second half of the 16th century. Between 1550 and 1560, the façade was finished with the construction of the balcony and the lunar phases of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Clock, built in 1552 by Felice di Salvatore da Fossato. The part of the Palace towards the apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve was completed in the second half of the 17th century, following a project by Giorgio Vasari. The renovation of the Palazzo della Fraternita in 1781, supported by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, led to the opening of the Library of Fraternity to the public. Today, the palace hosts the Fraternita dei Laici Museum, reopened in 2010.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The original painting of Christ from the external lunette of the central portal, replaced by a copy at the end of the 1970s, is now in the National Museum of Medieval and Read more [...]

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    Statue of Ferdinando I de’ Medici

    On the staircase leading to the Cathedral of Arezzo, is placed an imposing statue of Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany between 1587 and 1609. The statue was designed by Giambologna, or Jean Boulogne, known also as Giovanni da Bologna, sculptor remembered for his marble and bronze statuary, but it was sculpted by Pietro Francavilla, a French-Italian sculptor. The statue was erected by the people of Arezzo as a sign of gratitude for the reclamation of the Valdichiana (Chiana Valley), which was an important addition to the territory of Arezzo.   HOW TO GET THERE Being only a few meters away from the Arezzo Cathedral, the statue is not hard to find. The closest station is in Via Ricasoli, where you can get with the bus CS2.

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    Statue of Ferdinando III of Habsburg-Lorraine

    The statue of Ferdinando III of Habsburg-Lorraine, located at the end of Piaggia di Murello, in the intersection with Via Saracino, was executed by the Florentine sculptor Stefano Ricci. The statue was placed in Piazza Grande, on 13 April 1822, and a century later, in 1932, it was moved to its current position. Ferdinand III of Habsburg-Lorraine was the Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1790 to 1801 and from 1814 to 1824, Grand Duke of Salzburg from 1803 to 1805 and Grand Duke of Würzburg from 1805 to 1814. The statue was erected in gratitude for his excellent work in the field of communication between Arezzo and Tuscany. Via Anconetana, at the time the main communication route with the Adriatic, was one of his projects. The relief placed at the base of the monument is the work of the Aretine sculptor Ranieri Bartolini. The relief describes allegorically the union of the two tuscan rivers, Chiana and Arno, emblematic moment for the valleys of Arezzo.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest bus station is in Via Ricasoli, about 100 meters from the statue, but if you are discovering the historical center of Arezzo on foot, you will probably pass by Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Provincia

    Across the road from the Palazzo del Comune, there is another palace called Palazzo della Provincia, seat of the Province of Arezzo, one of the ten provinces of Tuscany. Together with the Palazzo del Comune and the Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter, Palazzo della Provincia forms a complex very close to an ideal agora, where the main administrative centers of the city are concentrated, in a dominant position of the San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY On February 24, 1913, the administration of the Province decided to build its new headquarters, commissioning the engineer Giuseppe Paoli for this project. The project consisted in a new building to be used as offices and the restoration of two pre-existing buildings. The masonry work, carried out by the company Giuseppe Rossi of Arezzo, was started shortly after and ended only on September 27, 1925, with the official inauguration of the headquarters. Concerning the decorative works, the realization of the frescoes is entrusted, at the suggestion of the designer, to the painter Adolfo De Carolis, in 1922. The sketch is immediately approved and the works – started in the summer of 1922 and executed entirely by De Carolis, are concluded at the end Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter

    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 [...]

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    Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino

    The Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino (Chiesa dei Santi Lorentino e Pergentino) is a small church located along the former ancient Roman road which connected Chiusi, through Arezzo, to Florence.   SHORT HISTORY Some historians cite the ancient Passion of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino, dating back to the VI-VII century, to identify the church as the place of the burial of two Christian martyrs, Lorentino and Pergentino, beheaded on 3 June 250 by the Emperor Decius. Little information exists regarding what happened with the church between the burial of the martyrs and the Middle Ages. A document from 1135 shows that the church belonged to the Benedictine abbey of Saints Flora and Lucilla. In the year 1204, the parish was given to the monks of Camaldoli, to compensate the sale of their church of San Pier Piccolo. They took care of the church from 1252 until the sixteenth century. In 1663, it seems that, of the entire complex, only the church remained. Later, the church was also abandoned and reduced to a barn. This process of continuous decay up to the loss of the entire western part, that of the façade, and the near construction of numerous huts and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Comune

    Palazzo del Comune, seat of the Town Hall of Arezzo, was built in 1333 as Palazzo dei Priori, on the top of the hill of San Pietro, a short distance from the Cathedral of Santi Donato e Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Comunale, located on the west side of Piazza della Libertà, was home to the supreme magistrature of the Comune of Arezzo. The original facade of the building, from the 14th century, can be seen from Via Ricasoli, as the rest of the structure has undergone numerous renovations over the centuries. In 1454, there was a first major renovation and, in 1466, the large clock was mounted on the tower. In the second half of the 16th century, a new makeover of the palace began after a design by the famous Florentine architect Alfonso Parigi, which ended in 1602. The layout of the stairs was changed and the large internal portico was built. In 1650, the façade collapsed and some frescoes painted by Lorentino d’Andrea were lost. The reconstruction was carried out by slightly withdrawing the front of the building. In 1715, a bell dedicated to the Madonna and San Donato was placed in the tower. The last major Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Miniato al Monte

    The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque church in Florence, located on one of the highest points in the city, in Via delle Porte Sante. San Miniato (Saint Minias) was an Armenian soldier, who was killed in the year 250 AD by the Roman soldiers of Emperor Decius, because he converted to Christianity, and Christians were persecuted at that time. He is considered the first martyr of the city and his remains are supposedly kept today in the crypt of San Miniato al Monte.   SHORT HISTORY The oldest historical evidence of a church dedicated to San Miniato dates back to the year 783. The building was neglected and unsafe, and the Florentine bishop Ildebrando began to build a new one on April 27, 1018. The church was finished two hundred years later, in the 13th century. In 1373, the Olivetan monks arrived in Florence, called by the Pope Gregorio XI, and settled in the monastery, where you can still find them today. The Chapel dedicated to the Cardinal Giacomo di Coimbra (Cardinal of Portugal) was built between 1461 and 1466 by Antonio Manetti and finished by Antonio Rossellino, after his death. During the 16th century, with Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Repubblica

    Piazza della Repubblica is one of the main squares of Florence, located in the historical center of the city, about 200 meters away from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza della Repubblica was the center of the ancient city of Florence during the Roman times. Here, there was the Roman forum, which gathered the most important religious and civil buildings of that period. During the Middle Ages, Piazza della Repubblica was defined as a public space intended for trade, while the square of the Cathedral (Piazza del Duomo) was a place for politics, and Piazza della Signoria for civil affairs. In the 16th century, the square was renamed Mercato Vecchio (Old Market), due to the construction of Loggia del Mercato Nuovo near Ponte Vecchio. Here was also the Jewish Ghetto, where Cosimo I forced the local Jews to reside. The only evidence left of the Old Market square is Colonna della Dovizia (Column of Wealth), also known as Colonna dell’Abbondanza (Column of the Abundance). The current version of the column dates back to 1431 and has on top a statue representing the Abundance, made by Giovan Battista Foggini, who replaced the original by Donatello, irreparably Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

    The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful Dominican church located in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, in the beautiful city of Florence.   SHORT HISTORY In 1219, twelve Dominicans arrived in Florence from Bologna, led by Fra’ Giovanni. In 1221, they obtained the small Church of Santa Maria delle Vigne, so called for the surrounding agricultural land. In 1242, the Dominicans decided to start work on a new and larger church. On October 18, 1279, during the feast of San Luca, the laying of the first stone was celebrated, with the blessing of Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini. The construction was completed around the middle of the 14th century, but the church was consecrated only in 1420, by Pope Martino V. Leon Battista Alberti designed the large central portal and the upper part of the facade, in white and dark green marble, which was completed in 1470. After the Council of Trent, between 1565 and 1571, the interior of the church was redesigned by Giorgio Vasari, with the removal of the choir enclosure and the reconstruction of the side altars, which led to the shortening of the Gothic windows. Between 1575 and 1577, the Gaddi Chapel (Cappella Gaddi) was Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pitti

    Palazzo Pitti is an imposing Renaissance-style palace in Florence, located in Piazza dei Pitti. The palace was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and was inhabited, over time, by the Medici family, 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, desired a more luxurious palace than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died long before the construction began, and the project passed to his pupil, Luca Fancelli. The construction was started around 1458, but, due to various 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. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Antella

    Palazzo dell’Antella is a palace with a beautiful frescoed facade in Florence, located in Piazza di Santa Croce, near the Basilica of Santa Croce.   SHORT HISTORY The first significant expansion of the palace dates back to the second half of the 16th century – the building was raised by a floor, including a mezzanine, and the wooden doors were replaced with stone ones, still visible today. The architect of the palace was probably someone from the circle of Baccio d’Agnolo. In the early 17th century, the palace passed to Senator Niccolò dell’Antella, through the dowry of his wife Costanza del Barbigia. In 1619, dell’Antella commissioned the architect Giulio Parigi to give a unified design to the properties the senator bought in Piazza di Santa Croce. To give a unified appearance to the adjacent buildings, the architect had the entire facade painted with frescoes. The paintings were made in just twenty days of work, between 1619 and 1620, by a team of thirteen young artists supervised by the painter Giovanni da San Giovanni. Dell’Antella died out in 1698 and, later, the palace passed by inheritance to the Dal Borgo family, then to Lotteringhi della Stufa and finally to de’ Nobili. Read more [...]

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    Uffizi Gallery

    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 Piazza della Signoria, in the historical center of Florence, the museum houses a collection of priceless works of art, most of them from the period of the Italian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Uffizi Gallery was erected starting with 1560, at the request of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici. The original architect was Giorgio Vasari, one of the leading architects of the 15th century. The initial role of the building was to shelter the municipal offices (uffizi), hence the name, but for the next two hundred years the space brought together under one roof the art collections of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1737, the last member of the Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa, decided to leave the art collections to the city of Florence. 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, Read more [...]