AREZZO AND CORTONA
Full day tour in the southern Tuscany to visit two Etruscans
towns: AREZZO and on the border with UMBRIA region, CORTONA.
We do our first stop in Arezzo, the city was founded by the
Etruscans (Aretium) and passed into the hands of the Romans,
around IIIC B.C.
The buildings run down, from Duomo square, the side of a low
hill, AREZZO is a classic walled hill top medieval town.
The XIIC-XVIC Duomo of AREZZO to crown the city, is one of
the most perfect expressions of the Gothic architecture in
Tuscany. WE start our tour from there.
Down the Duomo, the main street is crossing Piazza Grande,
also called VASARI square, one of the father of the
Renaissance has born here, in the square his beautiful
Palazzo delle Logge. The square is the scenes of the Giostra
del Saracino and the famous Arezzo Antique Fair. We walk
until San Francesco square, the centre of the city where is
located the XIIIC church of San Francesco, it’s worth while
to admire the frescos inside. We can visit the Vasari and
Petrarca houses, before to leave the city.
We take the road to lead Arezzo to Perugia (Umbria region),
crossed same mails of the China valley we view, on our left
side, the outline of CORTONA. The VIIC B.C. Etruscans city
of CORTONA is overlooking the whole Chiana valley, after the
Romans has been an important cultural centre between the
XIVC-XVIIC. We drive up the low hill to get inside the
walled historical city. On the way, the church of Calcinaia
a typical example of Renaissance architecture built in the
XVC by G. Martini. We stop in Signorelli square, the
political city centre.
The square is the old city centre, here we find the XIIC
Palazzo Comunale. We take a walk. We are gonna to visit the
XIC Duomo, close, the interesting Diocesano museum, to
delight our eyes with the works of art by FRA ANGELICO,
SIGNORELLI (born in Cortona), LORENZETTI, SASSETTA. Before
to leave the city one short visit to the Accademia Etrusca..
THE VAL D’ORCIA: MONTEPULCANO AND PIENZA
Full day sightseeing tour in the south west, the Val d’Orcia.
This part of Tuscany has many facets, ruins from Etruscans,
broad acres of fertile land, grain, sunflowers, corn, wheat.
Small vineyards and olive trees on top of the hills
Montepulciano is a majestic small town, generally
Renaissance aspect with enchanting palaces and XVIC
fortification by Antonio Sangallo, on a hill overlooking the
Valdichiana. One important agricultural centre, famous for
the production of the prized Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
We stop in Piazza Grande, the main square. Surroundings the
square the XIVC Palazzo comunale by Michelozzo, the XVIIC
Duomo, by P. Scalza and a series of austere elegant palaces
by A. Sangallo.
We walk down the Ricci street and we get in a beautiful Redi
palace, trough a door the staircase to reach the downstairs
wine cellars of the palace. One wine tasting before to leave
We get out from the walled historical Montepulciano, it’s
inevitable one quick stop at the XVIC church of San Biagio,
the masterpieces by A. Sangallo
Regaining the same country road and driving west, the
landscape became more open until we arrive in PIENZA.
Pienza is an enchanting little Renaissance town built in
only five years by the architect Rossellino from Florence,
XVC under the patronage of the Pope Pio to be born here.
For sure Pienza is one walled town. WE park the car just
outside the city wall to take a nice walk on the central
main rod to cross all the small town.
We can see the Piccolomini Palace (the Pope Pio II), the
Duomo and the Public PalacE, and a lot of small stores to
offer several kinds of Pecorino di Pienza, the famous sheep
THE SOUTHERN SIENA, MONTALCINO AND
THE BRUNELLO COUNTRY
Full day sightseeing tour in and around MONTALCINO and the
Montalcino is one charming small walled medieval hill top
town, on the south west Siena. Left Florence and crossed
Siena, we arrive on top of the hill where is setting the
town, driving first the ancient Cassia road, and then one
country road of the Brunello wine country.
