Tour Siena and San Gimignano
L’Ultimo Mulino is the ideal hotel for discovering the beauties of this special zone of Tuscany. The hotel, in fact, is located only 25 minutes by car far from Siena, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy that must not be missed in a journey program during a stay in Chianti.
Siena, with its well-kept medieval architecture, satisfies every art lover and everyone that has been charmed by this special town. There is always something to admire from the little hidden squares to the buildings of the XIV and XV centuries. The fact that the traffic is absent in the centre makes a walking in the city more beautiful and give the impression to be immersed in the medieval atmosphere of the location.
During a visit in Siena you don’t have to miss to visit Piazza del Campo, the famous square for its shell shape and the heart of the town, where there is the well known horse race of Palio. In the square the Fountain Gaia is located, an unique one for its shape and for the images. In Piazza del Campo the Mangia Tower and he Public Palace are also located. The tower, built in 1848 and 102m high, offers a wonderful view of the city and of the countryside around Siena. The Public Palace, built between 1297 and 1342 is a classic gothic architecture example in Tuscany. There is also the Cathedral to visit. This is a splendid building made with a style influenced by Romanic and Gothic one with white and green marbles on the façade. In the cathedral there are masterpieces of many famous artists like Donatello, Pisano and Arnolfo di Cambio. One of the best thing is the marble pavement made by many important artists.
San Gimignano is located with its famous towers on the top of a hill ( mt 334) in Val d’Elsa. It has been declared humanity heritage by UNESCO thanks to its special medieval architecture. The XIII century structure of San Gimignano is mostly untouched, even if many works were made during the XIX century, for this reason this town is one the best example in Europe of city’s organization of the period of Comune. San Gimignano is also quite famous for its sixteen medieval towers. The most ancient one is the Torre del Podesà , named as Rognosa, that is 51mt high, the tallest is the Torre Grossa that is 54mt high. There is also Palazzo Comunale or Palazzo Nuovo del Podestà: in past times this building was for podestà , nowadays it is the civic museum where there are many works made by important artists like Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino, Pier Francesco Fiorentino, etc. Moreover, in Palazzo Comunale it is possible to visit the Dante room with a famous work of art by Lippo Menni, La Maestà.
Tour Montalcino and Pienza
Located on an enchanting 564mt high hill, Montalcino keeps its charming as ancient medieval town. Montalcino has been very lucky being located in the heart of one of the most important zone for the wine production. The land, in fact, is famous for the San Giovese vineyards that produce the famous Brunello di Montalcino and the DOC wines like Rosso di Montalcino and S.Antimo wine. Walking in the town it’s possible to admire many medieval architecture works of art like the town’s walls that still have the ancient doors and the Palazzo Comunale (building of the end of the XIII century), the Piazza del Popolo ( with arches of the XIV and XV centuries), the cathedral in neoclassic style ( built in an ancient Pieve of the XI century), the Sanctuary of Saint Mary ( built in the XVII century on a church of 1400), the Sant'Egidio Church (of the XIV century), and the beautiful churches of Saint Agostino and Saint Francesco with their convents.
The history of Pienza is strongly linked with that one of Enea Silvio Piccolomini born in Pienza the 18th of Ottobre in 1405 and Pope in 1458 with the name of Pio II. Being a great literate Pio II turned Pienza (Corsignano) from little medieval town (the ancient Castle of Corsignano has been known since 828) into a clerical residence in Renaissance style. The heart of city is Piazza Pio II square with the Cathedral and its beautiful buildings of Renaissance:
- the Cathedral of Assunta: the artist, the Rossellino, was inspired by the gItlian gothic tradition for the project of the Cathedral.
- Palazzo Piccolomini: inspired by Palazzo Rucellai in Florence. Palazzo Piccolomini was the residence of Pope. Today it is a museum whre many ancient things of Piccolomini family are kept. The arcade in fornt of the garden and internal courtyard are very beautiful.
- Palazzo Comunale: made with travertine marble above a door full of inscriptions. In the main room is a special fresco made by an unknown artist of the XV century from Siena.
- Palazzo degli Ammannati: in the corner between Piazza Pio II and Corso Rossellino street, Palazzo degli Ammannati has been recently restored. Its walls are full of symbol of popes.
The foundation of Florence is of the Etruscan period; the city was born around 200 b.C. as a colony of the city of Fiesole. During the period of the Roman Empire the city (Florentia) became a roman colony that was very important for the control of Flaminia way, but its real cultural, linguistic, politic and artistic development was during the XIV and XV centuries. In this period Florence strongly influenced the progress of Italian culture thanks to splendid periods like the Humanism and the Renaissance. The most important man that was born and lived in Florence is Dante Alighieri.
