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Destinations

Siena

 

When we say Tuscany, in the vast majority of cases, the imagination fly right away to the magical landscapes, charming and fascinating consisting of an isolated farmhouse which stands on a hill preceded by a long avenue lined with cypress trees and surrounded by a true and its "lunar landscape". The landscape is dominated by hills eroded by the passage of time, rugged and bare but unchallenged beauty. Gullies and biancane alternate in this scenic area. Cypress and pine trees, hills, sunflower fields. The territory is crowned with towers, castles and abbeys which make it even more enchanting and surreal this region. These picturesque scenery are typical in the Crete Senesi, a wide area on the border between the provinces of Arezzo and Siena, which extends almost to the foot of Mount Amiata. The Crete Senesi, with its magnificent landscapes, is rich of farms, medieval villages, castles and “granges” (buildings with features typical warehouse and granary around the town of Buonconvento), is ideal for a journey back through the ages. This area offers artistic routes of great cultural interest that deserves to be discovered. The most important towns are: Asciano, Montisi, Rapolano Terme, Serre Rapolano, San Giovanni d'Asso, which are surrounded by the Crete Senesi. Wonderful is the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore with its imposing size.

The southern part of the province of Siena is characterized by different types of landscapes. Val d'Orcia (Orcia Valley) is the hilly area bordered on the northwest by the Crete Senesi, to the east by the Val di Chiana and on the south by Mount Amiata (the most important ski area in southern Tuscany) and the province of Grosseto. Val d’Orcia greets visitors with its magnificent scenery of authentic rural life. Its landscape was redesigned in the Renaissance period and it reflects the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing image. In this area we will find also Montepulciano and Pienza, two towns famous throughout the world as a symbol of artistic beauty. The landscape is characterized by hills and cypress trees, medieval churches and abbeys. Val d'Orcia, however, has not lost its agricultural nature. The wine, olive oil and pecorino cheese are the main productions that have made this area famous. The absolute gem is the Brunello di Montalcino, one of the most appreciated wines in the world. Since 2004 UNESCO has declared this area a World Heritage Site. Of course, the enchanting nature in Val d’Orcia can be visited by foot or on horseback too.

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La Spezia

 

La Spezia (for the citizen of the city simply Spezia) is a small but pretty town overlooking the Gulf of Poets. The historic center of La Spezia, which can be easily visited on foot, develops between two parallel streets: Corso Cavour and via del Prione. Around them we find three important attractions: the port of La Spezia, the castle of San Giorgio which dominates the historic center and the cathedral of the city dedicated to Cristo Re. The buildings in the historic center, some of which are in Art Nouveau style, are mostly well preserved and with highly decorated facades. Also in the historic center, in Piazza Giulio Beverini, there is the fifteenth-century church of Santa Maria Assunta.

 

The Cathedral of Cristo Re is a modern style building. The structure is circular and massive, with a diameter of about fifty meters and built in concrete.

The Museum of the Seal, housed in the Palazzina delle Arti, preserves numerous seals (those also used in the closing of the envelopes) ranging from the fourth millennium BC until the most recent centuries. Also on display are the tools used to melt the seals, such as the rings. Together with the Museum of the Seal we also find the adjoining library of art history and archeology, with about twelve thousand volumes available.

 

The promenade of La Spezia runs along the whole area where boats and ships dock. From here you have a beautiful view of the Gulf of Poets and the Ligurian sea.

The Tahon di Revel Bridge, built in 2014, is a drawbridge over one hundred and fifty meters long with a width of about three meters with contemporary shapes, which connects the tourist port to the historic center of the city through public gardens. Its finishes are precious and mainly composed of exotic wood combined with the white steel of the structure. The bridge immediately attracts the gaze of those who come from the sea or those who walk on the city promenade.

A short distance from the port is the Navy Arsenal. Opened in 1869, during the Second World War it was bombed and put out of service. Obviously, being a military structure, it is not possible to visit the arsenal; instead the adjoining naval technical museum is one of the most visited museums in all of La Spezia and the most important of its kind in Italy.

 

The castle of San Giorgio built in the thirteenth century in the hilly part of the city is certainly worth a visit. Already from the port it is possible to clearly see its shape overlooking the inhabited center. Currently inside it houses the Archaeological Civic Museum.

 

An interesting way to know the city is to walk the steps that connect the lower part of the city, above sea level, to the hilly part. It will allow you to appreciate some Art Nouveau details of the stairways themselves and the buildings that overlook them. One of the most evocative is the Cernaia staircase, from which it is possible to admire the buildings made of ancient decorations dating back to the '900 and' 800. Finally we also remember the Staircase of San Giorgio, from whose top you have a suggestive view of the sea.

 

 

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