Tuscan Way – Calendar of Events
Festivals of the Seasons
|Explore and Experience Tuscany!|
Tuscany is a charmed land, known for its magnificent landscapes, beaches and artistic and scientific contributions to modern society. Visitors to Tuscan towns and villages are presented with some of the most impressive architecture, gardens and town squares. Tuscany has been continuously influenced by some of the world’s greatest empires and individuals. From the Etruscans, who left many unique roads that are used today to the Romans and the Medici family who financed much of the Renasiannce. Opportunities abound for outdoor adventure with bike tours, world championship golf courses and resorts and trips back to the past for history enthusiasts throughout the region.For more information visit In Italy
|Visit Arezzo, Tuscany Italy!|
|Sites of Interest | Notable Churches | Festivals|
Arezzo is a city in Tuscany and is a the capitol city of the province of the same name. Arezzo lies approximately 50 miles south-east of Florence and as of 2008 had a population of 98,788 people.
Arezzo proper sits atop a steep hill above the floodplain of the Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of later structures.
From the Etruscan period through Roman occupation and eventual liberation from military rule, Arezzo has grown and prospered over the centuries. Visitors can view and learn about much of the history from the architecture and museum records housed throughout the city.
Sites of Interest in Arezzo:
The Piazza Grande was once the main marketplace of the city and remains the most noteworthy medieval square in the city. Located at the opening behind the thirteenth-century Romanesque apse of S. Maria della Pieve. Along with the apse of the church, other landmarks of the square include:
|Visit Florence, Tuscany Italy!|
|Markets | Monuments | Museums | Parks | Events|
Florence is the capital city of the region of Tuscany, Italy and is known as the center of the Renaissance. However this city has gone through many changes over the centuries. From the founding of the city in the first century BC by the Romans through the Carolingian period through the heights of civilization and rebirth starting in the 11th through the 15th centuries, Florence today is built upon these many layers both physically and socially. During the 15th century under the rule of the powerful Medici family it saw the greatest advances in art, culture and politics. Churches, piazzas, public buildings, fountains, and public works were built under popes, kings and emperors with each succeeding generation rebuilding and adding to each. Leonardo DiVinci, Michelangelo, and Raffaello all lived and contributed to the culture of 16th century Florence.
Today the city is still a center of the arts and culture in Tuscany and Italy. A place where people come from all over the world to experience the centuries old architecture, local foods and wines, crafts and art.
|Museums of Florence
The Uffizi Gallery is a world-renowned museums and is the pride of Tuscany and Florence. The Uffizi was first designed to house the offices of the famous Medici family and at the onset of the creation of the structure several rooms were set aside to house the finest works from their collections. For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/uffizi-gallery.html
The Accademy Gallery or Galleria dell'Accademia is best know as the home of many of Michaelangelo’s famous sculptures to include the "David", "The four prisoners" and the "Pieta of Palestina". There are also many paintings collected by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold to help the young Florentine artists, enrolled in the Academy of Arts school which is still next door to the gallery. For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/accademy-gallery-florence.html
The National Museum Il Bargello is housed in one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Florence. Construction on the building began in 1255 and was originally the home of the Bargello or “head of police spies. The building was converted into the national museum in the mid-nineteenth century and contains masterpieces by Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Cellini, Giambologna and Donatello alognwith priceless ivories, enamels, jewels, tapestries and weapons. For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/national-museum-bargello.html
The Museum Of San Marco is worth visiting for its architecture alone. Once a Dominican convent it was restored and enlarged to its present size for Cosimo the Elder de' Medici by his favourite architect Michelozzo. The museum now houses frescoed interiors by Fra' Angelico a very beautiful Last Supper frescoed by Ghirlandaio completed at the end of the fifteenth century. It was alos the first public library of the Renaissance, and still houses a rare and fine series of illuminated manuscripts. For more information: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Museums-in-Florence/Museum-of-San-Marco.html
The Museum of The History of The Science chronicles historical collections of scientific instruments to include those of Falileo Galilei and supports Florence's historical interest in science from the thirteenth century onwards and was as great or greater than its interest in art. It is well-known that Cosimo I and Francesco de' Medici encouraged the scientific and artistic researches carried out in the Grand Ducal workshops, but also members of the Medici family in the seventeenth century protected and personally followed physics experiments in the full light of Galileo's method.