Arrived on top, we can understand the strategic and
beautiful location above
Vines and olive trees and a wide panorama of the surrounding
Brunello countryside. Booking in advance, is possible to
visit a couple of private farm to produce the Brunello wine
, the Rosso di Montalcino, the Moscadello, the Vin Santo.
We leave the car close to the XIVC FORTEZZA with its notable
XVIC ramparts by Cosimo I Medici. On the ground floor inside
a famous Enoteca where is possible to taste the local wines.
Crossing the main square, Piazza del Popolo, we see the
XIIIC Palazzo dei Priori, the town hall with numerous coats
of arms over a portico and the statue of Cosimo I. I would
like to say hello to my friend Mr. Tullio, one of the real
professional oenologist, famous in the area. Today he owns
one Enoteca wine-bar where you can taste hundreds different
wines from all over Italy eating Pecorino cheese, salami,
ham, wild boar sausages, bruschetta with extra virgin olive
oil and garlic.
After our private wines tasting and slow food, we drive to
nearby abbey of SANT’ANTIMO.
The VIIC Abbey is said to be founded by Carlo Magno but
handled until the XIIC. To underline the organ concerts in
July and August and the Gregorian chants.
THE WEST COAST AND THE ETRUSCAN RUINS
Long trip to the south west coast. Left Florence we drive to
Siena and then to Grosseto the administrative centre of the
Tuscan Maremma. Close Grosseto, situated at the foot of one
hill rise the VIC B.C. Etruscans Roselle, the archaeological
park is a very important Etruscans and Romans excavations
We get inside through the city wall built of enormous stone
blocks. The north part is the ancient, from VIC B.C.,
walking to the centre of the city the ruins of monumental
Roman buildings, of the Anfiteatro, of the Imperial forum...
and one Roman villa.
We leave the archaeological park we drive south to reach
Etruscans origin, Pitigliano is a picturesque small town
situated on a rocky spur excavated by three small rivers.
The medieval stone houses give us the impression that the
town is growing out from the rocks. Very good is its the
wine, the excellent Bianco di Pitgliano.
The town part of the GRANDUCATO DI TOSCANA from XVIIC has
been a jewish colony protect by the Medici family, named the
We get inside the Ghetto, The XVIC
Synagogue the old stores where still today you can find the
ASSISI, THE CITY OF SAN FRANCESCO
Full day excursion to visit the capitol of the new
Christianity, ASSISI. Left the main highway A1 on the south
east of Tuscany, we drive the connection until Perugia. Same
mails crossed Perugia we see the outline of ASSISI to extend
itself over the western slopes of the Monte Subasio like a
We do the first stop in SANTA MARIA DEGLI ANGELI, at the
foot of Assisi.
We are gonna to visit the PORZIUNCOLA. The little church,
one of the most touching and biggest symbols of Christianity,
is inside the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The
Porziuncola has been the first and favourite refuge of SAN
Near the Porziuncola there is the “CAPPELLA DEL TRANSITO”
where the Saint abandoned his tired body, Oct. 3th 1226.
We keep the road to Assisi. Got inside the walled city
centre we park the car to go to visit the ST. FRANCI’S
BASILICA. The lower church where there is the tomb of the
Saint, and the upper, built with white stones in Gothic
style, we can admire the famous Giotto’s paintings.
Arrived in Piazza del Comune, the city centre we stop to
take lunch. Surroundings the square the XIIC Palazzo del
Popolo, the Palazzo dei Priori, the seat of the city
government, the 1st C MINERVA TEMPLE transformed into the
church of Santa Maria over Minerva.
After lunch we go to visit the Basilica di SANTA CHIARA. The
Basilica was erected in 1257 in Gothic style but with the
characteristic Franciscan sobriety. Santa Chiara founded the
order of the Poor Ladies. Inside the CAPPELLA del CROCIFISSO
so named for the Crucifix which spoke to San Francesco at
the beginning of his conversion.