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Art City in Tuscany
A Wonderful Region of Italy
Very few places in the world can boast an artistic legacy with contents so deeply rooted in the territory and popular culture as Tuscany. We invite you to discover this elect land of art and civilisation which today continues to be a sought-after place of residence and source of inspiration for numerous Italian and foreign artists. The countless testimonies of art in Tuscany indeed narrate a story as articulated and complex as it is unique and unrepeatable, starting at the dawn of civilisation and continuing, without solution of continuity, up until present day. For the visitor, a trip to Tuscany at the beginning of the Third Millennium holds much the same fascination that accompanied the travellers on the Grand Tour. The first-time visitor to the lands of Tuscany can not but be amazed by the natural symbiosis between landscape and culture, history and the expressive means of architecture and town-planning, the urban and rural dimension, and its patrimony of art, architecture, monuments and museums. A cradle of Italian civilisation and one of the greatest crucibles of modern European culture, Tuscany is not only tied to the extraordinary elaboration of concepts and the original expression of forms and methods that left their mark in more than two millennia of history: it was itself a forge of an extraordinary artistic production that set pace and means on the continent. We need only recall the universal nature of the Renaissance which, starting in Florence and thanks to the versatility and genius of its extraordinary interpreters, spread and took root throughout Europe. Tuscany as a workshop of artistic experiences, as a place of synthesis and rebirth on a universal level. A synthesis of art in this region begins with the cave dwellings of Cetona, the stele-statues of Lunigiana, the presence of ancient civilisations on Elba Island, and then continues with the Etruscan necropolises with tangible signs of a Roman past, the countless testimonies of the Middle Ages, the flowering of the Gothic, the explosion of the Renaissance, the opulence of the Baroque, the Macchiaioli, the flowery art nouveau style, termed Liberty, finally reaching the expressions and trends of contemporary art.
Florence keeps an exceptional artistic heritage which is a marvellous evidence of its aged culture. Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived in Florence as well as Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, renewers of architecture and sculpture; Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio forefathers of the Renaissance, Ghiberti and the Della Robbias , Filippo Lippi and Angelico ; Botticelli , Paolo Uccello and the universal genius of Leonardo and Michelangelo . Their works, together with those of many other generations of artists up to the artists of our century, are gathered in the several museums of the town : the Uffizzi, the most selected gallery in the world, the Palatina gallery with the paintings of the "Golden Ages" . The Bargello Tower with the sculptures of the Renaissance, the museum of San Marco with Angelico's works, the Academy, the chapels of the Medicis , Buonarroti' s house with the sculptures of Michelangelo , the following museums: Bardini , Horne, Stibbert, Romano, Corsini, The Gallery of Modern Art, The museum of " Opera del Duomo",the museum of Silverware and the museum of "Precious" Stones. Great monuments are the landmarks florentine artistic culture: the Baptistry with its mosaics; the Cathedral with its sculptures, the medieval churches with bands of frescoes; public as well as private palaces: Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati; monasteries, cloisters, refectories; the "Certosa". In the archeological museum you will find plenty of documents of Etruscan civilization.
Siena or the town with the best quality in life. The first town Concil in Europe which decided to close the streets of the centre to traffic in 1996. Siena is an international centre of culture, with a University aged 750 and great Istitutions as the Chigiana Music Accademy, the University for Foreigners, "The Accademia dei Fisiocratici"," The accedemia degli Intronati". This is the town where any single "stone" has remained unchanged over the centuries, the atmosphere is unique for everything bear witness to ancient past which is still alive in the celebrations for "Palio" taking place every year with renewed enthusiasm.
Pisa, famous all over the world for its Leaning Tower which dominates and exalts the magnificence of Piazza del Duomo, boasts a millenary history which mostly developed at the time of the Maritime Republics. Pisa is a real jewel- case with its roman and gothic churches, its squares and palaces that give splendour to the old streets and to the quarters winding along the Arno. It is one of the most important university towns thanks to its several and different faculties and the well- known "Scuola Normale" in Cavalieri Square. Sightseeing Pisa you will not only discover art, history, culture but natural environments too such as Migliarino Park, San Rossore, the Coast, Monte Pisano; all of them offer a charming scenery to the traveller.
Livorno was defined as an "ideal town" at the Renaissance time. Nowadays it reveals its history through its neighbourhoods, crossed by canals and surrounded by fortified town-walls, through the tangle of its streets, which embroider the town's Venice district, and through the Medici Port characteristically overlooked by towers and fortresses leading to the town centre. Designed by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti at the end of the 16th century, Livorno underwent a period of great town planning expansion at the end of the 17th century. Near the defensive pile of the Old Fortress, a new fortress, together with the town-walls and the system of navigable canals, was then built.
Nowadays the Venice district preserves most of its original town planning and architectural features such as the bridges, the narrow lanes, the noblemen's houses and a dense network of canals which once linked the port to its storehouses. In the 18th and 19th centuries Livorno, by then grown up and open to the world, had a lively appearance marked by neo-classical buildings, town parks housing important museums and cultural institutions, Liberty villas with sea views, the market. The town has a cosmopolitan soul and a history of its own. Once it was a cross-roads for the world and home to foreign communities the past existence of which is still witnessed by churches, synagogues and gardens.