The Gallery of The Hospital of The Innocents is set in one of the best known and most important architectural complexes of the early fifteenth century in Florence. Commissioned and financed by the Arte della Lana and designed by Filippo Brunelleschi it was actually an orphanage and training center for abandoned children. After the 1966 flood, the entire complex of buildings was completely restored in an attempt to return to its original fifteenth century appearance. The Gallery is located in the loggia above the cloister and in the former dayroom of the children above the main portico.
|Parks in Florence
The Boboli Gardens became famous after acquired by the Medici family and commissioned Niccolò Pericoli, known as Tribolo who created innovative forms of landscape architecture between the years 1550 and 1558. The park contains fountains and statues by Ammannati, Giambologna and Tacca and completed by Giulio and Alfonso Parigi (1631- 1656). The design of the Boboli Gardens was so admired that it became the standard and copied at the royal gardens in Europe, to include those at Versailles. For more information: http://www.firenzemusei.it/00_english/boboli/index.html
The Bardini Garden is worth a visit as it was restored to its original splendor in the late 19th century and contains fountains, mosaics, rose borders. Flowers, fruit trees, wisteria and other botanical treasures can be found in this garden.
The Parco delle Cascine was first an agricultural and farm and has a rich history starting in the mid-1500’s with the purchase of the property by Archduke Alessandro. It was considered a primarily wild area where the Archduke and his family could hunt. It was the site of the Archduchess Maria Teresa’s wedding. In the second half of the 18th century, the Archduchess Elisa transformed the property into a public park and gifting it to the city. In the 19th century the gardens of the Cascine were laid out in a romantic style, and looked very different than they do now. Also, in the course of the 19th century large areas of the park were transformed into sporting facilities, including racetracks.
|Events in Florence
The Giro d'Italia is a long distance road bycicle racing stage race for professional cyclist held over three weeks every year in May or early June in and around Italy. Disputed in 1909 for the first time, it took place regularly during the years, except for interruptions due to the first and second world war. The Giro is currently one of the three Grand Tours - together with the Tour de France and the Vuela a España - and is part of the UCI World Ranking calendar.
The Intercity Festival is has been a regular event for the city of Florence for more than 20 years. During this festival, foreign acting companies, new Italian and foreign productions, and stage plays from various European cities come to perform their productions but are translated into Italian. To add to the festivities there are various For More info: http://www.teatrodellalimonaia.it/Limonaia/Intercity/IntHome.html
The Festival of Creativity takes place every year in October and highlights the creative arts from fashion, technology, poetry, music and celebrates innovation of the artists as well.
The Fabbrica Europa celebrates the various forms of contemporary and experimental art in the European community. From painting to music, from theatre to literature, young artists perform and display their creations. More info: http://www.fabbricaeuropa.com/
The International Handicrafts Fair (Mostra Mercato Internazionale dell'Artigianato) showchases Florence’s best artist and craftsmen, where visitors can admire and handmade clothing and accessories, silverware and jewelry, furniture, beauty and health products and food and wine. This fair takes place each spring for nine days. For more information: http://www.mostraartigianato.it/eng_home.html
The Salone Del Mobile in Florence is one of the largest furniture fairs in Italy and provides visitors a sampling some of the latest furniture and design trends. Located within the Fortezza da Basso visitors to this market will also find a wine and food pavilion where local cuisine from Sicily to Piedmont can be found and enjoyed.
The Festival dei Popoli is Florence's film festival that showcases both Italian and European feature and documentary presentations. First conceived and presented as a way of bringing the world to Florence it is now a centerpiece of Florentine cultural events. Website - More info: http://www.festivaldeipopoli.org
The Fortezza da Basso hosts the International Arts Biennale in Florence and it takes place every two years. Conceived and first produced in 1997 by brothers Pasquale and Piero Celona to fill the void for more international exposure for talented career artists to exhibit their work. Artists are welcome no matter what medium or school in order to showcase as many contemporary works as possible. Website - More info: http://www.florencebiennale.org/indexeng.html
Pitti Immagine Uomo, Bimbo, Filati, Casa and ModaPelle are international fashion events production-consumption, and esthetic and cultural design. These shows are presented throughout the year.
The Florence Gift Mart is held twice a year at the Fortezza di San Giovanni or da Basso. The complex was designed by Antonio da Sangallo and built between the years 1533 and 1535. Created to protect the city from invasion it is now home to conferences and exhibitions.
The Florence International Music Festival began in 2005 and was designed especially for young talented musicians from all over the world. More info: http://www.aboutflorence.com/Florence-international-music-festival.html
|Visit Lucca, Tuscany Italy!|
|Churches and Momnuments|
Lucca is a beautiful little Tuscan town protected by 16th-century walls and contains some of Italy's finest medieval and Renaissance architecture. Visitors can enjoy superb dining, antique markets, classical and rock music festivals. Lucca is conveniently located within a few miles of stunning nearby villas in the surrounding hills, and endless beaches less than half an hour away.
