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Touring Tuscany with Pinocchio

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Art, culture, tradition, and delights for the palate in the midst of painterly landscapes: Tuscany is one of the most popular vacation regions in Italy. And it’s where Pinocchio hails from!

Pinocchio at home in Tuscany

Pinocchio at home in Tuscany

Pinocchio, the wooden puppet with the long nose, was born in Tuscany.

Come along with us and the little rascal ever curious to check things out, as we introduce to you a few of the highlights of one of Italy’s most beautiful regions.

San Gimignano, town of towers

14 remaining medieval house towers of what originally were 72 in number rise proudly into the sky above this small Tuscany hill town. They were status symbols erected by the town’s most prominent families or houses.

The enchanting medieval town lies halfway between Siena and Florence.

The “town of towers” as San Gimignano is also called was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano with its house towers

 

Just stroll through the narrow streets and sense the ghosts of yesteryear: that’s the motto here.

Even in the side alleys there’s plenty waiting to be discovered.

Pinocchio hanging out in San Gimignano

Pinocchio hanging out in San Gimignano

San Gimignano

Our camera-happy friend Conny finds photo subjects galore

San Gimignano

In the narrow lanes of San Gimignano

San Gimignano

 

Secret tip for art lovers: In San Gimignano we discover Andrea Roggi’s gallery named “The Circle of Life”. This Tuscany native and sculptor creates works in bronze.

His themes are love and life. The close connection with Tuscany shows in his choice of typical elements like the olive tree and the cypress for his sculptures .

We had already become aware of his works of art while at the Castelfalfi Resort. Click here for my report on that splendid 5-star resort.

Andrea Roggi sculptures

Andrea Roggi sculptures

The Game of Life by Andrea Roggi

The Game of Life by Andrea Roggi

Siena, university town

Siena sits right in the heart of Tuscany, ensconced in the hills of the Chianti wine-growing region.

The duomo with its facade of dark green and white marble counts among Europe’s most beautiful and picture-perfect cathedrals.

Siena Tuscany

Siena

The duomo of Siena

However, the town is most famous for its Palio delle Contrade – the horse race on the Piazza del Campo.

The slightly sloping square blazes in a warm terracotta hue. The Piazza is regarded as one of Italy’s most beautiful town squares.

Piazza del Campo in Siena

Piazza del Campo in Siena

Round about the Piazza pulses the life of a university town. This is where the Palazzo Pubblico and the city hall with the Torre del Mangia dominate.

The tower rises to a height of 87 meters and offers a spectacular panorama view of the entire town.

Pinocchio on the Piazza del Campo in Siena

Pinocchio on the Piazza del Campo in Siena

Aside from these monumental structures, the town’s angled, narrow streets captivated us.

Little wonder that Siena’s historical core was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Sallustio Bandini on the Piazza Salimbeni in Siena

Sallustio Bandini on the Piazza Salimbeni in Siena

Tip for your sweet tooth: Be sure stop in the Pasticcerie Nannini for delicious pastries to go with your coffee and don’t forget to dig their gelato!

 

Pasticceria Nannini

Conny, Katja and Mario indulge in a Nannini gelato

Florence, city of culture

Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance. This is where many famous artists created their masterpieces, among them Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Sandro Botticelli and the sculptor Michelangelo.

The city sits on the banks of the Arno river and is surrounded by gentle hills that help make Florence one of Europe’s most spectacular cultural sites.

Dom in Florenz

The duomo of Florence

Ponte Vecchio Florenz

Ponte Vecchio – the best-known bridge in Florence

Under no circumstances to be missed is a visit to the Uffizi, one of the oldest and most famous art museums.

And, no less worth a visit is arguably the most famous work of art in the world — the marble statue of “David”.

What charms the city also has on offer in the winter is described by our author Isabella in this article (in German).

Botticellis Venus in den Uffizien Florenz

Botticelli’s Venus in the Uffizi

Steeped in history: Volterra

About 50 kilometers from Siena, Volterra mirrors the entire history of Tuscany. Its historic buildings are reached through the city gate, the Porta all’Arco.

The best-known structure is the Palazzo dei Priori on the main square. It is the oldest city hall in Tuscany, dating from the 13th century.

Above the roofs of Volterra

Above the roofs of Volterra

Volterra Tuscany

This small medieval town is not as famous as its neighbors Siena or Florence. The upside is that it has been spared their hectic tourist traffic.

Volterra radiates a captivating charm. A visit is well worth it!

Volterra Tuscany

A Volterra lane

Volterra Tuscany

Volterra Tuscany

 

Pinocchio in Volterra

Pinocchio, too, likes Volterra

Restored mountain village Castelfalfi

Castelfalfi sits between Florence and Siena. Just a few years ago, Castelfalfi was still a ghost town, a “paese fantasma” as the Italians call their abandoned villages.

In 2007, the TUI travel company invested 250 million euro to buy the derelict village, restore it and revive it as a picturesque vacation resort.

Borgo Castelfalfi with sculpture by Franco Mauro Franchi

Borgo Castelfalfi with sculpture by Franco Mauro Franchi

View of the Castelfalfi golf course

View of the Castelfalfi golf course

See here for my review of Castelfalfi and its resort.

Pinocchio in Castelfalfi

Pinocchio in Castelfalfi: this kid gets around!

Pinocchio in Castelfalfi

“Look, I can stand!” Pinocchio in Castelfalfi

Cantina Marchesi Antinori

For wine lovers, we recommend a visit to Cantina Marchesi Antinori in Bargino.

The Antinori family owns one of the largest vineyards in the Chianti Classico region.

The Florentine architecture studio Archea designed an impressive winery that also makes the hearts of architecture fans beat faster.

In any event, Walter was so impressed, that he devoted its own article to the winery.

The drive up to Cantina Antinori Toskana

The drive up to Cantina Antinori Toskana

Cantina Antinory winery

Curvy architecture of the winery

Cantina Antinori winery Tuscany

Iconic spiral stairway

Cantina Antinory Winery

Pinocchio is ready for a glass of Chianti, too

Our thanks go to …

Many thanks, dear Pinocchio, for the guided tour of your birthplace. It was truly beautiful in Tuscany. We’ll be back. No doubt about it!

Tuscany

Katja and Walter in Tuscany

Great thanks also to our friends Conny and Mario for the convivial and entertaining days you shared with us.

Siena

Walter, Katja, Conny and Mario in Siena

Pinocchio

Pinocchio says bye to Tuscany on the flight home. We’ll be back, you little doll — count on it!

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About Author

Katja is travelmemo.com’s destination research and booking expert. She always has the upper hand on itineraries and travel details. When not on the road, Katja is a corporate communications manager.

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