Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Castles in the Chianti Region

Wine yards, smooth hills, middle-age towns, nice narrow roads which follow the countryside, cities of arts: that is the Chianti Area.

If you are interested in food and wine, in art, if you like the nature …., then the Chianti is a place to visit. A relaxing area with marvellous views, flavours, mild colours.
If you like refined, charming and fascinating things you should consider to spend your “Chianti time” at Castello di Spaltenna.


If chianti is a magnificent region full of castles and strongholds, ancient villages and abbeys, then why you shouldn’t take the opportunity to spend your vacation in an ancient feudal town made up of the age-old Parish church with a bell tower which goes back to the 11th Century?

The Spaltenna Castle complex, which has been cleverly restructured while maintaining its original charm intact, has 30 rooms and 8 suites, all of which boast all mod cons like air conditioning, satellite TV and mini- bars, and all of which enjoy wonderful views of either the valley or the cloister.
From the very well-kept and green terraces facing the Castle, guests here can enjoy the peace and quiet of the surrounding countryside and the beauty of the landscapes. A further attraction is offered by the two distinctive swimming pools: one outdoor swimming pool, which has a lovely cascade to enjoy when the weather is nice and one indoor heated swimming pool for the cold season.
Not to mention the restaurant which is second to none, housed in the age-old rooms of Spaltenna Castle and offering treats for even the most demanding of palates
Are you looking for something more than a 4 stars hotel? Then consider the suite at Vertine Tower! If you are not concerned about the rates, this is a magnificent solution.

So Spaltenna is the perfect place to stay for those who are looking for a holiday in "a unique and refined atmosphere you have only dreamed about".

Visit the Castello di Spaltenna website at:
http://www.italialodging.com/est/castellodispaltenna/

A Florence View bed and breakfast Staff

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rome and its charming atmosphere

2500 years of history have made Rome one of the most beautiful town in the world and certainly a place you can't miss! Rome is more than just a site for tourists, it is a real experience. Thanks to its "open" nature, the city has preserved in the years a special charm.

Rome welcomes its visitors with its noise, its elegant buildings, its churches, its monuments and its people. Rome is a chaotic and rich city, where buildings of today's political leadership and ruins of its past splendour are next to each other, just close by to old houses, handy-craft shops and haute coûture boutiques with latest fashions.

In Rome, if you turn round the corner, you will find a statue, an obelisk, a renaissance fountain which seems to have become a shadow of its former self. But what most impresses of Rome is the lack of care and importance given to its treasures: like and elegant old lady who makes not show of her jewels.

This is why Rome is an experience and a never ending discovery. You cannot think to see "what there is to see" simply reading a good tourist guide: relax yourself, take your time to discover its hidden charm and whatever might attract your attention wandering through it. While walking you will probably understand our deep-rooted culture: your stay has now become an unforgettable experience.

Now you are maybe planning a trip to Florence, but don't forget all the roads lead to Rome. And from Florence you have also a eurostar train connecting the two cities in less than 2 hours!

If you look for accommodations in Rome similar to A Florence View bed and breakfast you can't miss Italia Lodging Rome - Charming Accommodation in Rome

A Florence View bed and breakfast Staff

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Italia Lodging Rome is now on-line

Today, December 7, 2005
www.italialodgingrome.com is definitely on-line



Just a few things to test.

The Italia Lodging Staff


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome Italia Lodging Rome!

We are proud to present you here the launch our new website: www.italialodgingrome

Are you looking for accommodation in Rome? Would you like to stay in a place which is comfortable, well-managed, perfectly kept, charming and welcoming? Maybe it is a while you are surfing on the net looking for bed and breakfast in Rome, apartment or nice Rome hotel. Italia Lodging Rome offers a detailed list of lodgings we have been selecting in the last five years. Here you will be able to check the details of each accommodation, compare the rates, the type of accommodation and location to make your choice. Do you find it confusing to check everything and make up your mind? Do you want to know which one suites at best with your requirements? Don’t worry, write us with your needs: we have a “human” managed booking office which is ready to suggest you which lodging in Rome fits better with what you are looking for. Expect to receive a detailed and personalised answer to each question and requirement, and consider that we are always available to respond by e-mail or by phone. We like you to think that behind this website there is a staff made of people who are constantly doing their best to satisfy even the most demanding customer: our main aim is to suggest good accommodations in Rome and make your stay in our beautiful city a wonderful experience. If Rome is not enough for you and you are planning a trip to other locations in Italy, don’t miss the Italia Lodging main website: At www.italialodging.com you can make an accommodation research also for Florence, Amalfi Coast, Venice, Tuscany, Apulia, Sicily …. to say it in one word … throughout Italy."

