Towns

Top Picks for Traveling The Tuscan Maremma

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An awesome guest article by Elisa from Maremma Tuscany! Even if you have never been to Tuscany, you can probably imagine its farmhouse villas and breathtaking countryside in an instant. But for most tourists, Tuscany is Florence, Siena and Pisa. Stop. Most don’t realise there is a whole other side to Tuscany. A side that is more wild and authentic. A side that still breathes laidback country days. A side that truly is Tuscany off-the-beaten track. It’s called the Maremma. To discover the Maremma, you have to leave the cities behind and plunge into magnificent Southern Tuscany. Just don’t look for any road signs. The Maremma is a centuries’ old name used by the locals to describe their beautiful surroundings. It’s more of a feeling...

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Immaculate Bridge

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This is not a bridge that exists between two river banks or mountains forming a gorge. It is a bridge that connects two holidays. What on earth am I talking about? Bridge is an Italian term extending the concept of a concrete bridge to describe one or two days between two holidays. Therefore, if you have the Immaculate conception day (today December 8), and an upcoming weekend, Friday and Saturday become a holiday, the actual “bridge” connecting the two official festive days. It is therefore more than a long weekend. By the way, instead of bridge you may read or hear the Italian term “ponte”, which is indeed bridge. Sometimes a ponte is made official by firms, sometimes it is implied; the majority of workers will take a day or two off...

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Piazza del Campo by Night

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This is Piazza del Campo the way you have never seen it! The Palio is run twice a year, and in those two occasions the main scene where the happening takes place, is radically transformed. The most visible transformation is the gray stone-paved ring all around the red brick center that is turned into a yellow layer of smooth tufa dirt. This is done to allow horses to run without shoes and maintain grip, also avoiding ankle injuries. Have you ever asked yourself when is the Piazza del Campo in Siena transformed from this to that? It takes a couple of nights. It is something usually kept away from people’s sight. Workers come around at about 3 am, when the late summer passersby have retreated to their beds. This is the time when about half the ring is covered...

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Palio of Siena and Magic

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These are Palio days, and as usual I cannot do without being in Siena visiting some friends of mine at their house in town. It is always a wonderful feeling to dine outdoors at their apartment. They have a nice terrace that overlooks part of Siena, and there we have great fun dining during the warm summer evenings prior to the Palio. It is a fascinating experience to meet other guests at my friends’ table, true Sienese people that are passionate about the Palio and have tons of fun anecdotes to tell. I just learned about one that made me laugh quite a bit and also gave me an unexpected insight about the great amount of superstition involved with the Palio of Siena. You may not know it, but the Palio was born as a religious celebration in honor to the Virgin...

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An Art Tour of Tuscany

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Tuscany, located in Central Italy, is absolutely overflowing with art, history and culture. As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, which set off the Renaissance throughout all of Europe at the start of the 13th century, and as the home of many incredibly influential people in the areas of art and science, Tuscany has been a well known and highly regarded place for centuries. For people who enjoy art and history, Tuscany is a great vacation destination. Throughout the medieval times and the Renaissance, there were four main schools of Tuscan art that competed with each other. These schools were the Florentine, Sienese, Pisan and Lucchese schools. Today, examples of Florentine art can be found in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the church of Santa...

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Wine Melodies in Tuscany - A Festival

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“Imagine sipping some of the most delicious wines immersed in the Tuscan countryside while listening to some of the most inspiring music. It is not a dream, it is Melody of Wine“. Such are the opening words of the promotional video of this event. Lots of enthusiasm for the first edition of the “Melodia del Vino” wine and music festival. It is a ten days long event that from June 28 to July 8, 2011 will interest four important wine production territories in Tuscany: the provinces of Siena, Grosseto, Florence and Lucca. The project was imported from Bordeaux, the famous French wine region, by the same organizers of the French edition of the event. The program, which is still in the stage of being finalized, includes six classical music...

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