5 Historical Buildings In Tuscany That Will Take Your Breath Away

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

5 Historical Buildings In Tuscany That Will Take Your Breath Away

There are many reasons why people go on holiday. Some of us will just want to get away from it all and lounge be the pool at their Tuscan villa for a week, whilst others will want to cram as much into their break as possible. But for anyone who likes to take in the culture of their surroundings while they are away, there is no better place in the world than Tuscany to do this.
There is a heavy religious influence running all the way through the region and therefore there are also plenty of historical buildings to marvel at. So for those looking to get drenched in culture, here are some must see pieces of architecture. Warning; you may want to strengthen those neck muscles before you come away to prepare yourself for constantly looking up.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

This 13th century church has become an iconic symbol of Florence with its dome-shaped roof, and is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the centre of the city. The building took 140 years to finish and has a wonderfully minimal gothic interior, complete with a range of interesting frescos and sculptures. As well as the main dome, the complex also includes a baptistery and a tower known as Giotto’s Campanile.

Biblioteca Piccolomini –

As libraries go, this one is more than a little bit special. Situated in Siena’s Piazza del Duomo, this building really has some stunning architecture to show off. The inside is literally covered with murals and frescos in every colour you can imagine and the ceiling panels are adorned with people and things from ancient mythology. In the centre of the library there is a Roman copy of the famous Greek statue, Three Graces.

Cathedral of Saint Ranieri –

This beautiful cathedral is part of Pisa’s famous Piazza dei Miracoli which also houses the leaning tower of Pisa. You can buy a combo ticket that allows you to view all the historical buildings in the area, as there is much more on offer than just the iconic tower. Architectural experts will be able to point out the fact that it is a five-naved cathedral with a three-naved transept, but it doesn’t take much knowledge of construction to note its beauty. Building began in 1064 and sadly many of the renaissance works of art were damaged in a fire in 1595.

Chiesa di Sant’Agostino –

If you are not all churched out by this point; this beautiful offering in Montepulciano is definitely worth a visit. Not only is it a great tourist attraction, but it is also used on a daily basis by the locals. It is situated in the middle of this wonderful medieval town and will captivate you with its ornate exterior and quaint front steps.

Santuario di Montenero –

If you are looking for somewhere that’s a little bit quieter than most tourist areas and provides great views as well as historical architecture; the hills behind Livorno are the place to go. You can access this monastery via the funicular railway and the trip will definitely be worth it. The sanctuary itself is very peaceful and thought-provoking and there is a monastery on the complex that shouldn’t be missed either. Legend dictates that the Virgin Mary appeared on the hill and told a shepherd to build the church, however it was only a small shrine until it was expanded into a larger church in 1956.
If all this talk of religious and historical buildings has whetted your appetite for a trip to Tuscany, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and make your booking today. You can use our easy booking system on the To Tuscany website or visit our contact us page to get in touch.
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3 Cities Within Easy Reach Of Tuscany

Friday, June 13, 2014

3 Cities Within Easy Reach Of Tuscany

Melo - Villa Alfina

Along with our beautiful Tuscan villas, one of the great things about Tuscany is that the region is so central and therefore gives you the perfect base to explore the surrounding area. Once you have seen all there is to see, or at least all that you planned to see, within the boundaries of Tuscany, there is plenty more to be found outside of them. In effect; Italy is your oyster.
Italy’s romanticism and stunning beauty is not just restricted to the area in which our accommodation is situated and so why not leave your villa for the day (if you can tear yourself away from it) and visit some of the nearby cities? Whether you have a rental car at your disposal or you are willing to use public transport, here are three great locations around Tuscany.


Position in relation to Tuscany – South
How Do I Get There?
Car: Take the E80 from Grossetto for two hours.
Train: Every two hours from Grossetto station straight to Rome. This is also about a two hour journey.
What Can I Do There?
A lot of people will tell you that you can’t visit Italy without going to the capital, and you certainly won’t be disappointed if you take their advice. There are no end of famous attractions and points of interest to go and see; including the Trevi fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel, but save time for some of the less high profile things that should be on your ‘to do’ list.
If you are tired of museums filled with beautiful art, why not change the mood a bit with a visit to the pasta museum or the museum of purgatory. And if you are feeling really brave then you could even take one of Rome’s many ghost walking tours or train to be the ultimate gladiator. 


Position in relation to Tuscany – North
How Do I Get There?
Car: Take the A1/E35 from Florence for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Train: Trains run regularly from Firenze Rifredi station to Bologna Centrale, via Prato.
What Can I Do There?
As with most of the main cities in Italy, you could spend the day with a crooked neck; just looking up at all the magnificent architecture and art on display as you walk around Bologna. Among these are the two towers of Bologna which are often described as the landmark of the city, the San Petronio Basilica which acts as the main church of the city and the Archiginnasio of Bologna which really is a stunning building.
Bologna becomes even livelier at night and is often lit up beautifully. Be sure to explore the main piazzas at this time such as Piazza Maggiore and Piazza Santo Stefano, whilst also taking a look at the Neptune statue in Piazza Nettuno. Other things to cram in include seeing an opera at the fantastic Teatro Comunale and, of course, tasting an authentic pasta Bolognese. 


Position in relation to Tuscany – East
How Do I Get There?
Car: Take the main Raccordo Autostradale from Siena for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Train: Two trains a day go from Firenze Santa Maria Novella station in Florence straight to Perugia. Journey time is roughly an hour and a half.
What Can I Do There?
Perugia may be smaller than the other two cities on this list but that doesn’t mean there is any less of a reason to take a trip there. The city has its fair share of religious buildings such as the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo and the church of San Pietro, but there are also plenty of offbeat things to do in the area too.
The Perugina Chocolate Factory is a must for those with a sweet tooth and there is even a 9-day chocolate festival which takes over the city if you are lucky enough to visit in mid-October. Another date-specific event is the annual Umbria Jazz festival which occurs in July and brings some of the world’s leading jazz musicians to various venues around town.
If you are interested in seeing what Tuscany and the rest of Italy have in store for you then don’t hesitate to make your booking today. Alternatively, you can use our contact us page to ask any questions you have regarding our accommodation.

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