Art cities

The farmhouse LA PIEVE, a charming house in Tuscany, is located in Colle Val d'Elsa in the province of Siena in the Val d'Elsa, an area rich in medieval towns, Etruscan settlements, open views, cultivated fields and rolling hills.
Colle Val d'Elsa is perched, in its oldest part, on a high hill; narrow streets and walkways surround the well- preserved ancient buildings. Here you can admire the Cathedral and the tower house at the end of Via del Castello, where according to tradition Arnolfo di Cambio was born.
A treasure of art and architecture is undoubtedly the former San Pietro Conservatory designed by Vasari. You should not fail to visit the Museum and Sacred Art, housed in the Palazzo dei Priori, which is a work of art itself and, the exceptional collection of the Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli Museum, if you are interested in history.
Colle Val d'Elsa is famous the world over for plate glass; fine objects made by skilled craftsmen, which can be purchased directly in the shops, or admired at the Crystal Museum.
A few miles away you can visit the famous city of San Gimignano- a UNESCO heritage site - with Piazza Cisterna and its medieval towers, and its still perfectly preserved buildings. You can admire the Cathedral - and its square - which dates back to 1100 and is one of the best-kept specimens in the Tuscan Romanesque style. You should visit The Palazzo del Podesta, Pecori Square, the Town Hall, the 54 meter tall Torre Grossa, the House of Santa Fina and the Piazza Sant'Agostino. Another interesting venue is the complex of the former Conservatory of Santa Chiara; the ground floor hosts the Archaeological Museum and the Pharmacy of the Hospital of Santa Fina, while the first floor hosts the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art and the town library. In the surroundings you can visit the Etruscan necropolis of Cellole and the Museum of Wine and the famous Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Volterra is another medieval town which is only 25 kilometers far from the farmhouse La Pieve. It is well-known for the extraction and processing of alabaster and for its outstanding historic centre of Etruscan origin; you will see the perfectly preserved Acropolis, the Gate Arch, the Porta Diana. Strolling in town you will come across the Cathedral, several churches and “pievi”, as well as oratories, monasteries, magnificent buildings and places of great historical interest, which date back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. You can visit the “Guarnacci” Etruscan Museum, the Art Gallery and the Town Museum, the Museum of Sacred Art, the Palazzo Incontri-Viti and the Alabaster Ecomuseum.
In just 30 minutes by car you will be in Siena, - a UNESCO Heritage site -with its world-famous Piazza del Campo where every year on July 2nd and August 16th the amazing Palio horse race takes place, with the participation of the 17 “contrade”. Siena, however, is not just that; it shows the harmonious beauty of well-kept palaces, churches and squares. The Duomo is breath-taking; its priceless marble floors are open to the public for only a few months a year.
The Mangia Tower is 88 metres high; it is worth a visit because when you reach the top you will enjoy the stunning view of the city and of the surrounding countryside.
If you have time, do not forget to see Santa Maria della Scala, the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Palazzo Publico, the Academy of Fisiocritici Museums, the Botanical Garden of Siena, the Museum of the Contrada.
Florence – a UNESCO Heritage site - is under an hour by car. Florence is known as the cradle of the Renaissance: the city shows everywhere the outcome of the extraordinary literary, artistic and scientific events which took place in the XIV-XVI centuries. The heart of Florence is Piazza della Signoria, with the majestic Palazzo Vecchio, the gallery of sculptural masterpieces in the Loggia dei Lanzi and the nearby Uffizi Gallery, one of the most renowned art museums in the world. You a short walk away is the Cathedral known as Santa Maria del Fiore with its majestic dome, the huge Duomo, the beautiful Bell Tower (one of the best in Italy), and the Baptistery of San Giovanni, featuring the famous bronze doors and the outstanding Golden Gate of Heaven.
The Arno river flows through the city, and is crossed by many bridges; the world-famous Ponte Vecchio is unique as it hosts jewellery shops in small houses and is crossed by the Vasari Corridor. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived the Second World War.
Churches, palaces, villas, monuments, museums, medieval gates, gardens, parks, shops and craftsmen enrich this city, which is famous throughout the world for the splendor and culture that can be seen everywhere you look.