The aim of this website is to provide an accommodation portal about Rome only, a website with new features and in particular easy to surf. As usual big attention is given to the accommodation listed and the way we present them.

Come and visit us at www.italialodgingrome.com

The Italia Lodging Staff

Monday, December 05, 2005

Not to be missed in Florence

We Know you have already bought tourist guides, you have been surfing on the net to find useful information about Florence, where to go, where to eat, what's best and so on... but, just to be sure, here you have a handy list of "things" you are supposed to see in Florence. Those things that make Florence famous the world over. Please don't make a check list out of it but relax and enjoy. If there will be something missing at the end Florence is here to welcome you again and again!

FORTEZZA DA BASSO Designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1533-35), the Fortezza was recently remodeled and is now an exhibition and conference center.

PALAZZO VECCHIO AND PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA
This is the most important civil building in the city; construction, to plans by Arnolfo di Cambio, was begun in 1299. It was the seat of the Priori delle Arti, of the Signoria and the ducal residence; over the centuries it was remodelled several times. The 14th century courtyard, graced with the fountain with the "putto", a copy of Verrocchio's original, was later modified by Michelozzo. Inside, it is worth seeing the Salone dei Cinquecento, the study of Francesco I, the room of the Elements and the Sala dei Gigli. The Loggia della Signoria or "dei Lanzi" overlooks the square; here there are several important statues including "Perseus" by Cellini and the "Rape of the Sabine Women" by Giambologna. Works by important 20th century artists are housed in the Raccolta d'Arte Contemporanea A. della Ragione, which is also located in Piazza della Signoria.

UFFIZI GALLERY, VASARI CORRIDOR AND PONTE VECCHIO
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the greatest museums in Italy and the world. It was founded in 1581 by Francesco I de' Medici, who collected numerous artworks in the building designed by Vasari. Today the Uffizi contains masterpieces by Italian and foreign artists from 13th to 18th century such as Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Beato Angelico, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Caravaggio, along with Rubens, Rembrandt, Dürer, Goya and many others. The Vasari Corridor that connects the Uffizi Gallery with the Pitti Palace hosts a rich collection of self-portraits by past and present artists. Built by Vasari in 1565, it passes above the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city, with its many jewelry shops.

PITTI PALACE AND THE BOBOLI GARDENS.
This palace was commissioned by Luca Pitti in 1448. The original plans, attributed to Brunelleschi, called for a much smaller building than the one we see now: it was enlarged in 1549 when ownership passed to the Medici family. The beautiful courtyard by Ammannati dates from that period. The Pitti Palace was enlarged and modified many times over the centuries: it was the seat of the Lorraine dynasty and, when Florence was capital of Italy, of the Court of Savoia. Today it houses several museums and galleries the most important of which is the Palatine Gallery, containing the private collections of the Grand Dukes, with masterpieces dating from the 15th to 17th centuries, including paintings by Titian, Giorgione, Raphael, and Rubens. The other museums are the Gallery of Modern Art, the Silver Museum, the Costume Gallery, the Carriage Museum, the Porcelain Museum, the Contini Bonacossi Collection, the Royal Apartments and the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta. One of the most beautiful Italian gardens extends on the Boboli hill between the Pitti Palace and Forte Belvedere. It was designed by Tribolo in 1549 and then enhanced by Ammanati and Buontalenti. The 16th century fortress, Forte Belvedere, dominates the gardens and the entire city; it was designed by Buontalenti for the Grand Duke Ferdinando I.

CATHEDRAL, BAPTISTERY, MUSEO DELL'OPERA DEL DUOMO
Santa Maria del Fiore, the Gothic cathedral erected over the ancient basilica of Santa Reparata, was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio who began construction in 1296. Brunelleschi completed it in 1436 with the elegant dome, the inside of which was entirely frescoed by Vasari and Zuccari. The final phase in the construction of the cathedral, that is the completion of the façade, dates from the mid-19th century. To the right of the cathedral rises the Bell Tower, or Campanile, designed by Giotto in 1334. The square tower is covered with red, green and white marble inlays, decorated with panels and carvings, and made graceful by double- and triple-windows. Opposite the Cathedral stands the green and white marble Baptistery of San Giovanni (1128), a masterpiece of Florentine Romanesque architecture. The interior of the dome is decorated with mosaics. The splendid bronze doors (including the Door of Paradise) were made by Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti. The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo houses artworks from Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery and the Campanile, including sculptures that had been made for the cathedral façade. The most important works in the museum are by Michelangelo ("Pietà"), Donatello ("Mary Magdalen", "Cantoria"), Arnolfo di Cambio ("Boniface VIII"), Luca della Robbia ("Cantoria").

But there is more!!
We leave you the suspense to come and see!

Enjoy!

