Our highly trained inspectors visit every property we rate, evaluating based on up to objective criteria. Our hotel stays span a minimum of two nights. We pay our own way. No one can buy a rating; all ratings are earned through our objective inspection process. Our global team of inspectors are anonymous at all times, so they have the same experience as a typical guest. While we inspect both service and facility, our Star Rating system emphasizes service because your experience at a hotel, restaurant or spa goes beyond looks — how it makes you feel is what you will remember most. Five-Star These are outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities.

Best Tours of Italy

Italy Formed by a relatively narrow peninsula that emerges into the Mediterranean from Southern Europe , Italy is characterised by a rugged central spine of mountains, the Apennines, which are bordered either side by fertile plains and valleys. It has a surface area of , square kilometres, including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Archaeological investigation shows signs of Heidelbergensis and Neanderthal occupation, with modern humans arriving around 40, years ago.

During the last ice age, water levels in the Mediterranean were lower than today, allowing land bridges to the islands of Elba and Sicily to form, and leaving the northern half of the Adriatic as a fertile plain.

The story of Tuscany spans more than years of art, architectural wonders, culinary surprises and warm, welcoming hospitality. It is where art, history, romance, adventure and relaxation come together to create the perfect vacation. Florence is undeniably the capital of Tuscany, yet it is only.

Phillip Neri Seminary, it is here that our priests receive the formation that prepares them to serve the Sovereign Priest. History of the Building The rolling hills of Tuscany This castle is a medieval structure with four towers, a closed middle court, and a surrounding moat on three sides. In the late Renaissance the family of the Counts of Martelli changed the castle from its medieval shape into a noble summerhouse with more subtle features.

Several staterooms were opened and a little theater served to entertain the Counts and their guests in the summertime. The castle is listed among the typical summer villas of Tuscany, remodeled after the style of Palladio. It majestically overlooks the valley of the River Sieve, which flows into the River Arno running through Florence. Because of its location in the mountains of Tuscany, the castle remains at a comfortably cool temperature, even in the hot Italian summers.

Providence Grants Us a Seminary The last members of the Martelli family, two elderly women who had continued the pious traditions of the family up until their death, donated the building, as well as the surrounding vineyards and olive groves of their estate, to the French Benedictine Monastery of Fontgombault.

However, after twelve years, the Benedictine abbot made the decision to close the priory that had been opened in the castle because of the lack of Italian vocations. A procession through the seminary’s grounds Desiring to fulfill the last will of the pious Countesses, the monks then searched for another religious community which would succeed them in celebrating the Traditional Mass.

There is certainly a big difference between a Benedictine priory set up somewhat tentatively in an old castle and the motherhouse and seminary of a Society of Apostolic Life which very soon needed more and more accommodations for seminarians and guests. It took much effort and a lot of generously donated funds to slowly change the Institute’s seminary over the years into what it is now, adding as time went by new rooms, new offices, and finally even a new chapel. Still Needing Attention A moat encloses the former castle Still today the restoration work is not finished.

The enormous roof and walls of the villa are still in need of much repair.

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Table of Contents Europe Italy Jewish merchants, doctors and bankers began settling in Florence in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. In , the Commune of Florence permitted Jews to practice banking in Florence. An assembly of the Jews of Italy met in Florence in and gathered funds to give to Pope Martin V in return for his protection.

Italy like spain has a thriving online dating are several online dating sites that are worth your time, energy, and even the best results, try to stay close to a city with a lot of single people, like rome, milan, naples, florence, or day of the pioneer, the era of dispersion was over, not because the open.

Early life Embley Park in Hampshire, now a school, was one of the family homes of William Nightingale. Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May into a rich, upper-class, well-connected British family at the Villa Colombaia, [7] in Florence , Tuscany , Italy, and was named after the city of her birth. Florence’s older sister Frances Parthenope had similarly been named after her place of birth, Parthenope , a Greek settlement now part of the city of Naples. The family moved back to England in , with Nightingale being brought up in the family’s homes at Embley, Hampshire and Lea Hurst, Derbyshire.

Fanny’s father Florence’s maternal grandfather was the abolitionist and Unitarian William Smith. She recorded that “Clarkey” was a stimulating hostess who did not care for her appearance, and while her ideas did not always agree with those of her guests, “she was incapable of boring anyone. She said that if given the choice between being a woman or a galley slave, then she would choose the freedom of the galleys.

