We are well used to explaining to first-time visitors to Tuscany that Da Vinci is not a surname like Buonarroti! Vinci, the fascinating village where Leonardo, the greatest genius of all times, was born, is very close to us.Certainly, when Leonardo came into the world, no one could have imagined what he was later to become. An illegitimate child, neither his father nor his mother could be present for his …Read more
Northern Tuscany = The Other Tuscany. From Pinocchio to Leonardo, land of poets and outlaws.
Lucca is the ideal place to hunt for the hidden side of Tuscany and nothing illustrates this better than the life of the outlaw who became her most illustrious citizen:Castruccio Castracani. Castruccio, a Ghibelline supporter, was exiled to England but expelled from there, too, because of an honour killing. He was hired by the King of France as a mercenary, managing to return to Lucca after various adventures. Here he …Read more
A simple description of Montecatini would be – the town halfway between Florence and the Versilia coast. By motorway or rail, it is equally easy to reach the sea or art towns, to visit Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa or Carrara, with its marble quarries. All this, however, is well known. What is less well known, on the other hand, is that you don’t need to travel so far.At the …Read more
From the days of Grand Duke Leopold in Tuscany, the word ‘Terme’ (spa) has been associated with Montecatini.But the town’s connection with its waters is of much earlier date, if we consider that the “Tractatus de Balneis”, the first Italian text on medical hydrology, dates to the early 15th century and was written by a certain Ugolino of Montecatini. Giuseppe Verdi came here for over twenty years and was here …Read more
When the Duke of Este appointed the poet Ludovico Ariosto to govern the Garfagnana, the poet found a land inhabited by rebels and bandits. Today this part of our Appennine Mountains is rather more tranquil, yet its beauty is still harsh and strong – for poets and outlaws.
Home of our own wine.From this village dominated by an ancient fortress, the most ancient nectar of Tuscany flows to all our valleys and is celebrated each year with a splendid festival, between August and September.
Birthplace of Pinocchio. If, like many across the world, you read the book as a child, imagining in your mind the places and the streets where the puppet met Stromboli, or the Fox and the Cat, well..here they are. Perhaps a bit changed, but still full of charm.
Just like Garfagnana, mediaeval Pistoia certainly did not have a good reputation. Machiavelli called it unstable, Dino Compagni described its citizens as “savages” and Dante Alighieri in his “Inferno”recalls that Pistoia was the birthplace of the most evil character in the Divine Comedy -Vanni Fucci. Few know, however, that the history of Pistoia is often interconnected with that of medicine.It is home to one of Europe’s oldest hospitals, birthplace of …Read more