Enchanted Places close by
Enchanted Places close by You may visit some of the most beautiful cities near us by train…the station is just 5 minutes away.
The Cinque Terre are one of the most beautiful natural Mediterranean areas in Liguria, along the Tirrenian coast. Five miles of rock-covered coastline the five villages are built into the hillside in miniscule bays. The Cinque Terre have been preserved just as they appear today, where vineyards have been cultivated, from which the famous wine is produced. The vineyards are built on the rocky hills, which are constructed on terraces with dry stone walling. The villages lead down to crystalline waters, with secret beaches for you to sunbathe on. Not only the sea greets you, but also the number of restaurants are abundant, and you may also enjoy nature and Art at their very best. Pathways run through all the villages for you to take sublime walks and do a little trekking on foot. Boats run regularly from each village, as does the train. The Cinque Terre is a Natural Reserve and since 1997 a part of UNESCO; they are a reign of nature and wild perfumes, preserved as in the past. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are the five villages that form this promontory, suspended by land and sea, wrapped around rocky cliffs.
The Cathedral Square, also known as the Miracle Square is the most important artistic and touristic place in Pisa. Renowned for its entry in UNESCO in 1987, you may admire several masterpieces of European Romanic architecture, meaning the monuments which form the centre of religious life; the cathedral, the baptistry, the graveyard and the bell tower. The cathedral is the heart of the complex of the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, the medieval cathedral. This is a church with five naves with a transept of three naves. The building, just like the bell tower, is built deeply into the ground, so some cracks can be seen, such as the difference in level of the Buscheto and the lengthening by Rainaldo (the aisles towards the west and the façade). The Romanic Pisan style was born from this church, to be used in the rest of Tuscany, Corsica and Sardinia ( once under the control of the Pisan Republic). All the other religious buildings of the square are around the Primarziale, according to theology: birth- the Baptistry; life- the Cathedral; death- the cemetery. The bell tower of Santa Maria, well-known as the “The Leaning Tower, is called “The Tower” in Pisa itself, and is the bell tower of the cathedral. The ground under it has slightly given way, thus making it incline. The inclination has lasted a long a time over the years, but it ceased when it was restored in the early 21st century. Because of difficulty in building the construction, work lasted 2 centuries in three different phases, starting at the end of the 12th century. The Baptistry, dedicated to Saint Giovanni Battista, stands in front of the west façade of the Cathedral.
A network of streets have made what Pontremoli is today: apart from the Francigena Way there is also the Genoa Way, which passes through Zeri; there is The Borgallo Way which led to Borgotaro and Piacenza; there is the Cirone Way which led to Parma passing through Langhirano. Pontremoli, today, is a precious milestone of artistic and monumental memories: crossing its medieval bridges or strolling through its stone-laid streets is like going back in time. Visit its historical centre: The Stele Statue Museum “Cesare Augusto Ambrosi”. The museum is situated inside the Piagnaro Castle and brings together a series of Stele Statues, anthropomorphic sculptures which bear witness to the most important Lunigiana Pre-history and are among the most well-known European megalitic statues. They cover the period from the Copper Age to Romanisation. Their meaning is still an open question, but they ought to represent male and female divinities of various walks of human life. Information: Tel 0187 831439 www.istitutovalorizzazionecastelli.it The Church of Saint George (11th century) This a splendid example of perfectly conserved Romanism. The Cathedral (Duomo) Building started in 1636.Designed by A. Capra it has Latin cross planning with a central nave and an airy dome. The inside, rich with stucco work, has a particular kind of “Ligurian” Lighting, and is bestowed with numerous lateral altars and confession booths in different coloured marble. The Bell Tower Today a symbol of the city and originally the central tower of the court of Cazzaguerra, splitting the only ancient great square by Castruccio Catsracani of the Antelminelli in 1322 in order to separate the two rivals of the Ghelfi and Ghibellini. In 1578 the tower was transformed into Bell Tower. The theatre of the Academy of the Rose (18th century). Built in 1739 by 25 noble families of Pontremoli, it shows a typical example of a 17th century theatre and it is the oldest in the Apuan province. The Church and Convent of Saint Francis (today the parish church of S.S.Giovanni and Colombano). The convent complex, according to tradition, was built following the visit of Saint Francis in Pontremoli in 1219. The inside, which has three naves, is characterized by the stucco work done in the 1700’s by Portugalli and has a large amount of artwork. You can see the bas-relief of Agostino of Duccio showing the Madonna with child, the Coro Ligneo done by Luchino of Parma, L’Estasi of S. Francis by G.B. Cignaroli and the cross by Guido Reni. Outside the centre The Sanctuary of SS. Annunziata This a convent complex with only one nave, an apse and two ample side chapels. It conserves a 1400 fresco which represents the Annunciation, the marble octagonal temple attributed traditionally to Sansovino, the pole of adoration of the magicians by L. Cambiaso, the 17th century sacristy by the friar Francesco Battaglia of Mignegno, the quarters of F. Natali, the polypytch of the Madonna on her throne and Evangelists of the Genoan school of the 1400’s and the canvas of the Madonna and saint by B. Tisi named “Il garofalo”. (the carnation). A must see are the Renaissance cloisters. Nature and pathways Going along the many pathways in the valley of Pontremoli, we come across the shade of chestnut and oak trees, and we find ourselves amidst a true “paradise” of woodland fruits. In The silence of nature we discover the rich historical-natural assets of the valleys. The high villages and the solitary farm houses are not to be missed, as is a walk along the River Magra to discover unpolluted nature. Gastronomy A typical dish from Pontremoli is testaroli. It is also famous for its typical cakes: Amor and Spongata, traditional Christmas desserts made with walnuts, hazelnuts, honey, almonds, pine nuts, chocolate and candies. Don’t miss out on the vegetable cakes, mushrooms, chestnuts and the honey…recognized internationally with the DOP brand name.
