villa rosa

holiday home to let in northern tuscany

Nearby Cities:

Pisa (1 hour), Lucca (1 hour), Parma (1.5 hours), Florence (2 hours), Genova (2 hours), Siena (2.5 hours), Milan (2.5 hours) 

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Pisa

About a 1 hour drive from Villa Rosa is the city of Pisa, most famous for its Leaning Tower, a free-standing campanile or bell tower. Work on the Leaning Tower began in 1173 and it started to lean almost immediately as a result of the area’s sandy foundations. Many architects toiled over this engineering dilemma, all with little success until, in 2001 a solution was found. After more than a decade of being covered in scaffolding, the landmark is once again open to the public. The secret to enjoying the famous tower is to arrive in the early morning before the hoards of tourists and secondly as the temperatures can be quite intense during the summer months.

Next to the tower stand the elegant 11th-century Gothic Cathedral and Baptistry. They are all located on Campo dei Miracoli (the Field of Miracles), a remarkable expanse of meadow in the city’s north western corner and represent the most important example of Pisan Romanesque style. Nearby, the 13th-century Camposanto is a cemetery contained within a unique collonaded courtyard, said to have been built to enclose earth brought from Jerusalem by the Crusaders. Few medieval groupings are as beautiful and few so beautifully framed by their surroundings.

Pisa is halved by the elegant 16th Century palaces along the banks of the Arno, the river that also runs through Florence. Behind this impressive façade are hidden a maze of narrow streets and alleys, home to a selection of good shops, cafes and restaurants. This makes for a relaxing day, whether it be a spot of shopping, a leisurely lunch or a visit to one of the museums. 

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Lucca

Many tourists pass by Lucca on their way to Florence thinking that the city does not merit a visit. Those who do visit the city find a true Tuscan gem. Lucca had been the capital of Tuscany and defended itself for over 400 years until Florence eventually won the title. A wealthy city formed from banking and the silk trade which today has made underwear an important industry. It is also fast becoming famous for olive oil and wine. Enclosed by its famous walls, the city reveals itself a little at a time. Only by walking the narrow streets of the historic centre can you discover the mystery and magic of a past rich in history, culture and architecture. Its ring of walls encloses dozens of tiny Romanesque churches, quiet paved streets, defensive towers, numerous museums and monuments. The city centre is closed to traffic, so the local people and tourists choose bicycles as a mode of transport, however the city is also a wonderful place to explore on foot. Medieval buildings line the peaceful streets, opening to reveal churches, tiny piazzas and many other reminders of the city’s long history.
After visiting the many attractions, visitors usually end up in the heart of the city, Via Fillungo. The city’s appealing main street is a pleasure to walk, a meeting place full of shops and cafes. At the end of the street you will find Piazza del Antiteatro, its oval shape reflects the origins of the Roman Amphitheatre that stood here until the 12th Century. Ransacked over the centuries, the stone from the theatre was used to build the city's churches and palaces. Slum housing covered the piazza until 1830 when it was ordered to be cleared by the ruler of the city at the time, Marie Louise. It was then that the original shape was revealed, a reminder of the city’s Roman heritage. Low archways still mark the place where the gladiators would have entered the arena. Today the piazza is a collection of charming ramshackle buildings, featuring many small boutique type shops and trendy cafes – a picturesque place to stop that never ceases to amaze and fascinate its visitors. No trip to Lucca is complete without walking at least part of the way round its impressive ramparts with tree lined promenades offering some fabulous views of the city. Lucca is one of the few Italian cities to have preserved intact its own enclosing walls. For the courteous people of Lucca the walls represent centuries of historic battles, fought to preserve their independence and identity. The city hosts a number of events during the summer. A large antiques market takes place in the streets around the Duomo every third weekend of the month. The annual summer music festival livens the main piazza during September with a host of renowned bands and artists. A city rich in history, hospitality and beauty combined with a sweet attitude to living, Lucca never fails to impress and to miss this opportunity would be a certain shame.

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Parma

The city of Parma was most probably founded and named by the Etruscans. The Roman colony was founded in 183BC and had a certain importance as a road hub with a central forum in Garibaldi Square. Parma is the home of one of the oldest universities in Italy - the University of Parma. It is divided in two parts by the little stream with the same name.

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The Battistero in Parma           The Governor's Palace on Piazza Garibaldi
 
During the Second World War, Parma was a strong centre of partisan resistance. The train station and marshalling yards were targets for high altitude bombing by the Allies in the spring of 1944. Much of the Palazzo della Pilotta — situated near the train station — was destroyed by errant bombs, but Parma did not see widespread destruction during the war. Parma was liberated of the German occupation (1943-1945) on April 25 1945 by US and British forces.
Parma is famous for its food - Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (parmesan cheese), Prosciutto di Parma (Parma hma) It also has two food multinationals, Barilla and Parmalat.
 
There are many sights to see in Parma - the Romanesque Cathedral, the Baptistry begun in 1196 - one of the most important Medieval monuments in Europe, the church of St John the Evangelist (1498-1510) behind the Cathedral's apse with a dome frescoed by Correggio, the Monastery of St Paul with frescoes by Correggio and Araldi, the Museum House of Arturo Toscanini, where the famous musician was born and the list goes on.
 
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The Cathedral (Duomo) and Baptistry (Battistero) of Parma

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