The city is located in the centre of Italy in a wide valley surrounded by hills and mountains. It is the head city of the region Tuscany and has about 400.000 inhabitants. It is possible pass through the historical centre of the city in only 30 minute walking; in the heart of the city the main touristic attractions are located. Florence has been always considered the crib of art of the Renaissance in Italy; thanks to the job of great artists like Leonardo, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Raffaello, Florence offers an unique atmosphere as it keeps the shape of a late medieval city. Florence is the most artistic city in Italy just after Rome; 11 millions of visitors, in fact, come to the city every year. Amongst the main touristic attractions there is one of the most famous museum in the world: the Uffizi. In the historical centre of the city is still possible living the atmosphere of the past times, feeling the tastes and the flavors of the ancient times, experiencing the poetry described by many authors that have written about Florence in their works.
Florence is the city of the Renaissance and of the Italian art thanks to its artistic heritage. The capital of Tuscany offers unique touristic attractions:
- Piazza della Signoria: is the heart of the city. From here getting the main museums, the Ponte Vecchhio and the most famous churches of Florence is very easy. On this square there are most important buildings in the city.
- Palazzo Vecchio: located in Piazza della Signoria is the home of the town hall’s offices, in the past it was the residence of Medici family.
- Ponte Vecchio: it is the most ancient bridge in Florence, the only one that was not bombed during the Second World War. Today it is very famous for its jewelries and evry day thousands of visitors pass through it. From Ponte Vecchio it is possible to enjoy a special view, one of the most beautiful in Florence (another special view is from Piazzale Michelangelo).
- Palazzo Pitti: near Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio was built inl 1457 by Pitti family. Then it became the residence of Medici family and today it is the home of important museums, as Galleria Palatina museum with works of art by Rubens, Caravaggio and Tiziano.
- Uffizi museum: one of the most important museum in the world. Usually the Uffuzi are the first visit made by a tourist. In the museum, situated in a XVI century building made by Giorgio Vasari under request of Cosimo I de Medici, big collections of great artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio and Raffaello are present.
- The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: the church is located in Piazza Duomo in the historical centre of Florence. It was built step by step since 1296 and it was finished in the XV century with the realization of the wonderful dome by Brunelleschi. Inside the cathedral there are precious works of art by Andrea del Castagno, Donatello , Paolo Uccello, Luca della Robbia.
- Baptistery of San Giovanni: it is located in Piazza Duomo in front of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. Inside the baptistery there are beautiful mosaics. The Baptistery is famous also for the golden Paradise Door made by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the XV century.
Tour Arezzo and Cortona
Arezzo is located on a hill in the eastern Tuscany in the nearby of the Apennines mountains. As proved by the architecture of the city, Arezzo has a very ancient origin and it was one of the most important Etruscan town and then of the Roman empire. The highest part of the city keeps medieval characteristics with the cathedral and the Fortress. The Cathedral, that has also gothic elements, has precious works of art like Maddalena by Piero della Francesca and the windows made by Guillaume de Marcillat. Piazza Grande, that is located in the centre of the city, has different architecture style. There are, in fact, medieval towers and the Loggiato Vasariano arcade, one of the most interesting works of art of the Renaissance; Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici building, a beautiful example of synthesis of the gothic and renaissance architecture and the apse of Pieve di Santa Maria. Piazza Grande becomes the scenery of the Giostra del Saracino, a horse tournament with medieval origins, every third Saturday a month. In the historical centr thare is also the Antiquarian Fair every first Sunday a month. The Bacci chapel in Basilica di San Francesco holds the extraordinary frescoes of Leggenda della Vera Croce by Piero della Francesca, one of the most important work of art in the Italian Renaissance painting. In the Saint Domenico church the Cross painted by Cimabue is kept.
Cortona, from its 500mt in highness, dominates the whole Valdichiana up to the top of Amiata mountain. It is all surrounded by ancient walls that represent an interesting element of the landscape and a monument very important archeologically. The medieval characteristic of the buildings and the ways give to the city a very charming atmosphere. The Basilica of Santa Margherita e the Sanctuary delle Celle invite the visitor to discover Cortona starting frpom the highest part of the city, offering an itinerary of art and faith in the nearby of the historical centre. Walkinf through Ruga Piana, the nowadays street nazionale, the only plain way of the city, we meet Piazza della Repubblica, with the medieval Palazzo Comunale, Palazzo Casali, in the past it was the residence of a noble family, now it is the home of Museum of Etruscan Accademy. The rooms hold interesting roman and Etruscan archeological findings. In the north part of the there in front of the cathedral there is the Museum Diocesano where many works of art by great artist like Luca Signorelli and Beato Angelico are kept. Outside the town at the bottom of the hill there are Meloni I and II of Sodo, Etruscan tombs of the VI century b.C.. In direction of Foiano della Chiana there is the Santa Maria in Farneta Abbey one of the most ancient expressions of the Romanic style from Arezzo. A very important appointment is CortonAntiquaria fair, one of the most interesting market of the national antiquarian products. The fair is every year inside Palazzo Vagnotti and Palazzo Casali, from the end of August to the beginning of September.