She generally rejected female company and spent her time with male intellectuals. However, Clarkey made an exception in the case of the Nightingale family and Florence in particular. She and Florence were to remain close friends for 40 years despite their year age difference. Clarke demonstrated that women could be equals to men, an idea that Florence had not obtained from her mother.

In her youth she was respectful of her family’s opposition to her working as a nurse, only announcing her decision to enter the field in Despite the intense anger and distress of her mother and sister, she rebelled against the expected role for a woman of her status to become a wife and mother. Nightingale worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing, in the face of opposition from her family and the restrictive social code for affluent young English women.

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Leonardo da Vinci statue outside the Uffizi Gallery Of a population estimated at 94, before the Black Death of , [18] about 25, are said to have been supported by the city’s wool industry: After their suppression, Florence came under the sway — of the Albizzi family, who became bitter rivals of the Medici. In the 15th century, Florence was among the largest cities in Europe, considered rich and economically successful. Life was not idyllic for all residents though, among whom there were great disparities in wealth.

The It’s Just Lunch team is dedicated to you, and this is our commitment to our clients: To guide you through the It’s Just Lunch dating process so you can have a fun, successful dating experience. To understand your relationship goals and work closely with you to achieve them.

HOME Archeological Sites and Museums in Italy This page describes the most conspicuous part of Italy’s archaeological heritage, as well as some basic information for an immediate reference, and a choice of itineraries and suggested stops divided by regions. An outline of art and culture that testifies the extraordinary richness of history and beauty that has made Italy the ultimate attraction for travelers, artists and students of all times and from all countries.

Prehistoric civilization There has been human settlement in Italy since Paleolithic times, as is demonstrated by numerous discoveries: Prehistoric art is fairly widespread although it varies considerably in importance, type and age. Among the most ancient objects is the so called Venus of Savignano, dating back to the late Paleolithic period, which was found near Modena and is now held in Rome at the Museo Pigorini.

In the provinces of Lecce Romanelli , Matera Serra d’Alto , Reggio di Calabria Roccaforte del Greco , Palermo Grotta dell’Addaura and on the Egadi Islands there are many grottoes which contain pictures and graffiti depicting animals, dating back to a period between 14, and 9, BC.

ITALY – ROME FLORENCE VENICE PISA NAPLES SICILY AMALFI MILAN

See masterpieces from the likes of Michelangelo, Giotto, and Cimabue. Roam ancient cobbled streets, marvel at magnificent cathedrals, and taste delightful wines. This tour aims to inform and entertain you at the same time. With 4 meals provided for you, plus an excellent itinerary and knowledgeable guides, sit back, relax and “get Italian”.

Italy’s capital houses iconic sights such as the Colosseum dating to 80 A.D., Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica where Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes are .

Things to Do in Lucca, Italy The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is one of Italy’s most popular destinations, drawing in millions of visitors each year. Inside the city’s venerable museums await the artistic treasures of the Medici family, including statues and friezes dating to the ancient Roman empire. Uffizi Gallery Designed for the Medici family — as were many great buildings in Florence — the Uffizi Gallery first functioned as an office space for city officials.

The family began to display some of its art collection in the buildings, adding more over time until most rooms of the Uffizi were filled with priceless statues and paintings. After the fall of the Medicis, the artwork remained on display, open to the public. Although some of the original pieces have been transferred to other Florentine museums or put in storage, today’s visitors can experience the harmonious beauty of such lauded works as Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and “Primavera,” Leonardo da Vinci’s “Annunciation” and “Adoration of the Magi” and pieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Titian and other Gothic and Renaissance artists.

Palazzo Pitti Longtime home of the Medici family and other rulers of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, including Napolean, Palazzo Pitti is a treasure trove of home furnishings and decor fit for a king. The Vasari corridor allowed the family to move between their residence, local church and meeting spaces without mingling with the public; it is filled with the family’s favorite works of art.

Paintings, seemingly arranged at random, line nearly every inch of the palace’s walls in the same arrangement left by the last noble occupants. Piazza della Signoria Located directly in front of the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria — Florence’s city hall dating to the 14th century — has witnessed more than its fair share of major events. In , the intently pious priest Savonarola, who ruled the Florentine Republic at the time, threw thousands of pieces of art, books, instruments, pieces of fine clothing and other “immoral” items into a “Bonfire of Vanities” in the square.

