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>>>Cities and villages to visit

Cities and villages to visit in your free time during your cooking holidays

Ambra

The town of Ambra contains an ancient castle on a hill on the left bank of the river of the same name. It is a still-expanding village that has developed during the course of centuries at the foot of the original stronghold, in the small space on the valley floor. More info see Abctuscany.com


Bellorcia: 1:30 mins
Casa Ombuto: 2:00 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 55 mins.

Anghiari

Anghiari is a lovely medieval town lying between two rivers, the Tiber and the Arno, in a spectacular position above the planes on the site of the famous battle of Anghiari painted by Leonardo. Anghiari has been elected as a "Borghi piu Belli d'Italia". You can visit the old centre where you can find particularly skilled cabinet makers. You should not miss the famous Busatti handmade linen workshop established in 1842. There are breathtaking views and vistas to be found from every corner of the ancient town and the famous long straight road going to Sansepolcro. Also visit Anghiari.it for more info.


Bellorcia: 1:50 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 60 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 20 mins.

Arezzo

Arezzo has a charming medieval historical centre with Piazza Grande being the main square. Unlike Florence there are not masses of tour buses and thus one can explore the centre in relative peace without long queues for museums. Visit this town with beautiful frescoes by one of the Masters of Renaissance: Piero delle Francesca in the Church of San Francesco. Also visit the Pieve di Santa Maria monument and the San Domenico cathedral. The location of Roberto Benigni’s Oscar Award movie ‘la vita e Bella’ (Life is Beautiful), was set here in Arezzo. This is a lovely city to spend a morning or even a day and also has a great shopping street and fabulous places to eat if you still have some space after all you have been eating during your cooking holidays!  If you are around on the first weekend of the month, Arezzo has a large antique market – well worth it. Please see Abctuscany.com and Turismo In Toscana.it for more information in and around Arezzo.
 
Bellorcia: 50 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 50 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 20 mins.

Bagno Vignoni

Bagno Vignoni is a town situated on a hill above Val d'Orcia in Tuscany, Italy. It is a popular tourist destination and well known for its hot springs.The ancient village of Bagno Vignoni is located in the heart of Tuscany, in the Val d'Orcia Natural Park. Thanks to the Via Francigena (which was the main route followed by pilgrims in antiquity who went to Rome), these thermal waters were found and have been used since Roman times. At the heart of the village is the "Square of sources", namely a rectangular tank, of 16th-century origin, which contains the original source of water that comes from the underground aquifer of volcanic origins. More info on Around Tuscany

Bellorcia 25 mins
Casa Ombuto 2:00 mins
Torre del Tartufo 1:35 mins

Castiglion Fiorentino

Castiglion Fiorentino is situated on a lofty hill (345 meters above sea level) offering a splendid view of Val di Chiana and the foothills of the Appennine mountains with its many olive trees. The town’s historical center offers the visitors ancient structures such as the church of Saint Angelo, the church of Saint Francesco and the Palazzo Pretorio. In the town’s Pinocoteca, there are many famous paintings of noted artists as well as numerous prestigious gold artifacts.
Look at Castiglion fiorentino.ar.it for more info.
 
Bellorcia: 50 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:15 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 45 mins.

Cetona

Cetona is a well-preserved mediaeval town located the in Val di Chiana in the south-east of Tuscany, in the province of Sienna. It surrounds a hill where the rocca (fortress), containing a square tower (ca 900 AD) and an inner fortress wall. This rocca became known as the Scitonia castle. In the 1300s, possession of Cetona frequently changed hands between Siena and Orvieto, and after a brief period under Perugia, it was annexed by Siena. Cetona was elected a I Borghi piu belli d'Italia.

Bellorcia: 15 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:40 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 1:15 mins.

Cortona

Etruscan Cortona is a charming medieval hill town with splendid views and ancient walls ringed with olives and vineyards. This is a delightful peaceful little town where Francis Mayes set her best seller ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. You can visit the historical centre with medieval streets, beautiful churches and one of the two fine museums, the Diocesan rich in Early Renaissance paintings or the Etruscan Academy with archeological collections.
See also Cortona.com and Discovertuscany.com


Bellorcia: 45 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:30 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:05 mins.

Florence

Discover the art, architecture and the history of Florence. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the harmonious Dome by Brunelleschi, the Giotto’s Bell Tower next to the cathedral and the Romanesque Baptistery. Walk to Piazza Signoria and admire the Palazzo Vecchio. A few steps from Piazza Signoria are the Ponte Vecchio, a famous 14th century bridge lined with gold and silversmith shops. Visit Uffizi, one of the world’s leading art galleries with paintings by Giotto, Beato Angelico, Masaccio, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Reffaelo e Tiziano. Another worthwhile visit is the Academy Gallery, famous for the collection of Michelangelo’s statues; above all the David considered his masterpiece. For both museums we suggest you book tickets in advance at www.firencemusei.it. End with a visit to Santa Croce Church. The vast interior hosts the celebrated tombs of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, Rossini, etc.
Don’t forget to reserve time to do some shopping. Florence is a great place for beautiful shoes, bags and other Italian designer items and high quality leather goods. Some more info see Visitflorence.com and Italyguides.it
 
Bellorcia: 1:25 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:15 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:15 mins.

Gargonza

The Gargonza Castle, splendid testimony of a Tuscan fortified agricultural suburb, with its tower, the considerable remains of its walls, a gate of the 13th century, its Roman church of the 14th century endowed with a bell tower with mullioned windows, its civil medieval buildings leaned out on its narrow alleys, is situated on a hill with a view of the Chiana Valley. Today it is one of the better-preserved strengthened complexes of the whole Aretine territory.
Abctuscany.com


Bellorcia: 45 mins
Casa Ombuto: 1:20 mins..
Torre del Tartufo 55 mins.

