Posts Tagged ‘Architecture in Chianti’

The Chianti hamlet of San Leolino in Tuscany, Italy

San Leolino in Chianti

The hamlet of San Leolino very near Panzano in Chianti is home to the parish church of the same name. The Pieve di San Leolino is first recorded in the year 982, under the name of San Leolino in Flacciano in a parchment held in the Abbey of Passignano, but two sculptural fragments housed in

Tuscan castles – fortresses, walled hamlets, fortified abbeys and towers in Tuscany

Castles of tuscany

Tuscany is undoubtedly the land of castles. The combination of a turbulent history of contending city states and marauding foreign armies with a ready supply of stone and stone masons has produced a huge number of picturesque Tuscan castles – fortresses, walled hamlets, fortified abbeys and towers in Tuscany. The amazing variety of fortified stone

Spaltenna, the castle and the parish church near Gaiole in Chianti

Pieve di Spaltenna

If you’re in search of great material for scenic photography (plus some history and architecture), pay a visit to Spaltenna, the castle and the parish church near Gaiole in Chianti, Tuscany. Spaltenna is a classic example of a Tuscan fortified settlement consisting of a monastery (previously a castle), a parish church and a cluster of

Certaldo Alto, hometown of Boccaccio

Certaldo Alto

When you’re exploring Tuscany to the southwest of Florence, the old town of Certaldo in Tuscany, known as Certaldo Alto, is definitely worth a visit. This is the hometown of Boccaccio, author of the Decameron and contemporary of Petrarch, and it retains much of its mediaeval architecture and charm. Boccaccio’s house for the last years

Abbey of Sant’Antimo near Montalcino where you can hear Gregorian chant

Abbey of Sant'Antimo near Montalcino, Tuscany

One of the most photogenic and atmospheric sights in Tuscany is the Abbey of Sant’Antimo near Montalcino. The abbey, abbazia in Italian, is located in a beautiful valley within easy reach of Montalcino in the Val d’Orcia. This is also one of the few churches in Tuscany at which you can regularly hear Gregorian chant,

Villa Vignamaggio – NOT where Mona Lisa was born!

Villa Vignamaggio

Lisa del Giocondo, née Gherardini, Mona Lisa, was born on the 15th of June, 1479. On the road between Greve in Chianti and Lamole there is a magnificent Renaissance villa. This is Villa Vignamaggio – NOT where Mona Lisa was born! Lisa was born in Florence on Via Maggio. The family originally lived near Santa Trinita

A Tuscan farmhouse – the beauty of a Tuscan casa colonica

Case coloniche - the beauty of Tuscan farmhouses

The Tuscan farmhouse is among the most attractive of all forms of vernacular architecture, perhaps equalled in aesthetic appeal only by the villages of the M’zab in the Algerian Sahara. In contrast to the M’zab, Tuscany is, of course, easily accessible to all and a great many of these beautiful Tuscan farmhouses have been sensitively

The Cortona farmhouse of Frances Mayes and “Under the Tuscan Sun”

Bramasole, Frances Mayes' house at Cortona

A great many readers were introduced to the Tuscan hilltop town of Cortona via a popular memoir, “Under the Tuscan Sun“, written by Frances Mayes about impulsively buying and then restoring an abandoned house, Casa Bramasole, near this beautiful town. The book was the basis of the film of the same name and one of

Church of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy

Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy

The Church of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy, was Michelangelo’s favorite church and it’s easy to see why. Both inside and out, this Basilica is an architectural gem that should not be missed by anyone visiting Florence, both for the church and the magnificent view out over Florence. The facade was

The duomo of Orvieto, one of the great buildings of the world

orvieto cathedral

If ever a building was deserving of its spectacular location, the duomo (cathedral) of Orvieto is it. The duomo of Orvieto, one of the great buildings of the world, towers above the palazzi, villas and houses of Orvieto while the town itself is perched high on a tufa butte above the surrounding hills. The glittering façade