The villas and farmhouses surrounding the city are popular summer destinations of discerning European visitors.
Walk or bicycle along the ancient ramparts that ring the old city. Built from brick in the 16th century for defense purposes, today’s visitors can walk or bike around the city on the wide shaded walkways atop the walls. For a more vigorous adventure, climb up the Torre Guinigi a 130 ft. tower with an ancient oak tree on top. In Lucca visitors can also stroll through the streets and enjoy chic boutiques and restaurants.
|Churches and Monuments in Lucca
The churches in Lucca are the San Michele in Foro and San Frediano, and the Cathedral San Martino.
The San Frediano Church is probably the most decorated church in Lucca with lavish thirteenth century mosaics. The interior of the church contains a richly carved baptismal font as well as a shrine to Lucca's saint, Santa Zita. The most notable architectural feature is the golden mosaic high on the façade. The church also houses a shrine to Santa Zita, Lucca's saint, whose mummified body is brought out once a year when she may be touched by the devout.
The Piazza Anfiteatro or Piazza of the Amphitheatre was built on the site of an original Roman amphitheatre. Some of the original Roman features remain in the outer walls, which date back to the 2nd century A.D.
|Visit Pisa, Tuscany Italy!|
|Attractions | Churches | Festival and Events | Museums and Art Galleries | Shopping and Markets|
Pisa, located in western Tuscany, is best known for the Leaning Tower. However, there are many more attractions and sites of interest that visitors can explore and enjoy.This ecclesiastical city’s origins were as a seaside community settled approximately 3,000 years ago. Much of Pisa has retained its medieval appearance where tourists can enjoy many local and international attractions, museums, events, and festivals.
|Visit Siena, Tuscany Italy!|
|Museums | Parks & Gardens | Underground Waterways and Fountains
Art | Markets and Festivals | Attractions | More Siena Events
Siena was said to be founded by sons of Remus, Senio and Ascanio, of the famous duo Romulus and Remus. However, this is just legend and in reality the Romans first setteled in the area in 30 AD creating a military outpost that soon became a trading post along the route north. In the 6th century AD the Franks and Lombards settled in the area of Siena and were instrumental in establishing the Via Francigena, the main road from Rome to France.
The Catholic Church had a great influence and ruled much of the city during the time between the 9th and 11th centuries. The city grew throughout the centuries despite the many battles with the citizens and rulers of Florence. Siena prospered during the renaissance as great artists created monuments and adorned buildings that remain today. Visitors can marvel at the beauty of the Duomo, the Plaazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia just to name a few.
|Museums in Siena:
Learn and experience the rich history of Siena as you visit the many museums, gothic architecture, churches and historic squares.
Accademia dei Fisiocritici Museo di Storia Naturale is Siena’s natural history museum and holds and displays large collections of zoological, anatomical and botanical specimens and examples of medieval and renaissance discovery.
Archivio di Stato is located in the Palazzo Piccolomini and is the location where ancient manuscripts, books and tablets of the state ledgers are kept. The museum is only open upon requet Monday through Friday mornings.
Duomo of Siena Cathedral is the location of the Libreria Piccolomini where the frescos of the life of Pope Pius II and elaborately illustrated books can be viewed. Marvel at the beauty of the stained glass window and marble statutes and adornments of this ancient cathedral.
Battistero is located behind the Duomo and contains the marble font baptistery created by Jacopo della Quercia. View the magnificent bronze panels depicting the life of John the Baptist designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello.
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo view sacred works of art from the 13th to 15th centuries by Duccio, Giovanni Pisano. Stroll the outdoor walkway with a panoramic view of Siena.
Museo Civico contains frescos that depict Italy’s first king and astronomical depictions in the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sala Della Pace. Climb the Torre del Mangia bell tower for a wonderful view of the Il Campo and the countryside around Siena.
Museo d'Arte per Bambini offers programs for children’s education in art and history
Museo della Società Esecutori Pie Disposizioni has been open to the public since 1938 and contains many interesting collections of art from the Sienese school created between the 14th and 18th centuries. Notable works of art can be viewed created by La Sacra Famiglia con San Giovannino of Sodoma and Santa Caterina conduce a Roma il Papa of Girolamo of Benvenuto.
Oratorio di S.Bernardino was built during the 15th century and includes beautiful wood and wall paintings in the baptistery and frescoes by Domenico Beccafumi. Location: Piazza San Francesco
Palazzo delle Papesse - Centro di Arte Contemporanea is Siena’s museum of contemporary art that offers educational and rotating exhibits throughout the seasons.
