Tuscany Journals

Winter Tuscany

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A December 2007 trip to Tuscany by MagdaDH_AlexH

Arno riverside Photo, Pisa, Italy More Photos
Quote: Our last visit to Tuscany was a week-long stay in Pisa in December 2007: the first children-less holiday for years, and the first time in Italy in the winter. My dating is approximate - it was certainly December but I am not sure of particular dates.

Pisa

Pisa Revisited

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Story/Tip

Pisa as seen from the leaning tower Photo, Pisa, Italy
Quote:
We spent a week in Pisa in December 2007, and I have no idea why I haven't written anything about this part of Italy before. I fell in love with Pisa after a one-night stand of sorts seven years prior to this last visit, during my first ever trip to Italy in 2000. We stayed one night only and arrived after dark, to depart early in the morning for a Corsica ferry from nearby Livorno. And thus my first view of the Pisan Campo dei Miracoli was a night-time one - the white marble of the wondrous buildings floodlit against the silvery-inky sky, the tat merchants and most of the tourists gone, the square itself quiet, eerie and heart achingly beautiful. The Campo certainly lived up to its name then....Read More

Piazza dei Miracoli

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Attraction | "The Field of Miracles"

Photo of Pisa, Italy
Quote:
Campo dei Miracoli is the centre of the tourist interest in Pisa, and most of the city's best sights are located here or nearby, including of course the iconic Leaning Tower. My favourite building is probably the Baptistery: a wonderful, round and somehow squat creation of white marble, combining the lower rounded Romanesque arches with the higher ones being of the pointed Gothic variety. It's the largest baptistery in Italy and was built between 12th and 14th centuries, being the second building in the Campo complex. There is a wonderful pulpit (1260) inside the Baptistery, sculpted between in the mid 13th century by Nicola Pisano, father of Giovanni (the author of the even better pulpit ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 28, 2009

Hotel Bologna (Pisa)

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Hotel | "Pleasant 3-Star"

Hotel Bologna (Pisa) Photo, Pisa, Italy
Quote:
Hotel Bologna is a large hotel located in an elegant palazzo on a reasonably quiet street about 10 minutes walk from the train station and another 10 minutes walk from the historic centre (20 minutes from Piazza dei Miracoli). I have seen complaints about noise during the night, but our room was perfectly quiet (it faced to the back of the building) and we didn't have any problems with that (and we always take earplugs anyway). The room itself was pleasant enough, although not particularly big. The bed was wide and comfortable, the rest of the décor a little bit stark perhaps (stone floors and dark green stained wooden slats), but I think it was partially to do with...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2009

Hotel Bologna (Pisa)
Via Mazzini, 57
Tuscany, Italy
050502120

Certosa di Pisa

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Attraction | "Serene Exaltation"

Certosa di Pisa Photo, Pisa, Italy
Quote:
Certosa di Pisa, also known as Certosa di Calci is a former Carthusian monastery (charterhouse), now a museum. It's located near the village of Calci, about 10 km from Pisa, and thus a good destination for a day (or half-day) trip from Pisa. Carthusian order cultivated both eremitical and community life and a Carthusian monastery might be, paradoxically, described as a community of hermits. Each monk had his own hermitage, with a small enclosed garden. Most of the time the monks lived in their hermitages: praying, studying and working, either in the garden or some manual occupation and observing the rule of silence. Their meals were served via turnstile-like hatches (operated by lay broth...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 21, 2009

Certosa di Pisa
Calci Via Roma
Pisa, Italy

...and the rest

Uffizi Gallery

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Attraction | "Treasure Box"

Uffizi Gallery Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
Florence's Uffizi is one of the iconic galleries of the world, and probably the best collection of paintings in Italy. Everybody with any interest in Italian (and by extension, European) painting of the last last few hundred years, but particularly Renaissance should try to visit. Uffizi being the busiest single building in Italy, it's not always easy to get in. In the summer, the queues are longer than the building itself, and as the number of people allowed in is sensibly limited, only early morning arrival (and half a day of more spent queuing) will ensure entry. In the winter things are better, but it's still sensible to allow for an hour's wait at least. It's possible to...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 21, 2009

Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale Degli Uffizi, 6
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 05523885

Historic Centre of Siena

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Attraction | "Medieval Republic"

Historic Centre of Siena Photo, Siena, Italy
Quote:
Siena sits deep among the Tuscan hills as a Gothic counterpoint to Renaissance Florence, compact, not terribly overrun with tourists, a fruit of civic spirit rather than aristocratic patronage. Throughout Italy and the world, Siena is known for Il Palio, an ancient horse race conducted in the main square of the town, not just a pageant, but very much a real-life interest of many a Sienese. The race is between the contrade, 17 districts originally of administrative role, but still having a huge influence on local identities. Each contrada has its own imagery, symbols, colours, church and a bar too.Siena's original prosperity was built on banking but its significance seriously d...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 22, 2009

Historic Centre of Siena

Siena, Tuscany

Siena from above Photo, Siena, Italy
Quote:
The Rough Guide to Tuscany & Umbria, by Jonathan Buckley & Mark Ellingham***I sang the praises of the general Rough Guide to Italy elsewhere, but revisiting again this regional guide in the process of writing up our trip to Tuscany two years ago, I was reminded of how good indeed this particular Rough Guide is. I bought it because I wanted to supplement the general Rough Guide to Italy I had with more detailed coverage of the region in which we were going to spend the whole trip - and I was extremely happy with the result.The Rough Guides are meant to cover the one of the bottom brackets of the travel market - perhaps a notch up from the Lonely ...Read More