“World’s Best” Awards 2010

Travel + Leisure’s just released the “World’s Best” awards. This year had a record number of votes by viewers for 2010 travel. This allows people to tell them what they want wherever they are.

This is a study where the magazine turns to their viewers and asks them about their experiences and their travel and which destinations or companies are the best. Viewers rank the top destinations both internationally and nationally, as well as the best riverboat cruise companies, and the best airlines.

Best International Cities
1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
3. FLORENCE, ITALY
4. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
5. Rome, Italy

Best U.S. Cities
1. New York, NY
2. San Francisco, CA
3. Charleston, SC
4. Chicago, IL
5. Santa Fe, NM

Admire the famous statue of David by Michelangelo.


Admire the famous statue of David by Michelangelo, a huge presence (literally , and figuratively) in the in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence,almost synonymous with the city itself. And for good reason.
Florence is a city of art, this sculpture in marble and 17-foot-high
is an undisputed masterpiece. Florence is the “City of Stone”
from its sidewalks to its jambs, and David Stone raises
an art form. Florence is a city seriously: it is the capital of
Tuscany with about half a million inhabitants, which is tempered
generosity and charm, and David, for all its strengths, has
pupils carved heart-shaped.
The Mediterranean climate brings hot and humid summers and
wet, cold winters. May and April, before the summer crowds
and boiling temperatures arrive, the time may be more enjoyable
to visit.

Top 10 attractions
1. Michelangelo square, Viale Michelangelo
2. Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori, Piazza del Duomo, Via
Canonica, 1, 055 2302885
3. Statue of David – Galleria dell’Accademia, Via Ricasoli 58-60,
055 294883
4. Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto), Piazza del Duomo
Downtown, 055 2302885
5. San Miniato al Monte (Basilica of San Miniato al Monte), Via del Monte alle
Crosses, 055 2342731
6. Basilica of Santa Croce, Piazza Santa Croce 16, 055 244 619
7. Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza Strozzi, 055 2776461
8. Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Via Cavour 1, 055 2760340
9. Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi), Piazzale degli Uffizi 6, 055 2388651
10. Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments (Galleria Palatina), Piazza Pitti 1, 055 294883

TUSCANY by VESPA – the original 1 day tour

The perfect day for an escape from the center of Florence:

Drive along scenic and silent country roads through  the hillside of Tuscany on a Vespa scooter admiring the sights, smells and sounds of the Chianti region!

We will pick you up with one of our confortable, air-conditioned mini-vans protected with car and we take you to the countryside, away from the busy and husseling city.  First you will receive an orientation conducted by an English speaking trained professional ensuring the safe operation of the Vespa before we head out for our engaging and enjoyable ride. We will drive along quiet and scenic country roads offering splendid views of the rolling hillside and visiting different small medieval villages in the heart of Tuscany and enjoying the most fabulous of the landscapes. Next, we will stop for lunch at a tipical Tuscan castle* to join a little tasting of some of the most famous Chianti wines, locally produced.

http://www.ibikeflorence.com/biketour-detail.php?id=77

TUSCANY COUNTRY SIDE BIKE TOUR

The spring is beginning, the season than expected, warms us after the long winter and propels us toward the summer and the holidays.

In the spring flourishes the life, everything is awakening from hibernation, even our desire to go out and the outdoors. This is the season’s expectations, it is symbolizes the beginning or returning at a new life, the climate is milder, warmer, the snow melts, blooming flowers, animals, – including the man – to regain momentum and the environment becomes more joyful.

The Tuscan countryside through its green landscape of olive trees, rows of vineyards, rows of cypress trees make the stay in Florence a unique and full of emotions. Right opportunity to fully enjoy all this:

THE ORIGINAL 1 DAY
A day in full “Chianti”, the wine area of Tuscany just a few kilometers away from Florence.

Enjoy a full day relaxing riding pedaling along narrow shaded roads hemmed in by old stone walls.

Ride past olive groves, vineyards, medieval castles, and hillside villa estates to reach some breathtaking panoramic views of Florence and its surroundings.
Several stops on the way to enjoy the landscape, relax and visit small medieval villages. We visit a winery, see the vineyard, visit the cellars and taste and learn about Chianti and extra virgin olive oil.