Florence, with its museums, buildings and churches hosts some of the most important artwork in the world. The most well-known places to visit, such as The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistry, the Uffizi Galleries, the Bargello and the Gallery of the Academy, are a must see. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are in themselves true art galleries, as is the Medica Laurenziana Library….an exceptional example of architecture by Michelangelo. We advise you to also take some time to visit the important various collections of art preserved in the Pitti Palace. If you’re a little tired after visiting all these places, Florence and its streets makes for a perfect walk through its historical centre. On the river Arno, stop a while on the Ponte Vecchio and continue to the Oltrarno, the “new” part of Florence. Pass a day in the Boboli gardens or climb the hill up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and pay a visit to the church of San Miniato al Monte to enjoy the most incredible view of the city.
The city of Lucca is one of the best in Tuscany. It is an arrival point which cannot be overlooked for its artistic beauty and its suggestive atmosphere. Visiting Lucca means to immerge oneself in the narrow streets of one of the best conserved ancient historical centres; to walk along its famous walls; to taste the local dishes in one of the many “osterie” and to take part in the numerous cultural activities. Whoever visits Lucca is positively surprised by the possibility of living in peace the different aspects of the centre and its surroundings. Your visit may begin with a walk along the Walls of Lucca, built in the 1500’s and used as an urban park in the 1800’s. The walls close in the city and make up a true symbol of a city recognized for its particularity in the world. Fully preserved and 4km long, the walls are considered an active resource for the citizens who spend their free time in the shade of the secular trees. The Tower of Guinigi is visible from the walls, built around 1390 by the powerful family Del Giunigi. It was built in medieval times and was the communal advice bureau of the city. The city of Lucca is traditionally named the city of one hundred churches due to the large number of official religious churches form different ages present inside the walls. This name hasn’t come about by chance as all the buildings have their own private chapel. Recently, many of the churches have been deconsecrated but there are still many religious buildings remaining for example: the Cathedral of Lucca, the cathedral of San Martino, founded by San Frediano in the 11th century, which, apart from its architectural beauty, also contains masterpieces by Nicola Pisano, Jacopo della Quercia and Tintoretto
Filattiera is the result of many different forces which have crossed the valley of the River Magra. From the Liguruans, the Romans, the Byzantines, from the Longobards and so on up to the Malaspina. The territory of Filattiera extends for 48, 97 Square kilomtetres along hilly and mountainous areas on the left hand side of the Magra. The name of the town comes from the term Fulacterion a name which the Byazantines used to describe the most important forts in strategical positions. Visit the historical centre Originally a noble centre, Filattiera reached its territorial aspect in 1865, when the villages of Roccasigillina, Cavallana, Lusignana and Gigliana were added to it from the town of Bagnone. This hamlet shows typical farming landscape. In the valley there are ancient terraces of the river still cultivated with hay and corn. The rest of the area is lived in, and in the hills you may admire exquisite villas and farm holdings together with all sorts of different crops. The most important monument of the area is the splendid example of Roman architecture, the Pieve of Sorano. The Pieve of Sorano (12th century) The first documentation of the church is contained in a Pope’s seal from 1148. The building lies along the Cisa main road. The remains of Stele Statues around Sorano, witness the presence of communities from the Bronze Age. Recent architectural excavation has shown the existence of a Roman village. The area was finally abandoned in 1700 and there is now only the Pieve with three apses left standing. It has a square bell tower surrounded by a small cemetery. Nature and its pathways Climbing up to the mountains you may see secular chestnut trees and green fields with flocks of sheep. The villages, at least the smaller ones, have been built on the boundaries along the hills and the peaks. They are built with rocks from the river, making them a typical form of architecture. Gastronomy The most typical produce of Filattiera are “mortadella and “spallacotta”….two types of special cured meats.
Ponticello was built in the 14th to 15th century and is about 3km from Filattiera, along the ancient Francigena Way. It is behind the oratory of the saints Rocca and Bernardo, founded in 1648. Its façade originally faced the village, but in 1819, it was restored and amplified by the addition of a round dome covered in copper, whereas the façade was built outwards. The hamlet is characterized by its essential arches which connect the streets with the houses. The Tower House, from the 10th to the 12th century is a typical fortified building with three overlapping rooms with an entrance on the first floor. This was accessible by a staircase, whereas the other floore were accessed by a hatch, where water and food was kept. Ponticello hosts one of the most fascinating summer festivals, that of the “Mestieri nel Borgo” ( the ancient crafts fair) every year from the 14th to the 17th August, where all the local craftsmen come to show off their talents.