Greve in Chianti

It developed predominantly as a market town, with a large market being held in the unusual triangular piazza lined with porticoes, which is always busy and lively. The parish church of the town, dedicated to the Santa Croce, contains a tych by Bicci di Lorenzo. The Museo di Arte Sacra has very recently been opened in the former convent of San Francesco; it houses an important collection of paintings, sculptures, vestments and liturgical furnishing, a tangible sign of the artistic vitality of the local district. Chianti.com

Bellorcia: 1:30 mins
Casa Ombuto: 1:30 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:20 mins.

Impruneta

Impruneta is world-famous for manufacturing terracotta. The clay in the soil has been used for centuries to produce terracotta. The surrounding rolling and tranquil hillsides have been inhabited since Etruscan times. Impruneta.com


Bellorcia: 1:20 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:20 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:15 mins.

Lucignano

This small Tuscan town with its elliptic shape, which has remained intact over the centuries, is one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval town planning. The Church of San Francesco, in the centre of the town, was built in 1248 and has a typically Franciscan ‘granaio’ (barn) façade. Inside there are several 14th century frescoes. The Civic Museum is inside the Town Hall and has several paintings by Signorelli and the famous Golden Tree (or Tree of Lucignano). Visit Seeyouintuscany.com for more info.


Bellorcia: 40 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:20 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 55 mins.

Montecatini Terme

Montecatini Terme, known for its thermal waters, is one of Italy's top spa towns. It has several historic spas and spas with modern equipment for beauty and wellness treatments. Terme Tettuccio is a lavish classic spa with music performances daily during the season, worth a visit just to see the Liberty style architecture. The town itself is pleasant and relaxed and makes a good base for visiting central Tuscany. A historic funicular railway (shown in the photo) takes visitors up the hill to the old town of Montecatini Alto.

Bellorcia: 1:40 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:35 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:30 mins.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a walled city in Tuscany, built on a sloping and narrow limestone ridge. Montepulciano, known for the wine called Vino Nobile, has one of the most impressive main squares in Tuscany and has many beautiful Renaissance buildings. Nearby is Montalcino, known for its great wine, with a castle at the edge of the town that has wine tasting.

Bellorcia: 25 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:30 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 1:05  mins.

Pienza

Pienza, designed to be the ideal city, is a pretty Renaissance town in the Val D'Orcia of Tuscany. Pienza is famous for its pecorino cheese, Piccolomini Palace, and balcony overlooking the beautiful Val D'Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bellorcia: 35 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:40 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 1:10 mins.

Poppi

Poppi is placed at the centre of Casentino. The medieval village of Poppi is a rare ‘walled city’. With constant restorations over the centuries, the castle of Poppi is currently in excellent condition. Inside the Library ‘Rilliana’ are hundreds of medieval manuscripts and incunabula. Another element of absolute importance is the Chapel of accounts with a 14th century cycle of frescoes attributed to Taddeo Gaddi, a pupil of Giotto. The visit may end with an invigorating stroll along the medieval walls from which one can admire the landscape around the most typical Tuscan countryside. For more info look at Poppi.ar.it and Parks.it. 10 mins from Casa Ombuto. Poppi has been elected as a "Borghi piu Belli d'Italia"
 
Bellorcia: 1:30 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 10 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 45 mins.

Radda in Chianti

Located in the heart of the Chianti hills, Radda has maintained its charm and it’s a delightful village to walk around and shop. Be sure to have a small snack or glass of wine on the square and visit the wine shop of Colle Boreto next door. Just outside the village, in the Vignale farm, is the headquarters of the Chianti Classico consortium (its symbol is the black-cockerel, the former emblem of the League of Chianti). Radda.org


Bellorcia: 1;25 mins
Casa Ombuto: 1:45 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:15 mins.

Rapale

Rapale has a typical medieval castle, with a round tower; an ancient gate and stretches of walls, some of which have been merged with the houses. Just after entering through the ancient gate, you will find, on the right, the small church of San Miniato. Rapale.com
 
Bellorcia: 55 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:30 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:05 mins.

San Casciano dei Bagni

Situated on the southern limit of the province of Siena, San Casciano dei Bagni is renown for its abundant sources of thermal waters. The thermal basin consists of 42 springs, widely spread all over the territory. Although the Etruscans first discovered these exceptional waters, the thermal area was further developed by the Romans. San Casciano dei Bagni has been elected by I Borghi piu Belli d'Italia.

Bellorcia: 19 mins
Casa Ombuto: 1:50 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 1:25 mins.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano, known as the City of Beautiful Towers, is a classic medieval walled hill town in Tuscany, famous for its 14 surviving medieval towers creating a beautiful skyline visible from the surrounding countryside.


Bellorcia: 1:40 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:55 mins.
Torre del Tartufo: 1:50 mins.

Siena

Start the tour of Siena with a visit to the San Domenico Church, 13th – 15th century Gothic conventual church, then to Palazzo Salimbeni then onto the city’s focus since the 14th century and main square where the horserace ‘The Palio is held twice a year. If you have time also visit the Duomo, one of the loveliest creations of Italian Romanesque-Gothic art, and the Piccolomini Library, a Renaissance building with antique original books and beautiful frescoes all around the walls. The Historic Center has now been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, and it’s worth spending a day in this incomparable old-fashioned town. The restaurants on the square are great for the view, but the side streets of the square are better for the food and prices! Aboutsiena.com and Siena.info


Bellorcia: 60 mins.
Casa Ombuto: 1:55 mins.
Torre del Tartufo 1:30 mins.

You have enough free time during your cooking holidays to visit these wonderful towns and cities. Find out more information about our Cookery Course Programs or check  the available dates for your cooking holidays in Italy.