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What to see in Lucca: ten ideas for a daytrip

posted by Home In Italy on February 23rd, 2016

Extract from the article written by Luca Bonora – Touring club

Lucca is a city of Roman foundation and purely medieval, as it still bears witness to the walls of its beautiful Old Town. It houses several important cultural events, among which the Lucca Comics & Games is the most important event in Europe linked to the world of comics, games, cinema, fantasy literature and science fiction.
The city is a top tourist destination and worth a visit all year around. Lucca is a hospitable city, easy to be explored, with excellent gastronomy and rich natural surroundings and history.
So, here are 10 things to do in Lucca for those who will visit at Lucca Comics & games but also for those who would like to come back to have more time … and less crowds.

The best way to see a small city is from the top. This also applies to Lucca, which in the Middle Ages boasted 250 towers, of all shapes and sizes. Today, only two are open to visitors: the Guinigi Tower and the Clock Tower. The Guinigi Tower was commissioned by the Guinigi, rich and powerful family of merchants of Lucca in the fifteenth century. It is 45 meters high and the top has a small garden where, for centuries, grow beautiful trees. This peculiarity makes it unique, and makes even the visual a symbol of the city. The climb, challenging, has 230 steps. Still higher is the Clock Tower, which houses a great mechanical clock of the seventeenth century, still working.

Example of Romanesque Renaissance, is one of the places not to be missed.

A masterpiece of Romanesque Gothic architecture, this church presents a mixture of styles due to its long construction, between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries.

Precious noble house built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that has preserved many of the original furnishings and decorations, the palace Mansi (property of the same rich family) is now the most important art gallery of Lucca. A hundred works among which Tintoretto, Beccafumi, Pontormo and many important painters Lucca 800 and 900.

Uniquely shaped ellipses, square Amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful in Italy. Built starting in 1830 by the architect Nottolini, it resumes the ancient route of the Roman amphitheater.

Throughout the year, Lucca hosts the Puccini and his Lucca Festival, the only permanent music festival in the world. Concerts and events are mainly housed in the Basilica of St. John, but also in the square of the Amphitheatre and other places and churches.

The walls are another symbol of the city. They are the largest monument of Lucca and one of the largest in Tuscany: a perimeter of 4 km, 30 meters wide and 12 high, made between 1513 and 1645.

What makes the story of a city is not only palaces, churches and walls, but also the clubs. As the Antico Caffè delle Mura, back to the original splendor and reopened in 2012, with a café, a bistro and a stylish restaurant.

Going up to Barga, passing for Borgo a Mozzano, a small town known for a bridge, commonly known as Devil’s Bridge. Built in the fifteenth century by the Countess Matilde di Canossa, the legend says that the manufacturer, unable to raise the last arch to complete his work, implored the help of the Devil. He signed an alliance with the Devil and sacrificed the fist soul that had crossed the bridge. And the fist one to walk on the bridge was a dog. On Devil’s Bridge every Halloween takes place the most spectacular event linked to this ancient Celtic celebration.

Among the places outside the city, we recommend without any doubt Barga, a town at the center of the middle Serchio valley for centuries Florentine enclave. Near Barga, Castelvecchio Pascoli, is the house where the poet Giovanni Pascoli lived from 1895 to 1912.

Florence in 2 days, 8 kms and 7 stops

posted by Home In Italy on November 17th, 2015

Basilica of St. Croce: the construction of the church began in 1295, but the neo-Gothic façade dates back to the nineteenth century. Inside, there are frescoes by Giotto on the life of St. Francis and the wooden crucifix by Donatello. The Pazzi Chapel demonstrates the perfection of the architecture of Brunelleschi.

Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge of the town. Rebuilt in 1345, it risked to be destroyed by the terrible floods of 1966. The arcades and the craftsmen (jewelers and goldsmiths) draw crowds of shoppers and onlookers.

Vasari Corridor: A striking passage, which tastes of secret and adventure, allows you to walk, unseen and “raised” from the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace. It was built in 1565 by the Grand Duke Cosimo I for safety reasons. The walk is between XVII and XVIII century art works and portraits and it takes place on the Old Bridge and crosses the houses d ‘Oltrarno.

Palazzo Pitti: this huge Renaissance palace dominates and frames the square on three sides. The palace was built and designed by Brunelleschi for a rival family of the Medici, the Pitti. In 1549, however, the palace was acquired by the wife of Cosimo I de ‘Medici, who turned it into a princely residence. With an extraordinary collection of paintings of sec. XVI, XVII and XVIII, including paintings by Raffaello and Tiziano, The Palazzo Pitti is one of the richest art galleries in the world.

