Tuscan Cities

Cities of Tuscany | A guide to the main historical cities of Tuscany, Italy | Tips on what to see, how to get there and buying tickets.

  • Arezzo,  Markets and Fairs in Tuscany

    Arezzo Antiques Fair

    Antique Camera at Arezzo Antiques Market:, Tuscany

    There are few better ways to spend a lazy Sunday than idly strolling around a market, and Arezzo’s famous Fiera Antiquaria (Antiques Fair), established over 50 years ago, certainly doesn’t disappoint. Held on the first Sunday of every month, its main hub is situated in the impressive Piazza Grande but with over 400 stalls it sprawls outwards – running under the stunning Loggiato Vasariano and then down and around the surrounding streets. Like all good antiques markets, it’s the kind of place you’ll find anything and everything; from improbably-sized rusty keys which lead you to imagine the palazzos they once unlocked, to retro cameras, artworks, silverware, books, and furniture from…

  • Siena

    Secret Tuscany: Siena’s Hidden River and How To Find it

    Pigeon drinks Fonte Gaia

    Concealed far below the graceful streets of the hilltop town of Siena lies the mysterious Bottini river. It helped make this hilltop Tuscan town great, yet few have ever laid eyes on it. Find out how it all began – and how you can see it for yourself With its prime location on top of three hills, Siena seems to have it all. Yet for centuries, it lacked one vital component – fresh water. In the Middle Ages, engineers solved the problem by carving 25km of tunnels beneath the town. Known as the ‘Bottini‘, this marvel of engineering still supplies Siena with water today.  A vast underground river, it’s a…

  • Siena,  Travel Tips

    How to get to Siena

    Siena from Orto dei Pecci

    Siena’s city centre is largely pedestrianised, so it’s a great city to visit with public transport. It also has some good parking spots on the outskirts of the city from which you can walk or bus in. Here’s our advice for getting to Siena. Closest Airports to Siena Florence, Perugia, Pisa, Bologna and Rome are the closest airports to Siena, in that order. Pisa airport is the most popular for flights within Europe, while Rome is the most likely airport of arrival for US and Canadian visitors.  Florence Airport (FLR) Perugia Airport (PEG) Pisa Airport (PSA) Bologna Airport (BLQ) Roma Fiumicino Airport (FCO) Roma Ciampino (CIA) How to get to…

  • History,  Pisa

    Who paid for the Leaning Tower of Pisa

    Detail of Battistero Pisa

    Everybody knows the Leaning Tower of Pisa, endlessly about to topple. The famous tower is in Pisa, Tuscany, a city that now hosts the region’s main airport, but was once the capital of a powerful sea-faring Republic. So how did the Tower get built? And where did the money come from? To answer these questions, we’ll have to dip into some history: A brief history of Pisa Pisa has a proud history, and was founded in a strategic position by the Etruscans. The advantages of its protected position on the coast saved it from the worst damage after the fall of the Roman empire. It become a popular port, with…

  • Pisa,  Travel Tips,  Tuscan Cities

    Getting Tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa

    Leaning Tower of Pisa

    If you do decide to visit Pisa, you will want to see the leaning tower, set in The Square of Miracles, or Campo dei Miracoli, which has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987. At the far side of this grassy square is the leaning bell tower,  next to the beautiful Roman Catholic Duomo di Pisa built in the imposing Pisan Romaneque style and a vision in white marble. The square also houses the domed baptistery, where Galileo was baptised, and the Camposanto Monumentale which is the final resting place of notable Italians including Fibonacci. This square takes visitors through every stage of the lifecycle – from birth and baptism, through a…

  • Culture,  History,  Siena,  Tuscan Cities

    Map of Sights and Museums in Siena

    Map of Siena

    This is an idiosyncratic and personal map of what to see in Siena. There is more conventional google map at the bottom of this post, but this is a map I sketched and it’s my feeling of how Siena hangs together. There are two centres of power, the religious and the secular. The focal point of religious power is the Cathedral, built on the highest point of the city. The focus of secular power lies lower down, in the “Piazza del Campo“, literally the “square of the field“. The famous shell-shaped square is divided into 9 segments, to represent each of the members of the “consiglio dei nove” who ran…

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