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82Regional Information - Italy82Places Of Interest & Things To SeeSienaIn the 12th and 13th century Siena was one of themajor cities of Europe. Today you will find a wellpreserved medieval walled city with narrow streetslined with tall Gothic mansions. These descend to themain square the charming 'Piazza del Campo' whichislined with cafes and restaurants. The Piazza is thehome to a horse race which happens twice everysummer where the neighbourhoods ofSiena compete.The races take place in an atmosphere of medievalpageantry. Here you canalso explore the TuscanGothic buildings, museums, churches, monumentsandclock tower FiesoleThis historical village spreads over a cluster of hilltopsabove the Mugnone and Arno valleys. Wander downthe narrow Via Vecchia Fiesolana which goes by theVilla Medici (Built for Cosimo ilVecchio by Michelozzo),and explore its archaeological remains. Its mainchurches are Sant'Alessandro and San Francesco.Teatro Romano and Museo Archeological museumdisplaying pieces from the Bronze Age to the Romanoccupation are also worth a visit. ElbaTen miles off the Tuscan shore lies Elba, the islandwhere Napoleon spent his first exile until escaping in1815. This is the third largest Italian island 29km longand 19km wide, after Sicily and Sardinia. Themainattraction of this unspoilt island are its beaches withfine white sand and its exceptionally clear waters.Inland the island is mountainous with vineyards,olivegroves and picturesque villages.FlorenceThe capital of Renaissance art, Florence is a workofart initself, to the locals it is known as 'Firenze'.There is so much to do and see in Tuscany's principaltown, there aremany smart shops, markets andexclusive boutiques in the centre with the mostelegant stores in Via Tornabuoni and the surroundingstreets. The area is noted for its shoes and leathergoods, along with fine china, bedand table linen andgold jewellery. Art and architecture are the obviousclaims to fame of thismedieval city, and notsurprisingly home to Michelangelo and Donatello etal. Make sure you don't miss the San Lorenzo quarterwhere market stalls surround one ofthe city's firstrank churches, you'll also find the monastery of SanMarco and Piazza Santissima Annunziata, generallythought ofas Florence's most attractive square. Thefocal points are the Duomo overlooking its bustlingPiazza, the Bargello Sculpture gallery, the PalazzoVecchio overlooking the Piazza della Signoria, theUffizi art gallery, the churches of San Lorenzo, SanMarco and Santa Maria Novella, the market stalls ofthe Mercato Centrale and the Accademia -WhereMichelangelo's 'David' can be seen and if that'snotenough take a trip to the Museo dell Opera delDuomo, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens.LuccaThe home town of Giacomo Puccini has a rich heritagewithmany churches, palaces and squares giving thetown acharming unspoilt air. The city liesat the heartof one of Italy's richest agricultural regions renownedfor the quality ofits olives. The centre of the town isthe Piazza Napoleone where you will find the beautifulRomanesque cathedral of San Martino. The best way toexplore the city is to follow the path along the top ofthe Renaissance walls. Highlights not to be missed arethe 'Torre Delle Oro', the city's clock tower, Casa Guinigiand the15th century house of Lucca's leading family,Villa Guinigi, built to supplement the family's oldmedieval town house, and now home to the city'smajor museum of art and sculpture.PisaWith its world famous leaning tower of Pisa, whichbegan construction in 1173 and, due to its faultyfoundation on unstable soil, leans precariously morethan 14 feet out of line. There is so much tosee onceyou arrive at the 'Campo dei Miracoli' (Field ofMiracles), here you will find the Romanesque buildingsof the Duomo, baptistery and the leaning tower. San GimignanoSan Gimignano is known as the medieval 'city ofbeautiful towers'. This enchanting 11th century hilltoptown, has a skyline of tall medieval towers andpicturesque streets. Founded around the 8th century,this is not much more than a village. You could actuallywalk from one end to the other in 15minutes, butthere is much to see which will take you much longerthan this. Explore the frescoes inthe churches andmuseums, 'The Collegiata', one of the mostcomprehensively frescoed churches in Tuscany. Visit'Palazzo del Popolo', here you will get a chance toclimb the 'Torre Grossa' the highest surviving (160ft)and best preserved towers. One thing which sets thisarea apart is its beautiful Tuscan countryside, perfectforwalking in a peaceful and relax atmosphere.Fun For All The FamilyPinocchio ParkSituated at Collodi the birthplace of Carlo Lorenzin,the author of the children's book Pinocchio. Pinocchio park recreates the adventures of Pinocchioand truly brings the characters to life.Lake MassaciuccoliNicknamed Puccini's lake, this rural idyll now baskswithin anature park. Here you can take a boat trip onthe lake toview Giacomo Puccini's nearby villa. Beaches to visit:. Vada. San Vincenzo. CastiglioneThings To Do. Walking - Tuscany is a wonderful area for walkingenthusiasts. It has stunning scenery and rollingcountryside.. Wine Tasting - Tuscany is a major wine-producingregion. Why not try the local vineyardsand try thebest redwines.Local SpecialitiesHome to the best known wine in the region - Chianti -made from Sangiovese grapes on the hills of Tuscany.. Grilled T-Bone steak (Costata di manzo). Ham and sausage made from wild boar (Cinghiale).Tuscanythomsonalfresco.co.uk