Location: Via di Città, 126
Pinacoteca Nazionale contains works of art by some of the great Tuscan masters, to include Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti from the Sienese School of art created between the 12th though 17th centuries.
Santuario Di Santa Caterina Da Siena is one of Siena’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors can view the Oratorio della Cucina, once the family kitchen and the Oratorio della Camera where Saint Catherine, Siena’s patron saint once rested.
Santa Maria della Scala Complesso museale was once one of Europes first hospitals offering care to the homeless and poor of the area. It now houses an extensive collection of Sienese art and frescos depicting life in the surrounding areas.
|Parks & Gardens In Siena:
Botanical Garden: Orto Botanico, founded by Biagio Bartalini in 1784 this garden is home to many of Tuscany’s local medicinal and culinary herbs, aquatic plants, fruit trees, flowers, and shrubs. The gardens also display many exotic varieties found in other parts of the world. It was once the location for the cultivation of medicinal herbs used at the Orto dei Semplici, hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala.
La Lizza located on the property of the Forte di Santa Barbara, the fortress built by Cosimo I of the Medici this garden area is used for many events throughout the year. The fortress is also the home of the Italian center for wine that hosts many events, exhibits and conferences on the world’s wines. Orto de' Pecci is a garden that offers a wonderful view of the Torre del Mangia. To find this cooperative garden go to the Piazza del Mercato, follow the stairs that lead down to a field and then take the small street or alley that is to the right of the Via Del Sole. Follow this route through the gate and experience a variety of Tucan plants and the aromas of lavender, rosemary and other fragrant herbs and flowers.
|Underground Waterways of Siena:
Take a guided tour of the underground world of Siena’s aquaducts called bottini. Organized by the La Diana association, these tours take place in the spring and again in the autumn as water levels permit. View images and get more information on the history of the bottini at the Diana website: http://www.comune.siena.it/diana/english/index.html
Fountains in Siena:
le Fonti di Siena or the fountains of Siena can be found throughout the city. These fountains were originally part of the outlying areas of the city but as Siena grew they became part of the city proper. Fountains were used for a variety of everyday life from cooking to baptisms and still today are favorite gathering places for local citizens and tourists alike.
Fonte Gaia is one of the premier examples of Italian sculpture and known as the "the queen of Sienese fountains" because of its central location in the Piazza del Campo. This fountain built between 1409 and 1419 displays panels created by Jacopo della Quercia.
Fontebranda is considered the most impressive fountain in Siena and is the the oldest. The Fontebranda is best known as the fountain that Saint Catherine is most associated with and the reason she is also known as the Saint of Fontebranda. Today this fountain is the site for many outdoor performances and concerts.
Fonte d'Ovile built in 1260 replaced an earlier fountain construction and is worth visiting as part of your fountains tour of Siena. Fonte del Casato known as Siena’s “hidden” fountain because it is not easy to find in the center of the city.
Fonte Nuova d'Ovile is a Gothic style fountain built between 1296 andl 1303 as an outlet for the bottino or underground aquaducts of the city.
|Arts & Crafts in Siena:
Duomo of Siena is a workshop that displays all stages of the ancient ceramics techniques.
Antique Furniture Restoration located in the ancient palazzo of Siena displays the art of gold leaf, fauz finish, and painting that dates back to the 13th century.
Stained Glass - Vetrate Artistiche Toscane is located near the Piazza del Campo and is where visitors can learn about ancient techniques used to create stained glass windows and restoration.
Silk Painting and Batik - Il Girasole
Sator Print specialises in the book binding production, conservation and restoration of contemporary and ancient books, maps and documents.They also have a unique limited edition of hand-made art-books.
|Attractions Around Siena:
The countryside around Siena is a favorite destination for tourists. The pace of life in Siena’s outlying areas is perfect for those seeking bicycle tours and hiking. Public transportation is available and there are travel agencies and tours available for those seeking to experience all of what the area has to offer.
Montepulciano - Take time walking the streets of this medieval town. Visit the renaissance church, Antonio da Sangallo’s San Biagio, visit local shops, and sample local cuisine.
Pienza - This small hill town was transformed by Pope Pius II into a renaissance urban planning testing ground in the mid-15th century. Make this your first stop for a leisurly morning stroll as you travel the countryside around Siena.
San Gimignano - A medieval town that owes its famous skyline to the rival families who tried to outdo each other by building taller and taller towers. Of the original 76 towers only 13 still survive today.
