Saturday, April 30, 2011

ITALY - TUSCANY: PISA


After travelling to Rome last year, I have come back to Italy to visit two nice areas of northern Italy: Tuscany and Lombardia. There are really lovely villages in these two provinces of Italy, as well as the beautiful city of Florence.

After visiting San Gimignano and Siena, we spent the morning of our fourth day in Pisa. As soon as we arrived we went to El Campo dei Miracoli, where I could see ,in the end, the Leaning tower. Next to the Pisa leaning tower, which is actually the bell-tower of the Duomo, I also saw the baptistry and the Camposanto.

This buildings were built in Pisan-Romanesque style and are surrounded by a fantastic green carpet of grass. I really would have liked to lie on the grass if I had had enough time, but we had to go to Lucca in the afternoon, another lovely town in Tuscany.



Campo dei Miracoli in PisaOverview of El Campo dei Miracoli where you can see the Duomo, the Leaning Tower and the nice green carpet of grass


Campo dei Miracoli in PisaThe italy's largest baptistry was built in Romanesque style. However, the dome of the Pisa Baptistry is gothic


Baptistry in PisaDetail of the white Romanesque façade of the Pisa Baptistry



Duomo of PisaInside the Pisa Duomo in Campo dei Miracoli, I liked the pulpit and the painting on the apse


Duomo of PisaPainting on the apse of the Pisa Duomo in Campo dei Miracoli


Duomo of PisaIn this picture of the Duomo of Pisa you can see the apse and the San Rainieri's doors


 Pisa Leaning TowerThe Pisa Leaning Tower and the Duomo are the two more interesting buildings of El Campo dei Miracoli


 Pisa Leaning TowerAnother view of the Pisa Leaning Tower and the Duomo


 Pisa Leaning TowerTypical picture holding the Pisa Leaning Tower, the best known building of El Campo dei Miracoli

Piazza dei Cavalieri in PisaWalking from El Campo dei Miracoli to the train station we went through the Piazza dei Cavalieri


Before visiting Pisa I have read a lot about this town and everybody said that, in Pisa, it's only worth visiting El Campo dei Miracoli. Although I didn't want to believe that at first, now I agree with this opinion.

Of course, I think that visiting El Campo dei Miracoli and the Pisa Leaning Tower is enough to spend a lovely morning in Pisa. You will find some practical information (opening hours, prices, photo gallery) clicking on www.opapisa.it.

Besides you have below all the places I visited in Tuscany and Lombardia:


- Tuscany

- Lombardia



Finally, you can see more pictures of the days I spent in Rome last year clicking on the next links:

Friday, April 29, 2011

ITALY - TUSCANY: SIENA

After travelling to Rome last year, I have come back to Italy to visit two nice areas of northern Italy: Tuscany and Lombardia. There are really lovely villages in these two provinces of Italy, as well as the beautiful city of Florence.

After spending two fantastic days in Florence, we visited Siena in the afternoon of our third day in Tuscany. We had spent the morning in San Gimignano, the best preseved medieval village in Tuscany.

Siena is a really nice city which retains its medieval charm. One of the views I liked the most was the reddish roofs from the top of La Torre del Mangia. And my best time in Siena, the hour I spent sitting in Siena's Campo, the heart of the city. 


Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia



Palazzo Pubblico in Siena
What I liked the most of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena was its graceful brickwork, this white gothic windows and its medieval crenellations


Palazzo Pubblico in Siena
La Torre del Mangia is quite impressive with a height of 102 meters. There are 503 steps to the top but I assure that it's worth the effort for the stunning view of Siena


Piazza del Campo



Palazzo Pubblico in Siena
The Piazza del Campo is often referred as Il Campo. It's one of Europe's loveliest squares. The square's nine sections honour the medieval ruling Council of Nine. Its fountain and slope are more than decorative. They're integral to the Siena's water system


Duomo and Piazza del Campo in Siena
As you can see, Siena's Duomo is not far from Piazza del Campo. Siena isn't actually a large town as I could see from the top of La Torre del Mangia. I really liked the homogeneous view of red roofs



Siena's Duomo



Duomo of Siena
Imposing look of Siena's Duomo, a fabulous cathedral


Duomo of Siena
Detail of the main façade of Siena's Duomo


Duomo of Siena
Inside Siena's Duomo is the most beautiful cathedral in Tuscany, much more than Florence's Duomo


Duomo of Siena
The marble floor of Siena's Duomo is one of its major attractions



Piazza del Campo




Torre del Mangia in Siena
After visiting the Siena's duomo we came back to Il Campo to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this large square


Piazza del Campo in Siena
Beside La Torre del Mangia was built La Cappella della Piazza by the Sienese citizens who survived the Black Death of 1348


Piazza del Campo in Siena
Siena's Campo is the centre of Sienese public life and twice a year is packed with crowds for the Palio horse race. From this point I could admire quietly the nice reddish palazzos located around this square



Palazzo Piccolomini in Siena
The Palazzo Piccolomini is the only Florentine Renaissance palazzo in Siena


Piazza del Campo in Siena
I spent a really nice time sitting in Siena's Campo, a truly lively and beautiful place in Siena. Il Campo is one of the places I liked the most in Tuscany


After an intense day in San Gimignano and Siena, we came back to Florence in the evening. The following day we visited the leaning Tower in Pisa and the lovely town of Lucca.