Then it’s on to lunch with wine tasting!

Carbo load on bruschetta, pasta and wine, and get ready for the ride back down to the departure point. Whether traveling alone or with friends, this is a fun and informative outdoor experience,

a chance to discover the stunning Tuscan country side in a different and fun way,

meet new friends, drink wine and make astounding pictures!

http://www.ibikeflorence.com/index.php

De Chirico at Florence

Few Italian artists had such an important impact on 20th century art as Giorgio de Chirico. His ‘metaphysical’ works were like a pebble thrown into a pond, whose waves rippled through the world of art in concentric
circles, becoming weaker in time, but still felt decades later. The young artist Giorgio de Chirico first became aware of a new way of seeing the world while visiting Florence at the age of twenty-one: ‘on a clear autumn afternoon I was sitting on a bench in the middle of piazza Santa Croce […] I had the strange impression that I was looking at all these things for the first time, and the composition of my picture came to my mind’s eye [...] the moment is an enigma to me, for it is inexplicable’. This ‘illumination or ‘revelation’—as De Chirico called it—informs his pictures of the 1910s and 1920s. As the century hurtled towards World War I, this experience
of alienation prompted De Chirico—long before his peers—to paint what he called the ‘great silence’. De Chirico’s paintings of windswept piazzas, with solitary figures and statues staring blindly into space, continued to haunt artists long after De Chirico painted his Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon in 1909.

Renaissance Ring Road

At ten o’ clock our time, on the twenty-third, we emerged from the Apennines and saw florence lying in a broad valley which was amazingly densely cultivated and scattered with villas and houses as far as the eye could see (…)
One look is sufficient to show one that the people who built it were prosperous and enjoyed a lucky succession of good governments. The most striking thing about Tuscany is that all the public works, the roads and the bridges, look beautiful and imposing. They are at one and the same time efficient and neat, combining usefulness wiht grace, and everywhere one observes the care with which things are looked after.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Italianische Reise

Renaissance Hiking

Florence, as we know, is considered the “Cradle of the Renaissance”. Over time, illuminated sovereigns, such as the Medici and later the Lorraine Grand-dukes, have astutely preserved and expanded the enormous artistic and cultural heritage present in the city. Monuments, historic palazzi and famous museums can be easily visited on foot, since they are all very close to each other. But what would Florence be without its hills? The gentle surrounding landscape is undoubtedly an enormous added value, without which the city would be much poorer and less elegant.

Visitors in hordes, from all over the world, crowd the streets and squares of Florence… with their gaze turned upwards. The visit appears too hurried, jammed in all too often between tours of Venice and Rome. This is a type of tourism which, to some extent, diminishes the value of the Renaissance gem. Even the visit to the world-famous museum of the Uffizi, albeit of great importance, is not sufficient for a full understanding of the essence of the inspiration of the great masters of that magnificient period. To grasp the landscape motifs which inspired them we need to move outwards, to visit the bordering municipalities, to walk along the roads which once made up the network of routes which connected the city centre to the neighbouring towns, to the major Italian cities and to the entire world. This is why we have devoted careful research to the identification of all the surviving stretches of the ancient road network of the Florentine area, now disused and abandoned. We have then joined them up to create a single great excursion system, the first round-city hiking route in Italy: the Renaissance Ring Road Whether you have at your disposal just one hour or, much better, eight days, you can start off from the city itself, or from one of the many towns of the surrounding area, and begin walking. Taking Brunelleschi’s cupola as a constant landmark, you will find your route leading past castles, fortresses, churches, sanctuaries and a myriad of aristocratics residences. A wealth of monuments which further enrich a panorama already wonderful in itself. The visitor can delight in walking along easy paths, immersed in the leafy shades of the woords, leading through vineyards and silvery olive ggroves or along the banks of a river, which emerge without fail at some typical restaurant, rural holiday centre, hotel or village. Thanks to the capillary public transport network, which includes trains and both country and urban buses, the visitor can take up or interrupt these pleasant walks at will.
Strolling in the midst of history and nature, exercising and enjoying spot and culture at the same time, along a modular route accessible in every season.
This is the Renaissance Ring Road, a new opportunity within reach of all our welcome visitors.

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