Asciano – Located in the medieval oasis in the "Crete" desert, this hill town has many historical monuments to include the Romanesque Basilica di Sant'Agata. Bagno Vignoni – Located on the terrace-like terrain of the Orcia Valley, this town is known as a popular spa town because of its thermal springs.
Le Crete – This town has been the home of poets and painters because of its enchanting scenery of the Val d’Orcia area.
Montalcino – This town is well-known for its red and Brunello wine and the castle wine cellars where visitors can taste and purchase.
Monte Oliveto Maggiore – This Benedictine monastery situated on the rocky ridge and area where trees native to Tuscany are preserved in a park, is best known for the nave’s choir stalls adorned with some of Italy’s finest inlaid wood carvings.
San Quirico d' Orcia is a fortified town best known as a wayside respite on the road from Rome to Northern Europe. For more information visit: http://www.aboutsiena.com/travels-in-Tuscany.html
|More Events In Siena:
Festivals and events in and around Siena take place throuh during the year. Here is a sample of these events. For more information contact the local tourist bureau at: Phone: 0577 292215.
Accademia Musicale Chigiana on Via di Chitta hosts opera and classical concerts thoughout the year with the most prominent week of Sienese music at events in July and August and the Settimana Musicale Senese in November.
Associazione Siena Jazz presents open-air jazz concerts in July and August.
Cinema in Fortezza, located at the Fortezza Medici presents outdoor movies in June and July and during the month of August, films are shown at various parks in Siena. They also sponsor outdoor theater performances by small community groups.
Sagres & Festivals: Le Sagre E Le Feste are small community celebrations during the spring, summer and fall months. These events highlight local religious, political, crafts and local agriculture.
Treno Natura is a relaxing steam-powered train trip through the south countryside of Siena during the spring and autum months. The round-trip begins in Siena and makes stops in Asciano and Monte Antico.
|UNA Poggio dei Medici | Le Pavoniere | Dell'Ugolino|
Imagine playing golf on tournament quality courses surrouned by the beauty of Tuscany, with its centuries-old castles and breathtaking landscapes. Combine you days with excursions into the Tuscan countryside to partake of award winning wines and local cuisine. Experience the magesty and history of the renaissance. Stay in villas once occupied by some of the most powerful families who shaped Tuscan art, music, and science.
Home to Poggio dei Medici Golf Club, an 18 hole, par 73 course and was built to USGA standards on the sprawling 16th century villa, once a favorite retreat of the Medici, a powerful renaissance family who supported the great science and art of the time. This international championship course provides a driving range, pitching green, shaded driving bays, putting green, and pro shop.
Stay in one of the 70 rooms or seven suites lovingly and authentically restored farmhouses surrounding the greens. Although you are surrounded by history the amenities include modern and luxuriously appointed bathrooms with hair dryers, bathrobes. All rooms and suites come with satellite TV, minibar, telephone and air conditioning.
Other services and facilities include a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, swimming pool with a Jacuzzi, spa center offering the latest in beauty and health treatments to include a Turkish bath.
The golf course, designed by Italian champion Baldovino Dassu and architect Alvise Rossi Fioravanti, offers challenging fairways and greens and was a venue for the Italian Ladies Open. Both professional and beginning golfers will find this course both imaginative and beautiful. For more information and to contact them for reservations, click here to visit the Poggio dei Medici Golf Resort website. http://www.rent-a-villa-in-tuscany.com/golfintuscany.html
|Le Pavoniere Golf Course
Designed by Arnold Palmer, this 18-hole, par 72 course is located just outside of Prato and a short drive to Florence. This course incorporates the natural landscape of the countryside with hazards cleverly placed to make this an enjoyable and challenging day of golf.
Other amenities located at this facility include a driving range, putting green, pro shop, swimming pool, tennis courts, snack bar, restaurant, sauna, and gym. Every member of the family can find something to do, even if golf isn’t their thing.
To find out more information about the course and other activities, schedules and reservations, click here to visit their website. http://www.golfholidaysonline.com/pavoniere_golf.html
|Dell'Ugolino Golf Course
The Dell’Ugolino was the first golf course built in Italy. Located along the well-known route to Chianti, the Chiantigiana Road, this course has hosted many tournaments over the years to include the International Open in 1983.
Founded on the Via Chiantigiana in 1933 and designed by British architects Blandford and Gannon who had also designed the course at Monza near Milan. The course originally was designed as a par 69 but was considered too difficult, and was redesined in the 1960s into the present day course as a par 72 by Piero Mancinelli.