Below you have the places we visited in Tuscany and Lombardia:


Finally, you can see more pictures of the days I spent in Rome last year clicking on the next links:



Other great cities and countries I have visited are:


ITALY - TUSCANY: SAN GIMIGNANO

After travelling to Rome last year, I have come back to Italy to visit two nice areas of northern Italy: Tuscany and Lombardia. There are really lovely villages in these two provinces of Italy, as well as the beautiful city of Florence.

Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano
Piazza della Cisterna, one of the most beautiful places in San Gimignano



After having spent two nice days in Florence, San Gimignano and Siena were waiting for us. So we woke up early and catched a SITA bus we led us to San Gimignano via Poggibonsi.

That morning of our third day in Tuscany I was eager to visit San Gimignano because I was read that it's the best preserved medieval village in Tuscany. Besides, it's called the Manhattan of Tuscany because of its towers.

We arrived at San Gimignano at 9:30am and the village was really quiet and I could feel its medieval atmosphere. However, after enjoying fantastic views of San Gimignano from the top of  La Torre Grossa, we went to La Piazza della Cisterna and, unfortunately, it was incredibly packed with tourists.

So I strongly recommend visiting San Gimignano from 4pm, when most tourists have gone. Then you will be able to feel the charming medieval atmosphere of this village and enjoy walking quietly along its streets and between its really interesting medieval palazzos.

The most interesting places I visited in San Gimignano were:

  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Palazzo Vecchio del Podestà
  • Torre Grossa (fantastic views from the top)
  • Palazzo del Popolo
  • Piazza Pecori
  • Duomo or Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta
  • La Rocca fortress and city walls
  • Piazza della Cisterna
  • Via San Giovanni

I also recommend walk along la Via de San Matteo and visiting the church of Saint Agostino.

Next I would like to show you some of the pictures I took of these beautiful places in San Gimignano.



Views from Torre Grossa

Palazzo Vecchio del Podesta in San Gimignano
Palazzo Vecchio del Podestá with its vaulted loggia and Piazza del Duomo in San Gimignano. Above it stands the Rognosa Tower or Clock Tower 51 meters high  


Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano
La Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano is ringed with medieval towers and centred on a stone well

Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano
The Clock Tower and, on the right, la Piazza della Cisterna, the heart of San Gimignano together with la Piazza del Duomo

San Gimignano from Torre Grossa Tower
Terracota roofs of San Gimignano on the left and a typical scenery of Tuscany on the right 


Palazzo del Popolo


Palazzo del Popolo and La Torre Grossa in San Gimignano
Palazzo del Popolo and La Torre Grossa in San Gimignano. La Collegiata de Santa Maria appears on the right too


Piazza Pecori


Piazza Pecori in San Gimignano
 Piazza Pecori is a lovely and peaceful square in San Gimignano located next to the Duomo and El Palazzo del Popolo


Piazza del Duomo

Collegiata de Santa Maria Assunta in San Gimignano
Duomo or Collegiata de Santa Maria Assunta in San Gimignano. On the right appears El Palazzo del Popolo and between these buildings there is an arch which leads to Piazza Pecori


Medieval houses in San Gimignano
Typical medieval houses in San Gimignano in Piazza dell'Erbe, next to the Duomo


Rocca fortress


Skyline of San Gimignano
Skyline of San Gimignano from a medieval fortress called La Rocca


Church of San Agostino in San Gimignano
Church of San Agostino in San Gimignano from La Rocca


Piazza della Cisterna



Towers of San Gimignano from Piazza della Cisterna
Towers of San Gimignano from Piazza della Cisterna



Towers of San Gimignano from Piazza della Cisterna
Piazza della Cisterna with the stone well and la Torre Grossa in the background


Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano
Buildings around la Piazza della Cisterna viewed through the stone well


Via San Giovanni

San Gimignano in Tuscany
A lovely corner we found walking along the streets of San Gimignano


Via San Giovanni in San Gimignano
The arch on the right in Via San Giovanni leads to Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano

Via San Giovanni in San Gimignano
Typical souvenirs shops in Via San Giovanni in San Gimignano


Via San Giovanni in San Gimignano
Through la Porta de San Giovanni you can see La Torre Grossa, from which you can enjoy the best views of San Gimignano


I really would have spent all the day in San Gimignano if I had had enough time, but we had to go to Siena in the afternoon, another great town in Tuscany.

Below you can see the places I visited in Tuscany:

- Tuscany

- Lombardia


Finally, you can see more pictures of the days I spent in Rome last year clicking on the next links:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ITALY - TUSCANY: FLORENCE

After travelling to Rome last year, I have come back to Italy to visit two nice areas of northern Italy: Tuscany and Lombardia. There are really lovely villages in these two provinces of Italy, as well as the beautiful city of Florence.


