PRLog - Nov. 26, 2012 - FLORENCE, Italy -- Tuscany resembles a jewel box: it enshrines six Unesco World Heritage Sites you should definitely include in your itinerary if you are planning to visit this marvellous region. Here is the list:
Pienza @iggyphoto on flickr
1) The Historic Centre of Florence (since 1982)
2) Piazza dei Miracoli (since 1987)
3) The Historic Centre of San Gimignano (since 1990)
4) The Historic Centre of Siena (since 1995)
5) The Historic Centre of Pienza (since 1996)
6) The Valdorcia (since 2004)
Everything that could be written about Florence has already been said. History, art, territory, atmosphere, traditions, everybody loves this Renaissance city depicted by many as the Athens of the Middle Ages. The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of people every year and was declared a World Heritage Site due to the fact that it represents a masterpiece of human creative genius + other four selection criteria. Even if the best known monuments stand in Piazza del Duomo – whose dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi – you definitely cannot miss Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio, the Medici Chapel, the Uffizi Gallery and the Loggia dei Lanzi, just to name a few.
Piazza dei Miracoli is located in Pisa instead, it is basically a wide walled area, partly paved and partly covered by grass, dominated by four great sacred buildings: the Cathedral, the Leaning Tower, the Baptistry and the Camposanto. In Pisa, people celebrate the New Year twice – on January 1st and on March 25th – because from 1200 to 1749 the celebration of the New Year was the Annunciation Day... But, what's March 25th got to do with it? At noon, a sunbeam enters a Cathedral's window and hits a marble egg next to the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano, that is located opposite. This happens every year and it would be a great idea to decide to visit Pisa on that day.
For more than 8 centuries the Towers of San Gimignano have dominated, almost unchallenged, the Val d'Elsa landscape and are considered as the emblem of medieval Tuscany; they are ancient symbols of power that for their charm and beauty have been attracting millions of visitors every year. The historic centre of San Gimignano represents a masterpiece of human creative genius, it bears a unique testimony to Tuscan civilization and undoubtedly is an outstanding example of architectural ensemble, which illustrates significant stages in human history.
Fourty kilometers from San Gimignano stands Siena, the historical enemy of Florence and embodiment of a medieval city. Throughout the centuries, the city's Gothic appearance acquired between the 12th and the 15th centuries has been preserved and expansion took place outside the walls, away from the historic centre. Siena is world famous for its cuisine, art, museums, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, Piazza del Campo and the Palio, for these and other reasons it is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions.
It was in Pienza that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first applied; in 1459, Pope Pius II decided to transform the little village of Corsignano (its birthplace) into an ideal city and called the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who put into practice the principles of his master Leon Battista Alberti. This new vision of urban space was realized in the central square known as Piazza Pio II and the buildings around it: the Piccolomini Palace, the Borgia Palace and the Cathedral. Piazza Pio II represents undoubtedly a masterpiece of human creative genius and mainly for this reason was included in the list of Unesco's World Cultural Sites.
Finally, the Val d’Orcia was added to the Unesco list under criteria IV and VI: it is an extraordinary reflection of the way the landscape was re-written in the Renaissance to reflect the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture; its landscape was celebrated by famous Renaissance painters and has deeply influenced the development of landscape thinking.
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