Other ammenites found at the Ugolino are a driving range, pro shop, tennis courts, snack bar and restaurant.
|Tuscany Bicycle Tours|
|Bicycle Tours and Rentals in Tuscany
Experience Tuscany’s beautiful countryside and breathtaking scenery as you bicycle down windy country lanes, vineyards, olive groves and historic cities and towns. Florence by Bike is the perfect place to start your bike tour of Florence and surrounding areas. Their staff will help you choose the bike that is designed for your itinerary and destinations. Bicycles can be rented by the hour, day, week, or longer. They can be picked up at their shop or for you convenience and a fee can be delivered to your villa.
Make your reservations for the bicycles and times of your choice as soon as your plans are final to ensure availability during the busy season from April through October. Be sure to request the accessories, maps, and guidebooks needed for ease of travel and best bike experience.
For more information and to complete a booking form, Visit Florence by Bike’s website: http://www.rent-a-villa-in-tuscany.com/touring-bike-info.html
Vermont Bicycle Touring: Tuscan Coast by Bike
One of Vermont Bicyle Touring’s most popular excursions takes place along the Tuscan coastline. From the Strada del Vino, pedal along one of Italy’s most famous routes and experience sunsets at a seaside village, sample olive oil at a local mill or relax at a seaside town along the Costa degli Estruchi. Stay in historic villas and restored farmhouses and relax as you sample local wines and cuisine. Discover the Etruscan Coast as you ride through medieval hilltop villages, seaside towns and historic wineries.
These tours are prefect for the beginner and intermediate riders, combining both easy terrain and moderate hills. Each day of your tour you will ride approximately 18 to 45 miles, spending from two to five hours pedeling along the Tuscan coastlines. Groups range from 14 to 20 participants. We provide full van support throughout the entire trip.
For more information, and to book your Tuscan coast bike vacation click below to visit the VBT website.
Festivals of the
These are approximate dates - please contact us for more information and exact dates.
April 26 – 30
Mostra Mercato dell'Artigianato, Anghiari
|Anghiari Upper Tiber Artisans Market (Mostra Mercato dell'Artigianato) Enjoy demonstrations from local artisans as they create their unique crafts and shop for a wide range of hand-made traditional goods from the area.|
May 7 – 9
|Assisi Calendimaggio is a three day costume festival in which the upper and lower sectors of Assisi compete against one another in various ancient games along with a choir competition. Enjoy day and evening costume processions and other entertainment throughout the weekend.|
Balestro del Girifalco, Massa Marittima
|Held in Piazza Signorelli, the competition known as the Giostra dell'Archidado commemorates the wedding of Francesco Casali, Lord of Cortona, and the noblewoman Antonia Salimbeni of Sienna, which took place in 1397. Every year, a procession of 300 or more people wearing wonderful mediaeval costumes as well as many riders on their horses parade through Cortona's historic centre. The crossbowmen from Cortona's five quarters, "quintieri", compete for a golden arrow.|
June 16 – 23
Luminara, Regatta and Battle of the Bridge - Pisa
|On the night of June 16, the Luminara begins the festivities to honor Saint Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa, the following day. Over 70,000 candles light up the palaces along the Arno river, with a fireworks display afterwards. The next day four boats representing the most ancient districts of the city compete in the Regatta of Saint Ranieri along the Arno River, heritage of the past glory of Pisa as an ancient maritime republic.|
Gioco sul Ponte, Pisa
|Pisa reenacts the Battle of the Bridge, a medieval "push of war" contest which takes place on the central bridge in Pisa. The six teams from the two banks challenge each other to push a 70 ton cart on a 50 meter rail over the opponent’s line. The contest is preceded by a huge procession through the city with citizens wearing period costumes.|
Calcio Storico Fiorentino - Florence
|Fabulous fireworks along the Arno conclude Florence's celebrations to St. John the Baptist, the city's patron saint. The festivities begin with a parade with citizens wearing historical costume. The procession starts at the Church of Santa Maria Novella and ends at the Church of Santa Croce, where the Calcio Storico is then played in the dirt-covered square in front of the church. The game is a combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling, all while wearing 16th century costumes. The four teams represent the four traditional neighborhoods of the city: Santa Croce (blue), Santo Spirito (white), Santa Maria Novella (red), and San Giovanni (green). The prize is a whole Chianina calf.|
Giostra del Saracino - Arezzo
|Arezzo's Piazza Grande is the setting of the Giostra del Saracino, or Saracen Tournament. This tournament has its origins in the early 16th century and in its present form, commemorates Christian efforts to hold back the tide of Islam in the 14th century. Beginning with a lively and colorful procession preceding the event, eight costumed knights charge towards a wooden representation of the Saracen, aiming to hit the Saracen's shield with lances. The target swivels and can actually hit back! Each pair of knights represents one of Arezzo's four rival districts and their supporters each occupy a side of the piazza. The winner receives a golden lance.|