Hermitage of Montesiepi near San Galgano in the Val di Merse, Tuscany

Hermitage of Montesiepi

The Hermitage of Montesiepi near San Galgano in the Val di Merse was built between 1182 and 1185. This is one of the most remarkable churches in all of Tuscany and is definitely worth a visit. In addition, it overlooks the famous ruined Abbey of San Galgano which is within easy walking distance. San Galgano

Villa Medici at Fiesole, the first true classic Renaissance villa in Tuscany, Italy

Villa Medici at Fiesole

Villa Medici at Fiesole, the first true classic Renaissance villa in Tuscany, Italy, was commissioned by Giovanni, the second son of Cosimo il Vecchio and, among other owners over the centuries, belonged to the mother of Iris Origo in the early part of the 20 C. Life there during that period is described by Iris

Roman bridge of Augustus at Narni in Umbria, Italy

Roman bridge of Augustus at Narni in Umbria, Italy

One of the most spectacular and historically interesting Roman sights in central Italy is the Roman bridge of Augustus at Narni in Umbria, Italy. The bridge spans the Nera river and was one of the largest bridges in the Roman Empire. Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot famously depicted it in a painting of 1826. The bridge at

History of Tuscany and Tuscan Culture

History of Tuscany and Tuscan Culture

Usually I confine my posts to bite-sized morsels of practical Tuscany tourist information. However, today let’s try something cultural and historical. I’ll try to provide some pointers on one way to think about the huge topic of the history of Tuscany and Tuscan culture. One approach is to see the culture of Tuscany in terms

The photogenic Tuscan abbey known as Badia a Passignano

The photogenic abbey known as Badia a Passignano

This is the Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo a Passignano, the photogenic Tuscan abbey known as Badia a Passignana, located on the road from Greve in Chianti to Sambuca in Chianti, Tuscany. It contains a major fresco of the “Last Supper” by the Ghirlandaio brothers and can be visited on the infrequent days when it’s

A beautiful Tuscan garden, the Piccolomini Gardens at Pienza in southern Tuscany

piccolomini gardens pienza

Pienza is one of the gems of Tuscany and should on no account be overlooked. Although located near the Val d’Orcia south of Sienna, it is readily accessible as a day trip from Chianti. A beautiful Tuscan garden, the Piccolomini Gardens at Pienza in southern Tuscany, overlooking the Val d’Orcia with Monte Amiata in the

Abbey of Santa Mustiola near Torri in Tuscany

Abbey of Santa Mustiola near Torri in Tuscany, Italy

This is the Abbey of Santa Mustiola near Torri in Tuscany. The Abbey is otherwise known as the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità e di Santa Mustiola, first recorded in 1070, with its cloister dating from 13-14 C. The Abbey of Santa Mustiola is unique in Tuscany in having preserved its Romanesque character, including its beautiful

The garden of Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany near Florence

The garden of the Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany near Florence

Of all the Renaissance villa gardens of Tuscany, perhaps none is so perfect as the garden of Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany near Florence. The garden of Villa Gamberaia represents one of the finest examples of the integration of an italianate garden into the architecture of a Tuscan villa. Among the outstanding villa gardens of Tuscany,

Tempio di San Michele Arcangelo in Perugia, Umbria

Tempio di San Michele Arcangelo in Perugia, Umbria

The Temple or Church of Saint Michael Archangel (Tempio di San Michele Arcangelo, Chiesa di Sant’Angelo) near Perugia, probably dates from the 5 C but was constructed on the remains of a Roman temple which in its turn was built on a site sacred to the Etruscans. This extremely attractive building has twin fascinations for

Montefioralle, a Chianti walled mediaeval village

Montefioralle near Greve in Chianti, Tuscany

Tuscany is famous for its hilltop towns and villages, and, among the latter, one of the best preserved and most photogenic is Montefioralle, a Chianti walled mediaeval village. Montefioralle was once the main inhabited location of this area, at a time when Greve, down in the valley, was no more than a market place. As

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