Basilica of Santa Maria

The Basilica of Santa Maria, one of the largest sanctuaries in the Christian world, encloses Porziuncola, the tiny chapel that was restored by the catholic deacon St Francis and is where the Franciscan movement started. […]

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Perugia

Perugia, like most other towns and cities worth their salt in central Italy, is built on a hilltop. The city is the capital of the region of Umbria, and has a wealth of places worthy of exploration. Some of the highlights: The Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo, although on the main square, the Piazza IV Novembre, […]

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Cortona

The village of Cortona is another of Tuscany’s magical hill towns, comprised of steep streets and fine medieval buildings. The Duomo had its interior completed before the city ran out of money, leaving the facade undone. Daily 9am-1pm, 3pm-7pm. On Piazza del Duomo is the Museo Diocesano, which features a number of works cobbled together […]

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Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a Tuscan hilltop gem. All of its streets are steep, so the trek up its winding alleyways can be hard work, but their medieval beauty and the excellent views to be had all around town make it all thoroughly worthwhile. Montepulciano is also known for its wines. The town is touristy, but it […]

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Pienza

In the 15th century, Pope Pius II had big aspirations for Pienza, resulting in some fine buildings, but ultimately, not a great deal of population expansion. The result is a small vil- lage with some unexpectedly fine architecture. The views over the countryside, particularly from the south side in town, are stunning. The Piazza Pio […]

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Montalcino

Montalcino is not overloaded with specific sights and things to do, but has a great setting and a pleasant vibe. It’s a good place to stop for coffee or lunch. A 15th century, pentagonal Fortress can be found at the highest point in town. You can climb up to the ramparts for the great views. […]

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Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore

The Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore is broadly located in an eroded, clayey area of badlands that gives the area its name; Crete Senesi. The specific site of the Abbey itself, however, feels an oasis of sorts, being leafy and well shaded. Building of the church began in the 14th century, though you would never […]

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Siena

The city of Siena is a medieval delight whose historic centre is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is said that during medieval times, Siena’s rivalry with Florence extended to largesse in urban planning, and the effect is divine. The colours that symbolise the city of Siena – black and white – can be […]

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Arezzo

Like Assisi, Arezzo also has a Basilica di San Francesco. It is, of course, dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. Within it can be found Piero della Francesca’s highly regarded fresco, Legends of the True Cross. Piazza Grande is the finest square in the city, and is surrounded by renaissance towers, palaces, and Santa Maria […]

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Castellina

Castellina, which sits perched on a ridge with great views, was another outpost during the conflicts between Florence and Siena. Take a walk along the Via delle Volte, the arched laneway that runs along the east side of the city walls. The Rocca Comunale is a 14th century fortress that is now utilised as town […]

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