June 20 – 21
Ferie delle Messi, Giostra dei Bastoni, San Gimignano
|San Gimignano Ferie delle Messi and the Giostra dei Bastoni, the Knights of Santa Fina re-enact the old "Feriae Messium.” These days were once celebrated by the entire population as a festivity that preceded the harvest, and it is now a two-day mediaeval-style festival with costumed knights on horseback, jousts, parades, acrobats, fireworks, musicians, art and crafts market and plenty of good eats.|
Palio di Siena - Siena
|The Palio horse race is a colorful, bareback horse race round the dirt-packed Piazza del Campo, Siena's main square. The contrade (traditional neighborhoods) compete for the palio, or banner dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The square is filled with costumed pageantry before the race, and massive feasts are set up on long outdoor tables that can stretch for blocks on the medieval side streets.|
July 4 -5
Festa Medievale, Monteriggioni
|Monteriggioni Festa Medievale (Mediaeval Festival) takes place on the first weekend of July. This is one of the best costume festivals in Italy with local and also professional performers, music, demonstrations of mediaeval trades, food stands filling the piazza inside the fortified town of Monteriggioni.|
July 16 -19
Italy Wave Love Festival
|Livorno, located on the Tuscan coast hosts the Italy Wave Love Festival with concerts like The Chemical Brothers and The Verve in their unique appearance in Italy. There will be more than 100 acts that compose the program of Italy Wave Festival 2009. The Main Stage where the headliners will perform will be in the Football Stadium, Elettrowave and other activities will take place in the Old Fortress by the seaport, the area of Rotonda d'Ardenza, a terrace next to the sea, will host the music and all cultural events in the fields of literature, theatre, comics, surf and poetry.|
Giostra dell'Orso - Pistoia
|Twelve knights reenact Giostra dell'Orso, a medieval jousting tournament after a magnificent procession held on the 25th of July to honor St. James, the patron saint of the city. The knights' goal is to hit two stylized bears with their lances to the sound of drum rolls and fanfares. The bear (orso) is the heraldic animal of Pistoia and the Giostra is the highlight of the towns's "Luglio Pistoiese" festival.|
Tuscan Sun Festival
|This festival will feature a full spectrum of artistic programming and Italian pleasures, from art exhibits to culinary delights, literary discussions to beauty treatments at Tuscany’s most luxurious spas. Relax and enjoy cultural experiences including private receptions with featured artists, contemporary art exhibits and new collections of Cortona’s Etruscan and Renaissance treasures developed specifically for the event, and a day-long wine festival sponsored by the Cortona Nourish body and spirit in the natural healing waters of ancient Roman baths, relax in a yoga class with Lucia Dalbon and enjoy a program of massage and beauty treatments at Fonteverde, Tuscany's premier spa. Visitors can also savor the tastes and traditions of the Tuscan countryside with Cortona’s leading chefs. The culinary program will culminate in a gala dinner on a private estate.|
Siena - The Palio
|This event is a bareback horse race in several areas of the city culminating with completion in the main square in honor of the Virgin Mary. There are 17 different areas of Siena (contrade), ten of which compete in the race. Winning is all important and coming in second is considered a disgrace. Money and old allegiances are bought into play to bring about all sorts of jostling and maneuvering come the main event. The parades, costumes, flags and the race itself require early arrival - the main race is held at around 7.30 in the evening.|
Bravio delle Botti - Montepulciano
|The Bravio delle Botti, a barrel rolling race between the eight Contradas (divisions) of Montepulciano competing for a Palio, a painted cloth banner. The barrels are rolled up about 1800 meters along the main street of the town of Montepulciano to end in the Piazza Grande. Costume processions precede the competition and a street banquet follows.|
Late August/Early September
Vinaria Wine Festival
|Held in the small town of Montecarlo near Lucca, this annual wine fair/festival grows larger with each passing year. Local growers and winemakers present their wines with abundant opportunities for tasting, along with local produce, hand crafts, presentation and exhibitions – this is an event has something for everyone.|
September 5 - 6
|The Astiludium derives from the Medieval Latin hasta (flag) and ludus (game, festivities). The modern name Astiludio is used today to denote the reenactment of the ancient traditional performance of flag games. This choreographed competition is considered both a reenactment of an ancient town festival and an occasion for camaraderie between the flag wavers of Volterra and the other Italian towns who boast similar traditions. At precisely 3:15 pm all of the bells of the numerous city neighborhoods ring in unison beginning the four processions from four different city gates towards the main square to begin the tournament.|