10 towns to visit in Italy during Autumn

posted by Home In Italy on October 26th, 2015


Saturday night in the museum

The most beautiful museums in the city are open until 11 pm on Saturday night: Uffizi, Accademia Gallery, Medici Chapels and Bargello Museum. In addition to those, for a perfect weekend art lover, there is the exhibition Divine beauty between Van Gogh, Chagall and Fontana, hosted in Palazzo Strozzi and dedicated to the relationship between art and sacred in mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth century.

Art exhibition in Florence, the Divine Beauty

A dream called “Maglia Rosa”: 21 stages to crown the new champion of the Giro d’Italia

posted by Home In Italy on May 12th, 2015

bike competition, the Giro d'ItaliaAt its 98th edition, the Giro d’Italia has always been one of the most popular sporting events in Italy. From the 9th to the 31st of May, the Giro d’Italia will unfold in 21 stages, for a total distance of 3.481,8 Kilometers.

The tour is one of the most characteristic sport events of the Bel Paese and we, at Home in Italy, decided to prepare a little guide for you with the itineraries of the regions that the Giro d’Italia will touch. In this post we will talk about Liguria, Campania, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.

Liguria is the region from which the tour will start. In addition to San Lorenzo al Mare, the other Ligurian stages will be Albenga, Rapallo, Sestri Levante, Chiavari, La Spezia and Abetone.
Beautiful region of the North West, Liguria attracts visitors all year around, because it offers both mountain and sea. The art cities and seaside towns located in the amazing coast are very popular, especially in summer time.

Liguria, Portofino

The following stages of the Tour are in Tuscany: Montecatini Terme, Castiglione della Pescaia, Grosseto, Fiuggi, Campitello Matese. Tuscany is a well known region among tourists, bot Italians and foreigners, for its natural beauty, monuments, cities of art – Florence in the first place – that can be found in every town, from the big city to the small village.
Florence, Tuscany

The ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia will go to Benevento, in Campania, to continue to San Giorgio del Sannio. With its charming old town, Benevento is a increasingly popular tourist destination. Not too far from Naples, it is possible to visit both the cities and have a memorable cultural, artistic and gastronomic experience. Once in Benevento, not to miss the Roman theatre, still maintained in good condition.

Campania, Naples

Forlì and Imola are the cities that the Giro d’Italia will touch. The first, with its historical buildings and the Romanesque abbey of S. Mercuriale and Imola with its historical center and the Sforza castle, the museums and the amazing ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs. The whole Emilia Romagna is a journey through art, history and taste: from Bologna to Ferrara, from Modena to the fashionable beaches of Rimini and Riccione.

Giro d'Italia 2015

Giro d’Italia 2015
Sat 9 May – 1st stage: San Lorenzo al mare-Sanremo
Sun 10 May – 2nd stage: Albenga-Genoa
Mon 11 May – 3rd stage: Rapallo-Sestri Levante
Tue 12 May – 4th stage: Chiavari-La Spezia
Wed 13 May – 5th stage: La Spezia-Abetone
Thur 14 May – 6th stage: Montecatini Terme-Castiglione
Fri 15 May – 7th stage: Grosseto-Fiuggi
Sat 16 May – 8th stage: Fiuggi-Campitello Matese
Sun 17 May – 9th stage: Benevento-San Giorgio del Sannio
Mon 18 May – day off in Civitanova Marche
Tue 19 May – 10th stage : Civitanova Marche-Forlì
Wed 20 May – 11th stage: Forlì-Imola
Thur 21 May – 12th stage: Imola-Vicenza
Fri 22 May – 13th stage: Montecchio Maggiore-Jesolo
Sat 23 May – 14th stage: Treviso-Valdobbiadene
Sun 24 May – 15th stage: Marostica-Madonna di Campiglio
Mon 25 May – day off in Madonna di Camiglio
Tue 26 May – 16th stage: Pinzolo-Aprica
Wed 27 May – 17th stage: Tirano-Lugano
Thur 28 May – 18th stage: Melide-Verbania
Fri 29 May – 19th stage: Gravellona Toce-Cervinia
Sat 30 May – 20th stage: Saint Vincent-Sestriere
Sun 31 May – 21st stage: Turin-Milan

Giro d'Italia 2015