Perugia and Assisi

Perugia: located in the green region of Umbria, an hour driving from Serre di Rapolano, Perugia boasts Etruscan origins, many Roman settlements and a perfectly preserved Medieval center. After the Etruscan domination thanks to the Roman emperor Augustus who conquered the city, it became Augusta Perusia. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city became  rich and independent due to its commercial trades thus remaining along its history faithful to the Popal State until the unification of Italy. Perugia is the seat of two important universities: Università degli Studi, founded in 1308, and the University for Foreigners, the foremost in Italy. Besides its vast artistic heritage, the city hosts international events: The Umbria Jazz Festival is one of the most important venues for Jazz in Europe, held annually since 1973, in July, the International Journalism Festival, Eurochocolate, usually in October, Music Fest Perugia, festival for young talented musicians, usually in the summer.

 

 

Some of the treasures You will find in Perugia: Rocca Paolina, Etruscan town walls, Palazzo dei Priori, Roman Acqueduct.,

Assisi: it is the birthplace of the Franciscan Order and  was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. From the Middle Ages the city has been associated with the cult and diffusion of the Franciscan movement in the world, focusing on the universal message of peace and tolerance. The city represents an ensemble of masterpieces of human creative genius, which have made it a fundamental reference for art history in Europe and all over the world.

 

 

Some of the treasures You will find in Assisi:

The Porziuncola Museum, Cathedral Museum and Crypt of St. Rufino, Treasure Museum & F.M. Perkins Collection, Civic Museum & Roman Forum.

 

 

Rapolano Terme and Serre di Rapolano

 Holidays in Tuscany

Rapolano Terme

Rapolano Terme is situated in one of the most fascinating areas of the Siena province known as Crete Senesi. It is  mainly characterised by pure and unspoilt nature. The landscape is magnetic and charming: cypresses, clays, tiny villages, old monasteries enrich this area of Southern Tuscany, perfect for walking and cycling holidays. It is a land rich in natural hot springs and spas which can offer You moments of relax, wellness, where you can take a break from the stress, appreciating the benefits of a  thermal treatment or therapy  or just enjoying the silence and tranquillity of marvelous landscapes. Many worldwide known photographers have already chosen the Crete Senesi as set of their workshops.

The thermal Spa: it was already known during the Roman age and continued to be in use during the Middle Age. The mineral waters of Rapolano Terme flow at a temperature of 39° C, they are rich in sulphur and bicarbonate and provide healing properties in treating skin problems and respiratory system. Terme San Giovanni and Antica Querciaiola are two recently renovated Spas where guests can also benefit of beauty treatments. 

Serre di Rapolano: it is a tiny village, whose typical Tuscan atmosphere has remained intact. The center deserves a brief visit: Porta Serraia, Palazzo Gori Martini, Via del Cassero is a lovely lane that passes the village's most important monuments, Vicolo delle Setaie, The Teatrino Gori-Martini,  the main square known as La Piazza, home of the town hall. Serre di Rapolano  is perfectly situated for enjoying the Tuscan countryside, with easy access to visit the best sights. The spa town of Rapolano Terme is just minutes away, and city of Siena is located 30 minutes driving.just beyond that. The beautiful landscapes and wonderful wines of Chianti are close by. Pienza, Montepulciano, Arezzo, Montalcino and the Val d'Orcia should be on the list of must-see destinations. The surrounding hills are perfect for country walks and are lined with cypress trees and sprinkled with country castles.

 

SerreMaggio Festival (Festa di Ciambragina)

The festival Serremaggio or Festa di Ciambragina, takes place every May turning  the town into a medieval centre with a costumed parade, colourful flag-throwing competition, open-air market, music, typical foods. The story tells that  Giovanni de’ Rossi, a 14th century merchant, married a beautiful French girl, Ciambragina, and brought her to Serre di Rapolano where they lived. During the Festival the couple comes back to life walking through the village in period costume, accompanied by noblemen, musicians and knights. The local cellars are open to visitors who can try the local traditional products. During the Serremaggio, visitors can assist a medieval atmosphere in the village, taste medieval style food and buy some handicraft products. Groups of dancers show ancient dances while musicians and jesters around the village entertain the visitors.

                                           

Arezzo

Holidays in Tuscany

Arezzo

Arezzo boasts Etruscan origins and it is described by Livy as one of the Etruscan capitals being one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities of that age and part of the Etruscan league. After this domination it was conquered by the Romans, the Lombards and at the beginning of Middle Age it became an episcopal seat. The golden age, as for many other small Italian cities, is the 14th century, the age of "Communes". In fact  in the 1300 Arezzo knew a period of splendor and richness: many of the most famous contemporary artists as Piero della Francesca lived and created there. The heart of the city is Piazza Grande where it is possible to admire the Medieval towers and the amazing Loggiato Vasariano. Arezzo is the city where Francesco Petrarca and Giorgio Vasari were born; Casa Vasari is today a museum where Vasari's masterpieces are collected together with the family archive and some paintings. The church of San Francesco is the ideal point of departure for discovering Piero della Francesca; the church safeguards his masterpiece "The Legend of the true Cross", an amazing sequence of frescoes. Arezzo is well-known for its goldsmith’s art and for the Antique fair. It takes place during the first weekend of every month in Piazza Grande since 1968.

Giostra del Saracino:

The tournament  takes place twice a year, on June (Giostra di San Donato) and on September (Giostra della Madonna del Conforto), on Piazza Grande. It is a Medieval reconstruction where the fourth quarters, contrade,  of the city participate.The cavaliers of each quarter must show their ability with a spear against the  "fantoccio-puppet" of Saracino. The first documents concerning similar tournaments date back to 13th century.

Some of the treasures You will find in Arezzo: Cathedral,  Medici Fortress,  Roman amphitheatre,  Romanesque Parish church of Santa Maria, Church of San Domenico, Museum of Modern and Medieval Arts.

Siena

Holidays in Tuscany

Siena

The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1995. According to local legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus, thus nephews of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. During this period Siena and the following Lombard domination the city didn't prosper. It was only with the age of "communes" and the creation of the Republic of Siena that the city  finally prospered. The Republic of Siena lasted until 1555 and it represents the "golden age" of this city. Siena maintains a perfectly preserved historical center, one of the most beautiful expressions of Italian gothic and medieval architecture, that culminates with the Cathedral, Duomo, where some of the most important masterpieces of Tuscan artists’ are preserved. The city had substantial influence on art, architecture and town planning during the Middle Ages, both in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

The Sienese School of painting flourished between the 13th and 15th centuries and for a time rivaled Florence. The most important representatives are Duccio di Boninsegna,  Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo, Sassetta, Matteo di Giovanni. The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena dedicate an entire section to this incredible school of painting.

The Palio (29th June-2nd July/ 13th-16th August)

Known as a horse race, the tradition of Palio deeply influences the life of the city. The city center is divided into 17 "Contrade" (quarters) representing the authentic soul of Siena, small "republics" that keep  the tradition of Palio alive and contribute to preserve it intact. The Palio race is the climax of an intense activity that takes place in the "Contrade" all year round and represents for inhabitants a moment of indescribable emotions; the event is one of the reasons why many visitors chose summer for their holidays in Siena.

Some of the treasures You will find in Siena: Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia, Forte di Santa Barbara, Palazzo Pubblico, Santa Maria della Scala complex, Piccolomini Library, Pinacoteca Nazionale, San Domenico, Santa Maria dei Servi , San Francesco, Santa Caterina sanctuary.