Giostra del Saracino - Arezzo
|Arezzo's Piazza Grande is the setting of the Giostra del Saracino, or Saracen Tournament. This tournament has its origins in the early 16th century and in its present form, commemorates Christian efforts to hold back the tide of Islam in the 14th century. Enjoy a colorful procession preceding the event in which eight costumed knights charge towards a wooden representation of the Saracen, aiming to hit the Saracen's shield with lances. Each pair of knights represents one of Arezzo's four rival districts and their supporters each occupy a side of the piazza. The winner receives a golden lance.|
Display of the Virgin's Girdle - Prato
|Prato is the location of the Virgin Mary's girdle. Kept under heavy security in Duomo, it is only taken out five times a year amid rich religious tradition accompanied with medieval drum rolls for the pleasure of the crowds who mass on the piazza. For the remainder of the year the girdle rests at the beautiful "Pulpit of the Sacred Girdle" off the facade's right corner. The story of how the girdle arrived in Prato is detailed in the chapel immediately to the left of the entrance in Agnolo Gaddi's fresco cycle of "The Legend of the Holy Girdle (1392-95)".|
Palio della Balestra - Sansepolcro
|This festival is the rematch of the crossbowmen of Gubbio for the Palio della Balestra, a crossbow contest between the men of of Gubbio and Sansepolcro. The competitors dress in medieval costume and use the crossbows of the period.|
September Into October
|Throughout Tuscany it is time for harvesting the grapes. These last few weeks are crucial - too much rain and a years work can rot on the vine, and the balance is a tricky one - if the weather is good then it is tempting to wait until well into October to get the extra sun. Most picking is still done by hand, with only a few of the large estates in Chianti using machines to pick. It is very much all hands to the deck once the decision has been made and it is the tradition to have a communal feast once the grapes are in.|
October 24 – 25
International Comics Fair
|Artists, collectors and exhibitors from all over the world perform and entertain with comic performances, games, simulations. Hotel rooms are reserved early for this popular event – some book a year in advance for this event.|
|Large areas in the north of Tuscany is the area where Chestnuts (Castagna) grow in the forests. October in the woods is the time to collect them. You can purchase special pans for roasting the chestnut for sale everywhere but if you don't have access to an open fire you can find hot-chestnut sellers in most towns leading up to Christmas.|
|October is the right time to look for and gather funghi, and most importantly porcini. These prized mushrooms and their locations are carefully kept secrets because of their popularity in many Tuscan recipes. However, there are many varieties of mushrooms to collect, but the wonderfully rich and pungent porcini are the prize, and it is these that you'll see for sale by the side of the road, particularly in the Garfagnana region of northern Tuscany.|
October - January
|From November and sometimes through January the olive harvests take place. The vast majority of olives are still picked by hand - nets are placed beneath the trees and the olives are knocked down by hitting the branches and by hand. The olives are then taken off to the nearest communal mill (frantoio) where they will be crushed to form a paste, spread out on circular hessian mats which are stacked one on top of the other to form an enormous stack of pancakes. This tower of mats and olives is then slowly pressed and the oil obtained is briefly put through a centrifuge to emerge green, fresh and slightly prickly to the taste. Wonderful stuff - no heat, no chemicals, no refining - they only do that when they're exporting it!|
The Tradition Of The Presepi or Nativity Scene
|This local ritual is both a source of great local pride as well as a source of great national income. This tradition began in Italy and the value of the figurines, statuary and dressing that are exported each year is considerable. Many churches and most communities will have a presepio on show, often with life-size figures and with an incredible amount of detail and creativity exhibited.|
Dec 5 – 13
|The Florence Biennale is an international contemporary art exhibition held every two years in Florence. This 7th edition takes place in the historic Fortezza da Basso and hosts artists from all over the world. For this reason, in 2001 The United Nations recognized the Florence Biennale as an official partner in the program "Dialogue Among Nations". In these difficult times for humanity, Kofi Annan expresses, “Art opens new doors for learning, understanding, and peace among people and nations". The Biennale is run by Arte Studio, whose first contemporary art exhibition occurred in 1986, brothers Pasquale and Piero Celona, of Arte Studio, serve as President and General Manager of the Biennale. In 2007 there were 840 artists from 76 countries, and over 17,000 visitors.|