The following year, he was himself burned at the stake in the same spot as the Bonfire of Vanities. Although not all of Piazza della Signoria’s events are quite so exciting, the square hosts celebrations at least once a month, including Florence’s carnival festivities. On an average day, visitors still flock to the piazza to see a replica of Michelangelo’s lauded “David” statue and other works in front of Palazzo Vecchio or in the Loggia dei Lanzi open-air sculpture museum.

Florence, Italy Where To Go

I was so impressed I remained in contact vowing to return. In , Linda arranged a custom itinerary for my husband and I on our honeymoon. It was my husbands first time to Italy and he fell in love as I knew he would.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as il Duomo, serves as the city’s symbol and it is the most recognizable building in Florence, cathedral and its corresponding bell tower (campanile) and baptistery (battistero) are among the Top Ten Attractions in Florence and the Duomo is also considered to be one of the top cathedrals to see in Italy.

Housed in Room 41 of the building, the Raphael and Michelangelo Room — as one might expect — contains paintings from the two Renaissance masters. Two paintings by Raphael dating to — portraits of a Floren We all know at least one bridge that makes us long for Italy and its beautiful views. Why not try out some of these crossings, working them into city visits and country treks, to The message, sent through fines and increased awareness, is common sense: Respect the city, its history, its art and its resident Bikes are a great way to get around the city!

The cloister of the former monastery and convent was a space that connected different parts of the complex, such as the basilica and the dining hall, that the monks who lived there used daily. It comprises two refectories and a sacristy. To enter the cloister from th Published on Sunday, February 21, by Kathy McCabe Florence is one of those cities you must see at least once in your lifetime and then even once you have been there, you yearn to go back again and again.

We love Florence so much that we are giving away a trip to the city of art in our Florence Facebook Sweepstakes. In the meantime, here are five, fun Florence facts that you might not know:

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While Lombardy’s right-wing leadership attempted to limit the construction of new mosques, the Tuscan city of Florence has pledged to find premises for a “mega-mosque” in its historic centre to accommodate the Muslim community, who currently worship in a metre square former garage. People are often forced to pray on the street outside the mosque, located in Borgo Allegri, during the most important weekly meeting in the Muslim church – the Friday prayer of Jummah.

When it rains it’s a tragedy. It also doubles up as a religious library and research centre. Members of Florence’s Muslim community met with city council leaders on Monday to discuss moving to a new metre site in the centre. Feasibility studies are currently being carried out and the council has promised that the community will have new premises within a month.

Florence is a treasure chest of art and architecture dating back to the Middle Ages and renaissance, and no trip to this Italian city would be complete without taking in some of the world-famous works of art.

Perched on a hill with its towers and green mountains behind it offers one of the best views of the Tuscan countryside. Of the 72 towers that once defined the profile of San Gimignano, only 14 remain. The triangular Piazza della Cisterna, which is paved with stones set on edge, has a well in the centre.

These squares date to the 13th and 14th centuries In addition to the churches and other buildings, another attraction of San Gimignano worth a visit is the Museum of Torture – featuring such ancient relics as a fingernail clamp and a metal pig’s head which, some say, medieval women were temporarily forced to wear for nagging their husbands too much! Vernaccia di San Gimignano, made from the grape of the same name, is one of the best-known wines in Italy and the world.

There are many vineyards in the area where tourists are welcome Driving distances: Learn More Trequanda The medieval village of Trequanda is crowned by the remnants of the ancient Cacciaconti castle. There is also the parish church of the Saints Peter and Andrea, dating back to the 13th century. It is a beautiful Romanesque-gothic construction with a particular facade covered with white and ochre colour stones forming a geometrical chessboard pattern. The ancient Romanesque church of San Giovanni Battista is close to the castle, while in the lower part of the village lies the most important church in the area San Pietro in Villore.

Within the locality is the picturesque village of Montisi, with its Chiesa dell’Annunziata and its historical grain tower. Here, every year, on the Sunday nearest to the 5th of August the Festival of the Madonna delle Nevi and a jousting contest – the “Giostra di Simone” – takes place. Learn More Montalcino Montalcino is completely surrounded by ancient walls and some of the original 19 towers can still be seen, as well as some of the fountains.

The impressive fortress, built in the second half of the 16th century is still intact and from its ramparts there are magnificent views across the Val d’Orcia.

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