Livorno is the birthplace of painters and composers: Amedeo Modigliani, Giovanni Fattori and the Macchiaioli school and Pietro Mascagni. They influenced the development of art all over the world. Important cultural institutions like the town museum Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori are the setting for permanent and temporary painting exhibitions on an international scale. The town museum Museo Mascagnano houses memorabilia, documents and operas by the great composer Pietro Mascagni. Every year some of his operas are traditionally played during the lyric music season, which is organised by the Traditional Theatre of Livorno. Up in the hills the Sanctuary of Montenero, which is dedicated to Our Lady of the Graces, the patron saint of Tuscany, is a fixed destination for pilgrims. It is famous for the adjacent gallery, decorated with ex-voti mainly connected to stories of miraculous sea rescue
Lucca among the "State Towns" of Tuscany, is the only town which could maintain its indipendence till 1847. It is the true evidence of the loving care of the nobles from Lucca who protected the freedom of the "Civitas" with its intact Walls as a platform (XVI-XVII Cent.), having a perimeter of Km. 4250 with 10 bastions, and the terraces partly preserved. In the medieval town surronded by walls, artistic and historic monuments stand out, as the Roman Amphiteatre, The Basilica of San Frediano, The Square and the Church of St. Michele , The Cathedral of St. Martino with the "Holy face" and the Tomb of "Ilaria del Carretto" engraved by "Jacopo della Quercia", the Guinigi Tower, Fillungo Road, the Ducale Palace in Napoleon square, last evidences of the Principato of Lucca.
Prato, offers an impressive artistic and historic itinerary from the Middle Age to the Avant-garde. In the old town centre The castle of the Emperor, the only evidence of Swabian architecture in central northern Italy, the Cathedral, Palazzo Pretorio, The Basilica of St. Maria delle Carceti, The Churches of St. Francesco and St. Domenico, keep the works of great artists as Agnolo Gaddi, Paolo Uccello, Filippo and Filippino Lippi, Donatello and other famous artists of the 13th century and of the Renaissance. The Museum of Wall Painting, The Museum of Opera del Duomo and The Gallery of the Alberti house collections including works of art of XIX century. In the Museum of Cloth you can see samples from the V century up to the present day. The east side of the town with its modern buildings and the Centre of Contemporary Art "Luigi Pecci" give an important view of Avant-garde.
In the grid of the modern town you can find the old town centre surrounded by the green "Hexagon" of the ramparts which Francesco I renewed (1574). After the ravage of the Saracen in 935 the survivors from Roselle, an etruscan town, took shelter here, on the plain of Ombrone river a dozen of kilometres away from the sea. The fortune of the place followed the frequent alternation between land drainage and malaria which has been defeated in our century. Since 1336 Siena owned the town which surrendered to the Medicis only in 1559, after Montalcino. Grosseto is the chief town and market of "Tuscan Maremma", it is essentially based on agricolture. You can visit The Cathedral built at the end of 1200, the "Art and Archeological Museum", the Walls and the church of St.Francis, in the surroundings there is the Natural Park of Maremma and the Etruscan ruins of Roselle.
A charming hilly town in the east of Tuscany, Arezzo boasts ancient origins. It was one of the greatest etruscan "Lucumonie" succesively it became a Roman town having a strategic position. It was an important centre for economic activities and for its oustanding monuments , such as the Amphitheatre with numerous ruins. Famous for its foundries and the artistic manufactures of red-painted vases (the so called coral vases) which spread all over the Roman world. In the Middle Age, Arezzo was a free city-state where the Ghibellina supporters often prevail in an atmosphere of friction with nearby Florence. After the rout of Campaldino (1289) its fortunes were low and apart from a brief period under the Tartari, it definetely yielded to Florentine domination (1384) and became part of Medicean Granducato. Arezzo is set on a hill above the plain made up of the floods from Arno river. In the upper part of the town you can find the Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Medici Fortress, from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval aspect even if we can find later architectonic monuments.
Carrara, the biggest and most important world centre for the excavation , working and commerce of marble, is situated at the foot of the Apuan Alps, nesteld in the middle of green hills. The name of the town comes from the root "Kar" (stone) which witnesses its ancient origin. At first it was a small village inhabited by the the peaceful tribes of Liguri and Apuani, then it became the trading centre of Luni, a colony founded by the Romans who first exploited the rich marble quarries. Because of its strategic and favourable position as well as its natural richness offered by marble, Carrara was continuosly sought after . During the Middle Age it was under Byzantine and Lombard rule and in 1235 it became a city-state having the coat of arms with the wheel that is still in use. In the age of the "Seigniory" Carrara was under the Marquisate of Malaspina then it became a Principality with the Cybo family and a Duchy with the Este family. Carrara was annexed by means of a plebiscite to the Italian Kingdom in 1859.
Set under the Appenine mountains, Pistoia is a tourist mixture of history, art, folk traditions, monuments, nature and gastronomic specialities. Among the famous towns in Tuscany, Pistoia shows original claracteristics and it is really worth sighseeing it.
It has been defined as a "minor art centre" where the adjective minor does not aim at diminishing its importance but it means that the tourist can visit the town even in a short time.
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