8383thomsonalfresco.co.ukPlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeVicenzaVicenza the great Palladian city is one of thewealthiest cities in Veneto. The square at its heart,'Piazza del Signori' is dominated by the Palazzo dellaRagione often refereed to as the Basilica. Its green,copper clad roof is shaped like an upturned boat witha balustrade bristling with the statues of Greek andRoman gods. Here you will find 'Teatro Olimpico',Europe's oldest surviving indoor theater. It is aremarkable structure, largely made of wood andplaster and painted to look like marble. Palladiobeganwork on the design in 1597 butdied thefollowing year. His pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi tookoverthe project completing it in time for its openingperformance of Sophocles tragic drama Oedipus. BuranoYou can catch a boat across the lagoon from Venice tothe island of Burano, best known for its lace making,fishing activity and brightly coloured houses. Here youwill find the spacious 'Sculoa deiMerletti', home to alace school and museum showing work dating backto16th century. The bigsquare in front of the churchis dedicated to 'Baldassarre Galuppi' (1706-85), whowas the famous musician called "the Buranello", prideof Burano. Galuppi worked out a collaboration withGoldoni on the "opera comica" as librettist and hecomposed quartets, symphonies and concerts forcymbal, bringing a remarkable evolution in theinstrumental chamber music of the XVIII century.RavennaThe capital of the Western Roman Empire 1500 yearsago, it is now a city of art and culture, of mosaics, andancient city. The city has much to offer and displaysmany artistic remnants of the town's Byzantine past.Eight of these sights are in the World Heritage List,The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, The CathedralBaptistry, Sant'Apollinaire Nuovo, Arian Baptistry, TheArchiepiscopal Chapel, Theodoric's Mausoleum, TheBasilica of San Vitale and Sant'Apollinare in Clasees.While taking in such grand sights, don't forget to visitone of the countless cafés which surround the centre.Lido di JesoloLido di Jesolo is a well established, familyfriendlyresort with its key attraction being itscloseproximity to Venice which is only a shortboattrip crossing away from Punta Sabbioni.Thisseaside resort with its beautiful sandybeachof15 kilometres offers excellentopportunitiesfor watersports in warm water. There are plenty of activities during the day to keepthe whole family entertained such as tennis, minigolf,a fun fair (Jun-Aug) and even a waterpark. In theevenings Lido di Jesolo comes to life and has greatnightlife revolving around the central piazza whereshops stay open late, and there is agood selectionofvibrant bars, restaurants and buzzing nightclubs. VeniceKnown as 'La Serenissima' or the 'Pearl of theAdriatic', Venice is built on 118 tiny islands andorganised into 6 districts known as 'Sestieri'. There isso much to see and do with the canals criss-crossedby bridges, palaces, piazzas and basilicas - andfantastic shopping. The city's shops line the Calle deiFabbri, the Frezzeria and the Mercerie. Why not take aride in a gondola or waterbus around the labyrinth ofcanals. Soak up the atmosphere of St Mark's Squarethe heart of Venice and discover the 16th centuryRialto Bridge and the Grand Canal Don't miss 'Pontedei Sospiri' (The Bridge of Sighs), the Doges Palaceand the bell tower of San Marco cathedral. Veniceboasts a wealth of palaces and art galleries, the'Cad'Orpo (Golden House) is regarded as the mostbeautiful palace inVenice. The lacy Gothic façade builtin 1422 used to be richly decorated with gold leaf andother luxurious materials. Now it houses the GalleriaFranchetti - a spectacular artcollection. PaduaProbably better known as the city of St. Anthony oras the economic capital of Veneto, Padua is one ofthe most important Art Cities in Italy. It is not onlyrich in art but also stunning architecture. The town issurrounded by a formidable ring of walls, with atangleof narrow streets with arcades and monumentalsquares. There are a number of interesting sights tosee such as, 'The Scrovegni Chapel', where it holdsentirely preserved 'the celebrated Frescoes' by Giotto.In the Town Museum, you can see works of art datingback tothe 14th century. Amongst them, the CrucifixbyGiotto and the Armed Angels painted on woodbyGuariento and a great collection of Venetianpaintings from the 14th to the 17th century. For those interested in nature, there's the 'BotanicalGarden', founded in 1545 as the SimpleGarden(medicinal plants) of the Medical Faculty oftheUniversity.TrevisoThis picturesque medieval town was once a haven forpoets, musicians, writers and architects. Many say itswalled centre full of narrow arcaded streets builtaround canals, resembles a smaller less grand Venice. There are many sights to see, the old houses, open-air theatre in the main square, and Gothicchurches and abbeys. The 'Museo Civico', hasanarchaeological collection, predominantlylateBronze Age and Romanrelics and displayssomespecial paintings, 'ACrucifixion by JacopoBassano' being one such example. For the morerelaxed, why not sample one of the cafés in thepicturesque Piazza dei Signori, orenjoy a finemealinthe many fashionable restaurants.MuranoMurano is renowned for 'glass blowing'. The glassfurnaces were moved out here from Venice in1291asa precaution against fire. The streets arecrammed with shops selling glassware, and you caneven visit the furnaces themselves to see glass beingblown most being free of charge. Many of theworkshops are found along Fondamenta dei Vereri,traditionally a glassworking centre. To learn more youcan visit the glass museums, 'Museo Vetrario' in thePalazzo Giustinian. The collection includes someRoman pieces butthe earliest surviving Murano glassdates from 15th century. There are also two churches,San Pietro Martire aDominican Gothic church whichwas built in 1363 and largely rebuilt after a fire in1474. The second is 'Santi Maria eDonato' whichwasfounded in the 7th century. Thischurch has astunning mosaic floor.Fun For All The FamilyAqualandia WaterparkNear Cavallino is one of Italy's largest water parks,complete with pools, waterslides and themedminigolf. Trythe 42 metre high waterslide, theKamikaze or the crazy river.Mirabilandia Theme park with plenty of rides and attractions.Local Specialities. Pasta. Seafood. Shrimp Fettucine . Polpette di Granchio - made with locally caughtcrab. Risotto al Nero di Seppie - made with squid. . Venice is well known for its ham and pea andscampi risotto dishes.Venetian RivieraRegional Information - Italy