Volterra stands on a rocky hill some 1770 feet above the sea level, surrounded by strong walls. The city of Volterra has its roots in 3,000 years of history. It is possible to find evidence and traces from every historical period: The ancient city walls, the imposing Porta all`Arco, the Necropolis of Marmini and the numerous archeological finds conserved in the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci bear testimony of the Etruscan period; the Theatre of Vallebona survives from the period of Augustus and suggests the importance of Volterra under Roman domination. Today the city conserves above all a medieval aspect not only for the 12th century city walls but also because of the urban layout with narrow streets, palaces, tower houses and churches. The Renaissance had an important influence on Volterra as well, from this period are the superb palaces of Minucci Solaini, Incontri-Viti and Inghirami, , the imposing Fortezza Medicea and the Convent of San Girolamo.
Volterra is the city of alabaster par excellence. The large natural deposits of alabaster in its surroundings are considered one of the most precious around the world given its particular compactness, transparency, veins and hardness. The Museum of Alabaster in Volterra displays over 300 alabaster art works made between the 18th and 19th centuries. The private collection has been assembled over the course of 30 years by the Bruchi family.
Relatively uncrowded between Florence and Pisa - Towns with true architectural beauty and charm: mazes of narrow streets, Romanesque churches and beyond them stretches a land of genteel spas such as Montecatini Terme.
Rome is undeniably stunning, from its rich ancient culture, must try pizzas and coffees or just experiencing a touch of Europe. This city is packed full of sights, with thousands of years of history layered upon itself - you`ll find everything here from Roman ruins to Renaissance art. It`s also home to fantastic food, the Vatican City and sights galore!
Recommended Stay: At least 3 nights Must See`s:
Explore the Roman Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine; Discover the Vatican, the smallest independent state in the world; Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain; Marvel at the Pantheon; Sit on the Spanish Steps; Wander the Piazzas; Eat the best Gelato in Rome; Climb Palatine Hill; Walk the Ancient Appian Way; Go to the Vatican Museums and so much more!
With sumptuous palaces and romantic waterways, Venice is straight out of an 18th-century Canaletto masterpiece. No matter how many times you have seen it in movies or TV commercials, the real thing is more surreal and dreamlike than you ever imagined. Its landmarks, the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale are exotic mélanges of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. It is full of secrets, ineffably romantic, and - at times - given over entirely to pleasure. You must walk everywhere in Venice and where you cannot walk, you go by water.
Recommended Stay: 2 nights Must See`s:
People-watch at Piazza San Marco, Stroll Across the Rialto Bridge, Get Lost in the Endless Canals, Admire the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Visit the San Giorgio dei Greci, Walk Around the Jewish Ghetto, Learn About Venice`s Musical History, Tour Venice`s Unique Architecture at Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Celebrate One of Venice'` Many Festivals, Go Window Shopping, and so much more!
Art, culture, food and wine, Florence has it all! A city rich in beauty, it is a wondrous collection of buildings, paintings and sculptures, leading some to say by simply walking its streets Florence is an open museum to all who visit. Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, when a period of great wealth and collection of art took place (between 14th to 17th centuries), today Florence has almost 70 museums to explore not including its many churches full of artistic treasures too. This is truly one of the world`s must see sights!
Recommended Stay: At least 2 nights Must See`s: The Duomo Complex, Church of Santa Croce, The Cathedral, The Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell`Accademia, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and so much more!
Milan is Italy`s window on Europe, its most sophisticated and high-tech metropolis. La Scala, its landmark, is one of Europe`s most prestigious opera houses. In addition, it'` the site of several world-renowned annual trade fairs. Milan is one of Europe`s top shopping cities, with an incredible concentration of sophisticated, high style boutiques - and that`s only fitting because Milan is the dynamo of the Italian fashion industry. Dolce & Gabbana, Ferré, Krizia, Moschino, Prada, Armani, and Versace have all catapulted to international stardom from design studios based here. Inevitably, shopping is of almost religious significance.
Recommended Stay: 3 nights
Must See`s: The Last Supper by Michelangelo, The Duomo, Pinacoteca di Brera, Quadrilatero d`Oro, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Scala museum and theatre, Piazza Fontana. Arco della Pace, the churches of Santa Maria delle Grazie and San Lorenzo, Corso Venezia and Piazza San Babila and Sforzesco Castle.
The Amalfi Coast has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its remarkable beauty and distinct natural landscape. Traditional houses, painted in pastel colors, follow the slope of the foothills of Mounts Lattari, creating a picturesque scene. From the characteristic terraces, the strong scents of the lemon groves, the vineyards, the broom and the vibrant colors of bougainvillea combine with the salt air to delight the senses.
The Amalfi Coast is comprised of bays, coves and quaint small towns, precariously perched on mountainside. The blues of the sea, the greens of the Mediterranean vegetation and the colors of the houses all combine to paint one of the most spectacular landscapes on the Italian coast. Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello, Vietri sul Mare and Positano are compared to precious pearls that make up a ‘necklace’ of small towns (twelve total) on the coast.
A medieval hill, known for being the birthplace of Saint Francis and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its represents `a series of masterpieces of man`s creative spirit.` Everything revolves around its most renowned citizen, St. Francis, Patron Saint of Italy: from the Basilica, which is dedicated to the Saint and contains his tomb, to the hermitage (Eremo delle Carceri), a few miles outside the town walls, where St. Francis used to retreat in prayer.
Must See`s: Basilica of Saint Francis (UNESCO World Heritage Site from the 13th century); Church of Santa Chiara (houses the San Damiano Crucifix which spoke to Francis in 1206); San Rufino Cathedral (12th century Romanesque façade); Rocca Maggiore Castle; Roman Amphitheater from the first century surrounded by medieval houses; Piazza del Commune (with the 13th century Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and Palazzo dei Priori and the Temple of Minerva facing the square.
The beautiful town of Siena is the largest of hill towns that are scattered among Tuscany. The city is famous for its large square, Piazza Del Campo, winding medieval alleyways, and the Palio, a historic horse race that takes place twice during the summer months. Today, Siena continues to maintain a distinctively medieval atmosphere and is a great place to discover Tuscany at its medieval best, with numerous gothic palaces, pastry shops and unequaled altarpieces.
Recommended Stay:At least 3 nights Must See`s:
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta; Piazza del Campo; Palazzo Pubblico; Torre del Mangia; Biblioteca Piccolomini; Siena National Gallery; Church of San Domenico; Piazza Salimbeni; Porta Pispini; Siena Civic Museum and so much more!
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