As with Rome, I wanted to visit Florence since I was a child. When I saw pictures of the Duomo, the Dome of Brunelleschi, El Palazzo Vecchio and El Ponte Vecchio I said to me:" hopefully in the future I can take a closer view of these masterpieces in Florence". Fortunately this time has arrived and I have enjoyed some fantastic days in Florence and Tuscany.

I spent two days in Florence, but I think that an additional day should have been necessary to enjoy this beautiful city of Tuscany more quietly. 


- Beautiful Places in Florence

  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • San Miniato al Monte
  • Duomo Group (Duomo, Campanile, Baptistry)
  • Views from the Duomo Dome
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Ponte Vecchio

- Museums
  • Los Uffizzi
  • Galleria dell'Academia (David de Michelangelo)
  • Palazzo Pitti
  • Il Bargello

- Churches
  • Santa Croce
  • San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapels
  • Orsanmichele

Piazzale Michelangelo


Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence
Red flowers in Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the most lovely places in Florence. I really liked the views of the city from here

Red flowers
I really liked these red flowers in Piazzale Michelangelo


San Miniato al Monte


San Miniato al Monte in Florence
Main façade of the San Miniato al Monte church. From here the views of Florence are fantastic

Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo
View of Florence from a place close to Piazzale Michelangelo

Duomo of Florence
A closer view of the Duomo of Florence, where you can appreciate the impressive dome designed by Brunelleschi



Duomo



Duomo of Florence
Main facade of the Duomo of Florence

Dome of the Duomo of Florence
The impressive and wonderful dome of the Duomo of Florence, a masterpice of Brunelleschi

Painting on the dome of the Duomo of Florence
Painting on the dome of the Duomo of Florence

Marble floor of the Duomo of Florence
Marble floor of the Duomo of Florence. Unlike the exterior, the interior of the cathedral is quite austere excluding the floor



Campanile



Campanile from the dome of the Duomo of Florence
El Campanile from the dome of the Duomo of Florence


Views from the Duomo Dome


Florence from the Duomo Dome
In this picture taken from the Duomo Dome you can see three interesting buildings of Florence: on the left El Palazzo Vecchio; on the right at the top, El Palazzo Pitti and, on the right at the bottom, the Orsanmichele church

Florence from the Duomo Dome
Another view of El Palazzo Vecchio from the Duomo Dome

Florence from the Duomo Dome
We were lucky because the day was lovely and the views from the dome were fantastic. To avoid the queue we arrive at the duomo at 8:30am



Baptistry



Piazza del Duomo in Florence
Piazza del Duomo in Florence with the octagonal baptistry, the campanile di Giotto and the stunning dome

Gates of Paradise in Florence
A detail of the Gates of Paradise, the east pair of doors of the Florence Baptistry, as they were dubbed by Michelangelo. They are a masterpiece of Ghiberti



Piazza della Signoria


David de Michelangelo in Piazza della Signoria
Replica of el David de Michelangelo in Piazza della Signoria in front of El Palazzo Vecchio

Neptune fountain in Piazza della Signoria
Neptune fountain in Piazza della Signoria in Florence

Palazzio Vecchio in Florence
El Palazzio Vecchio and, beside it, the Uffizi

Palazzio Vecchio in Florence
Piazza della Signoria is actually Florence's public living room and outdoor sculpture gallery. Here you can see El David


Palazzo Vecchio



 Palazzio Vecchio in Florence
El Palazzo Vecchio is the most important building in La Piazza della Signoria, where the lovely Loggia on the right shelters Cellini's masterpiece Perseus and Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Women

Palazzio Vecchio in Florence
I really liked the medieval look of El Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

Sala dei Cinquecento inside El Palazzo Vecchio of Florence
The wonderful Sala dei Cinquecento inside El Palazzo Vecchio of Florence



Ponte Vecchio



Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi
Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi. The shops hanging from both sides have housed gold- and silversmiths since the 16th century

Ponte Vecchio in Florence
Walking along el Ponte Vecchio. I really liked the medieval look of this bridge

Ponte Vecchio in Florence
Lovely view of el Ponte Vecchio and the Arno river in the evening

Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo at night


Palazzo Vecchio at night
Palazzo Vecchio at night

Duomo of Florence at night
Duomo of Florence at night


Florence is without any doubt the city with the most stunning buildings and masterpieces I visited in Tuscany and Lombardia, especially the Duomo and El David de Michelangelo. Its old city is lovely and preserves its medieval essence. 

The next day I visited the charming village of San Gimignano and Siena. Siena is smaller than Florence and has preserved even better its medieval look. It's really pleasant to walk along the streets of Siena and to spend a lovely afternoon in La Piazza del Campo. The Duomo of Siena is amazing and the views of the town from La Torre del Mangia of El Palazzo Vecchio are great. All in all, I liked more Siena than Florence.

You can see more pictures of the days I spent in Rome last year clicking on the next links:

Finally, other great cities I have already visited are: