The city of Siena is universally known for its artistic heritage, its urban MEDIEVAL atmosphere and for its famous Palio horse racing competition.
In 1995 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Founded by the Etruscans, Siena also became a Roman colony. In the twelfth century, Siena was one of the most important European commercial centers, thanks to good relations with the STATE CHURCH, the Sienese bankers become important financial backers for the Roman authorities. The city reached its peak in 1287 with the rise of the GOVERNMENT OF NINE and a portion of the GUELFA.
Most likely as a reference to the battle of Monteaperti in 1260 A.D., this famous competition takes its name from the Palio, the prize by the Roman Pallium , a woolen cloak.
The CARRIERA, is traditionally the name given to the race, usually held two times a year: on July 2nd and August 16th. This race has been running since the twelfth century and unlike other events, the CONTRADE ( the people) not the nobles participate in the CARRIERA.
Strongly rooted in the culture of the people, the Palio is not just an easy race, but something more complex and can be difficult to understand. In fact the horse is considered the athelte and more important than the rider.
Since 1656 the City of Siena oversees the Palio organization.
Aquila Bruco Chiocciola Civetta Drago Giraffa Istrice Leocorno Lupa Nicchio
Oca Onda Pantera Selva Tartuca Torre Valdimontone
Built on a site inhabited by ETRUSCHI in the Middle Ages was a very important commercial byway of FRANCIGENA. In 1199 it gained its independence from the municipal to the bishops of Volterra. In the twelfth century, under the Ghibellines had a period of economic splendor thanks to the production of SAFFRON.
Because of its architecture of a typical medieval town it was declared a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE site in 1990 .
This village is in the heart of Tuscany, between Val di Chiana and Chianti, in the tourist area of "Crete Senesi". It is a "must see" for those who want to fortify their body with the thermal waters of the SPA. Two spas in the area are: TERME DI SAN GIOVANNI and COMPLESSO TERMALE DELL’ANTICA QUERCIOLAIA .
The known history of Florence begins around 59 B.C. with the founding of a village for ROMAN military veterans.
The area was under the domination Bysantia, Ostrogothic, Lombard and France. In 415 B.C. it became an autonomous community. Assisted by its own gold coin, the FIORINO, it became one of the most powerful and prosperous cities in EUROPE. Later under the rule of the MEDICI family, Florence had a period of maximum development.
Florence is known as the cradle of the Renaissance, the great development that took in all fields between the 14th and 16th century.During this period MICHILANGELO, BRUNELLESHI, PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA , POLIZIANO, LEONARDO DA VINCI and many others worked in Florence. Other famous citizens were RAFFAELLO, BOTTICELLI, MACCHIAVELLI, GALILEO GALILEI. In 1861 it was annexed into the KINGDOM OF ITALY, and Turin was the capital in 1865.
Cortona was the main cultural and tourist center of Val di Chiana between the 8th and 7th century B.C. It became an important Etruscan city thanks to its strategic location. Episcopalian, became a free commune in the XIII century. Allied whit PERUGIA during the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines to defend his side against AREZZO . In the 15th century A.D. it became part of the Florentine Republic.
This thriving town enjoys the enhancement of crops, as well as the prized beef breed "CHIANINA". Unfortunately, Cortona paid a high price in blood, as it lost many of its citizens during the two tragic world wars.
The CHIANTI region, from which the wines get their name, is a hilly area between the provinces of Florence - Siena - Arezzo. It includes the towns of Greve in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti along with Gaiole in Chianti. They along with smaller surrounding towns have natural conditions of climate and geography, that for centuries and presently produces the highest quality wine under the name of Chianti Classico.
The Chianti Classico DOCG wine is kept to a strict set of rules (80% Sangiovese, 20% other red grapes, average elevation 700 meters, winemaking is restricted only to this area, and the wine must be aged a minimum 1 year)
Inhabited since prehistoric times, Arezzo was one of the major Etruscan cities. From this period the mythological CHIMERA became the symbol of the city. After the BATTLE OF ROSELLE (295 B.C.) Arezzo was conquered by the Romans to who gave the city is current name today. With the spread of Christianity it was the headquarters of EPISCOPATO. After the tenth century the city continuously developed, peaking in 1304 following the conquest of CORTONA. Impossible at this point to avoid a clash with Siena and Florence, Arezzo GHIBELLINA was brought into the war and was defeated in the battle of CAMPALDINO, near Poppi. GUELFA Dante Alighier iparticipated in this battle.
Recognized by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1860 as the capital of the province, Arezzo became part of the KINGDOM OF ITALY.
This small village is one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval town planning, by the installation of elliptical ring roads . Its good strategic location has been marked by the history of the castle's strongly disputed ownership for centuries. The name Lucignano probably derives from a "castrum romano" founded by the consul Licinius. Important findings report the presence of Etruscan settlements at that time as well.