A Florence View bed and breakfast Staff
www.bed-breakfast-florence.com

Friday, December 02, 2005

Between Florence and Siena along the Chianti Road

There is something you simply can't miss if you are in Florence. Don't forget while you are there that Florence is just in the middle of Tuscany and outside the city you have wonderful scenery absolutely worth to be seen.

One possible itinerary that can be done in one day if you have your base in Florence, it is the Via Chiantigiana. Rent a car while you are in Florence and take one day off, passing throught the Chianti Classico area. Go south and take the Road SS 222 toward Impruneta.

Impruneta was already inhabited in the Etruscan and Roman era, and during the Middle Ages was tied to the political and economic affairs of nearby Florence. The real propulsory centre of the community of Impruneta was the parish Church of S. Maria, founded in 1060, that became, in a short time, an important sanctuary to the Virgin Mary. The church, originally in Romanesque style, underwent numerous revisions over the centuries, and at present only the original crypt has been preserved, while the church presents a sober Renaissance-style appearance.

Leave Impruneta and go Direction Greve in Chianti, along the SS 222.

Greve in Chianti is situated at the intersection of the roads that linked Florence and Siena and Upper Valdarno and the Valdelsa. It began to develop as a "market place" for the principal castles of the area in the XIII century. Greve's main piazza, is characterized by an original formation of irregular triangular shape, defined by beautiful long porticos. Today it is still an important point of exchange, particularly on the occasion of the Mostra Mercato del Chianti Classico (Chianti Classico Wine Fair) that takes place there every year in September. The Montefioralle castle dominates Greve, which still maintains intact the original mediaeval town structure with a narrow ring-road that follows on to meet the little church of S. Stefano, where an interesting twelfth-century Madonna and Child is preserved. The castles of Uzzano, Verrazzano, Vicchiomaggio and Lamole are also notable. A short distance from Greve, in the Panzano direction, Vignamaggio Villa can be found, where, according to tradition, Mona Lisa - made famous by Leonardo - was born. The Romanesque parish church of Panzano or S. Leolino, dating back to the X century, preserves important works of art, including a precious panel with the Madonna on the throne Saints Peter and Paul and stories of the two saints, attributed to Meliore di Jacopo (XIII century).

Leave Greve and follow the directions for Castellina in Chianti still on the road Chiantigiana 222.

Long-standing feudal domain of the Trebbio family, Castellina in Chianti passed over to Florence in the XV century that surrounded it with walls making it one of the most important battlement locations against Siena. The medieval fort dominates the country, but that which bears witness more than anything else to Castellina's medieval past is surely the Via delle Volte, a walkway set into the walls of the town which offers, limited but exceptional panorama, seen through the arrow-slits. Just outside the inhabited centre lies the Etruscan ipogeo (underground cave) of Montecalvano, a rather imposing grave for dimensions dated to the VII-VI century B.C. that, together with other tombs identified in various other locations, bears witness to the Etruscan presence in Chianti.

Leaving Castellina take the road n. SS 484 to Radda in Chianti.

In the rerritory of Radda in Chianti The Volpaia castle is a small mediaeval agglomeration that is certainly worth a visit. Inside the walls is a labyrinth of little paved lanes preserved between arches, palazzos and the little Renaissance church of S. Eufrosino (XV century).

Leaving the territory of Castellina follow the directions to Gaiole.

Gaiole in Chianti during the Middle Ages was an important market place, developed along the road for Valdarno. The numerous castles and parish churches in the vicinity bear witness to an intense and prosperous agricultural and commercial activity. Among the castles, which were all established in the Middle Ages, of particular interest is Vertine, also Meleto with its two majestic rounded angular towers, Barbischio, and above all Brolio castle. A patrol walkway runs on top of the walls and bastions that surround the town, from which one can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Chianti region and the Sienese countryside. The castle, completely destroyed in 1478, was reconstructed in the last century on Bettino Ricasoli's wish.
At less than 1 km from Gaiole, the beautiful Romanesque parish church of Spaltenna is worth a visit, while on the road to Valdarno, immersed in the green of age-old fir-trees, is the Abbey at Coltibuono. A large part of the majestic complex of the abbey that was constructed by the Vallombrosan monks is now private property, the Romanesque church and the massive embattled bell-tower.

Now you can go toward the end of your Itinerary: Castelnuovo Berardegna which is a southern offshoot of Chianti.

At the end of this tour you have enjoyed nice middle age towns, castles and above all you have been passing through a magnificent territory marked out by a perfect combination between art, history and nature. A smooth landscape dominated and respected by men.

Don't foget the Chianti Wine, but since you are supposed to be driving buy a few bottles and wait!

Have a nice trip,

A Florence View Staff
www.bed-breakfast-florence.com