Region of an intangible Wealth
Write them hills that have seduced the British interrupt the continuity between the plain and the mountain, which is rich in the Apuan Alps marble decorating the churches and palaces of Tuscany. The magic that surrounds this region in the collective world, not only due to the unparalleled beauty of Florence and other cities, such as Siena, Pisa, Lucca and Pistoia. The fame of Tuscany is also indebted to the rolling hills of Chianti, to those Metalliferous, the pride of Amiata Mount, the ancient extinct volcano that is imposed in the landscape between Siena and Grosseto and the Maremma, where cowboys on horseback will run through campaign. And then the valleys of Garfagnana, Lunigiana and Cosentino, places that evoke historical events and craft traditions and ancient farming. They are famous all over the world also the islands of the Archipelago, became National Park, and the waters of the Arno, the main river of Tuscany. Are the extraordinary works of art and historical events in which they saw the light, starting with the patronage of the Medici. Known are turreted medieval villages like San Gimignano, but also spas increasingly popular for their beneficial effects, as the Versilia coastline and the incomparable food and wine heritage, ranging from wines of the Chianti hills to the bread “silly” that is, free from salt and, therefore, suitable for endless variations of vegetable soups and vegetables, or delicious tomato soup topped with naturally fine extra virgin Tuscan olive.
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Florence. Reflected in the waters of the Arno running through it, and that has been the witness to important historical events that saw her become in medieval times an important financial and commercial center, but mostly artistic. The capital of Tuscany, tied to the family de ‘Medici, was the cradle of the Renaissance and the most significant artistic productions, literary and scientific produced from the fourteenth century. Crowned capital of Italy, albeit for a short period (1865-1871), Florence is universally known as a treasure trove of art. Some of his works adorn the streets of the center and left to contemplate simply walking around the city, from the Old Bridge to the Cathedral on which stands the magnificent dome of Brunelleschi. The surround Giotto’s bell tower and the Baptistery, with unparalleled bronze doors. The art bounces from palaces to the squares and find its place in the most prestigious halls of museums, the Uffizi Gallery in the Bargello, Palazzo Pitti. In these locations are kept masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, Giambologna and many other artists who have made not only the city, but the entire country.
Cultural heritage, cradle of the Italian language. Wealth “intangible” is accompanied by a territory familiar to all: rolling hills, vineyards, cypress trees, medieval villages, stone city, towers of the color of the earth, the seventeenth-century villas surrounded the green. Less known, and perhaps for this well-preserved, are the Senesi Crete, nice spot to which alternate gullies and hills devoid of vegetation, on which the only visible colors are yellow sunflowers and the gold of the ears of corn. An area that can be defined deserted, which in the province of Siena there is a place called Accona Desert own, as opposed to the green hills, but also the richness of the waters of a region from the remarkable thermal heritage
Endeless appointments with festivals and pageants and religious that are followed for the entire year. Carnival is a time when many cities are multiplying playful events that last up to Easter: If the Viareggio Carnival is the most famous, the Explosion of the Cart in Florence follows the wheel. It is held on the Saturday before Easter in Cathedral Square, where a cart full of firecrackers is detonated in auspicious sign. The spring draws fans of classical music (but also opera and ballet) who come to admire performances by world famous artists at the annual Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. A few weeks and reflectors moving a few miles, to turn on the Palio di Siena, which runs July 2 (and repeats August 16) in the charming Piazza del Campo. A costume parade precedes the horse race ridden bareback by jockeys representing Contradas vying for the Palio. The Pistoia Blues Festival (July) is one of the biggest events of the Italian music scene and the music is also dedicated the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago.
By Plane. The airport of Pisa Galileo Galilei is one of the main airports in the central / northern Italy and is privileged for arrivals in Tuscany. It has good transport connections with Florence, whose airport Amerigo Vespucci is more modest in size and includes a limited number of flights. By Train. The station Firenze Santa Maria Novella (with an information center in the main lobby) is a very important hub on the road which links the north (via Bologna) to the south of Italy. From Florence are frequent train connections on regional lines to Prato, Pistoia, Lucca and Pisa, the city reached by many trains connecting Rome to Genoa and Turin. By Bus. They are a good alternative to the train to get around Tuscany: Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Grosseto and the main cities will reach many small towns. The service is run by some companies. By Car- Tuscany is crossed by three major highways: the Autostrada del Sole (A1), which goes from Milan to Naples; the Florence-sea (A11), which links the capital to the coast of Tuscany; and the A12, linking Livorno to Genoa. Along the coast runs the SS1, ie the Via Aurelia, and to get there from the capital follow the SGC (Fi-Pi-Li); inside meets the SS2 (Cassia), which connects Florence and Siena. By Ship. The main ports of the coast (Livorno and Piombino) are connected by regular and seasonal with the islands of the archipelago, as well as Sardinia and Corsica.
In addition to Florence, the other cities are worth a visit. Those best known as Pisa and Siena, to those that offer the pleasure of relaxing seaside as Viareggio, on the Versilia coast, famous for its Carnival and its nightlife. To act as a side dish, countless towns and smaller towns that the small size contrasted architectural heritages of great value. As Pienza, the city of the popes (takes its name from a pope, Pius II), gathered around the Duomo and Palazzo Piccolomini, or San Gimignano, overlooking the senese Val d’Elsa and raised in the Middle Ages, a time at which date from the towers that make it famous. On the hills around it produces Vernaccia, one of the Tuscan wines that vie for fame at Chianti, produced in the area from which it takes its name, extended between Florence and Siena. On these hills you can admire the Tuscan village in the green, between vineyards and olive groves, bucolic counterpoint to the majesty of art. Ideal for a relaxing holiday and of doing nothing, the beaches of the islands of the Archipelago, which according to popular legend is born when the Tuscan sea fell seven pearls that made up the necklace of Venus. Relaxation and well-being also in spas, some famous as Montecatini and Bagni di Lucca , flanked spas newer but equally equipped:from Saturnia to Chianciano .
TRADITIONS AND FOLKLORE
The pride of the Tuscan folklore are the pageants and festivals with medieval jesters, musicians and especially flag bearers. Are held throughout the year in the villages that commemorate events of the past and also involve the population, which often soul parades wearing vintage clothing very careful attention to detail. The most famous of these events is the Palio di Siena, which runs in Piazza del Campo on July 2 and August 16 of each year. In Senese is another famous evocation called Maggiolata, because it takes place on the night between April 30 and May 1. The protagonist is the music, rather they are the musicians who all night visit the homes of Castiglione d’Orcia until the breaking of the sun. On the coast, in Castiglione della Pescaia, on August 15 the Palio Marinaro, which culminates with the race between the districts of the city.
AT THE TABLE
Simple tastes, flavors, bread and olive oil. It could be summarized as the essence of Tuscan cuisine, great attraction for tourists visiting the region. Despite the presence of the sea, the cuisine is inspired by the very land dishes, meats and crostini appetizer proposing, among which are those famous chicken liver. Queen of first courses is pappa col pomodoro, with bread without salt, crumbled cooked in tomatoes with garlic, basil, olive oil and pepper. The best known among the Tuscan soups is ribollita, a mixture of vegetables and legumes much appreciated in winter and served as a first course, perhaps alternating with pappardelle with hare sauce. The meat Chianina is the protagonist of the main courses, including the place of honor at the Florentine steak, thick and tender, gastronomic symbol of the capital. On the coast soups replace vegetables with fish here then caciucco, typical of Livorno as mullet Livorno. In winter, the most famous is the sweet chestnut, while lighter and tasty are the cantuccini (excellent wet in the vin santo). The wine list is top-notch and ranges from classic Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, from Montepulciano, the Vernaccia and Morellino,only to name a few.
The numerous craft shops displaying ceramic products witness the established tradition in Tuscany thanks to the abundance of clay, also used to make objects in terracotta. Dates back to the past also the expertise of the work in Pietradura, especially onyx and marble, for which Tuscany is known around the world.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
…Chestnuts, the ancient food of the mountain, were so common in Tuscany from having given birth to a real “economy of the chestnut”? In the Valley of Orsigna, where the chestnut is still thick, a Living Museum has recovered the ancient “metati”, namely the hovels of wood where they began to dry chestnuts. This activity involving all the members of a family, who left their home to move in the mountains, where they remained until the collection process, and then drying, was completed and the chestnuts were ready to be transported to the mills where they became flour soups, castagnacci and buns.