The Dream Of Italy by Gabriel Adams
The incomparable Tuscany
undulates with olive groves and vineyards, a picture postcard around every
corner of every village, each one bursting with Italian hospitality.
|Palaia tops a hill between
Valdera and the beautiful Arno valley. There is so much to see in this
gracefully sleepy part of the world, a small captured renaissance to see
and remember forever. One of the most memorable experiences you can have
is to take a simple picnic, find a spot on the crest of a hillside and
enjoy the heart stopping views over the Tuscan countryside.
In the local restaurants
and hotels you will see vast selections of home made pastries and jams,
colourful local preserved fruits, huge cheeses and salamis, fragrant bread
served with delicious local olives and a large helping of sunshine. You
can visit small organic cheese farms, go on wine tasting expeditions, and
generally pass time in the company of warm and exhuberant Italians. What
more could you possibly wish for?
The famous Leaning Tower
of Pisa is nearby. Climbing the tower is perfectly safe unless you
have vertigo! Keep in mind that you are frequently walking on a slanted
surface. Each floor has secured railings so there is no need to worry about
accidentally venturing too far out. Overall, it is really a perfectly safe
See San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno
. Founded in 805, this Romanesque-style church is located in the middle
of a magnificent garden by the river Arno; a quiet and beautiful place
to spend some time. Attached to the church is the 12th-century Chapel of
Saint Agatha, an octagonal-shaped structure with a unique pyramid shape
|Or how about a visit to
the 13th-century Monumental Graveyard? It is not what it first appears
to be, it is a stunning structure featuring some incredible works of art,
including roman sarcophagi, sculptures and frescoes.
The Sinopias Museum with
its magnificent collection of fresco sketches (or sinopias) is worth a
visit, you will find world class artists such as Bufalmacco, Gozzoli, Traini
and Taddeo Gaddi represented.
Spend a day at the Parco
Regionale di Migliarino, San Rossore. Massaciuccoli is a nature reserve
covering more than 24,000 hectares between Viareggio and Livorno. Beautiful
Massaciuccoli Lake is teeming with wildlife. There is also the former home
of Giacomo Puccini, which today serves as a museum.
In the park area are the
remains of Roman villas and spas. In the heart of the park is the San Rossore
Estate, a paradise for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts.
Walk along the Arno and discover
the palazzi, and the wonderful walled city of Lucca. It is inexcusable
to visit Tuscany and not see Florence, with it's priceless art collections.
See the Botticellis' at the Uffizi, but make sure you pre book your tickets
so you do not have to stand in line.
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