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Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

Badia a Coltibuono. The beautiful 11th century monastery has been famous for making Chianti Classico since 1050, and has one of the most glorious formal Italian gardens in the country.

 

 

Treasures Of Tuscany — A Wealth of Vistas and Beauty

 

 

 

The Tuscany region provides many geographical surprises and is an area rich in culture, history and art.  From the vineyards of some of the world’s finest winegrowers such as Brunello Montalcino and Badia a Coltibuono, it is also the bread basket of Italy with rolling wheat fields which seem to go on forever.  The walled medieval towns of San Gimignano, Volterra, Monteriggioni and Arezzo are reminders of the wealthy 13th century families who controlled them.  At the cultural heart of Tuscany lie the cities of Florence and Siena, epicenters of Renaissance art and architecture that captivate the spirit.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The peace and beauty of viewing the sunrise at Badia a Coltibuono is palpable by its silence. Guests to the monastery can take the tour and visit the 11th century catacomb wine cellars where the Chianti Classico vintages are laid down.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The ethereal sunrise from San Gimignano to the Vernaccia vineyards is breath taking viewed from the Etruscan hill town built in the 11th century. Once home to 72 medieval towers built by rivalling families, the unique skyline today still has 14 remaining.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The view from the Torre Grossa, the tallest remaining tower in San Gimignano, provides stunning vistas of the Tuscan countryside and also of a brave sun bather on the top of a neighboring tower. The towers were built as status symbols {based on the taller they were} and as safe refuge from attacking hill town communities in the area.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

Considered one of Italy’s great architectural wonders, the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, built between 1136 and 1382, houses masterpieces by such great artists as Michelangelo.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The nave inside the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, built between 1136 and 1382, showcases the stunning black and white marble pillars and vaulted ceilings.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The Liberia Piccolominea within the Duomo Santa Maria Assunta, has the most stunning frescos on the ceiling and walls. The library houses some of the world’s most valuable hand illustrated volumes of biblical works.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The hot sun and changing seasons provide a myriad of ever changing landscapes in Tuscany, including such superlative views as this one from San Gimignano.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The patch work view across the rolling wheat fields towards the hill town of Volterra, and the coastal town of Cecina and the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The dark green cypress trees in the foreground provide a dramatic contrast to the yellow wheat fields of Brunello wine country near the hill town of Montalcino.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

Montalcino in the heart of Brunello wine country is one of the few hill towns with a castle, and provides many panoramic views of the world-famous vineyards below.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

The ethereal morning light in the Piazza del Duomo, provides a view of one of Italy’s most famous symbols, the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo built between 1296 and 1436. The magnificent white marble cathedral is beautifully inlaid with colored marble, and the dome built by Filippo Brunelleschi was the largest in the world when it was built.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

A copy of the sculpture David stands in front of the Palazzo della Signoria built in 1322: it still fulfills its role as the Town Hall in Florence. Sculptor Michelangelo sealed his reputation with the creation of David at the tender age of 29, purposefully making the head and hands larger than in reality to create a more powerful impression. The original David was moved in 1873, to the Galleria dell’Accademia to preserve the masterpiece.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

One of the most famous Renaissance paintings in the Ufizzi Gallery is “The Duke and Duchess of Urbino” painted in tempra on wood between 1472 and ’75 by Piero della Francesca. Here is the Duke in all his finery with typical Tuscan landscape behind.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

Bridge of Gold. This spectacular view of the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio is from the top of the Ufizzi Gallery. The Ponte Vecchio was first built in 1345, and has been home to many of Italy’s finest goldsmiths since 1593.

 

Mark Raynes Roberts | Jo Lee Magazine

In the heart of San Gimignano is the Piazza del Duomo, where jazz concerts and such operas as Verdi’s “La Traviata” are performed naissanceto an appreciative audience. The medieval town provides the perfect backdrop for the summer months and reminds that beauty is omnipotent.

 

 

 

 





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