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Florence and surroundings

Places to go to complete your holiday in Florence

 

SIENA

Siena, located at the heart of Tuscany, is one of the most visited and most famous italian cities in the world, signed as Unesco World Heritage Site since 1995.
It rises on the hills bordered by the rivers Arbia and Elsa, in the geographical area marked by the hills of Chianti and Val di Chiana.
Famous for its cathedral and the Piazza del Campo each year hosts the famous Palio, which attracts the attention of tourists from all around the world.

SAN GIMIGNANO

San Gimignano was founded as a small village in the 3rd century BC by the Etruscans. Historical records begin in the 10th century, when it adopted the name of the bishop Saint Geminianus, who had defended it from Attila's Huns.
In the Middle Ages and Renaissance era, it was a stopping point for Catholic pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican, as it sits on the medieval Via Francigena. The city's development also was improved by the trade of agricultural products from the fertile neighbouring hills.
In 1199, during the period of its highest splendour, the city made itself independent from the bishops of Volterra. Divisions between Guelphs and Ghibellines troubled the inner life of the commune, which nonetheless, still managed to embellish itself with artworks and architectures.
Saint Fina, known also as Seraphina and Serafina, was a 13th century Italian saint born in San Gimignano during 1238. Since Saint Fina died on March 12, 1253 her feast day became March 12. Her major shrine is in San Gimignano and the house said to be her home still stands in the town.
On May 8, 1300, San Gimignano hosted Dante Alighieri in his role of ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany.
The city flourished until 1348, when the Black Death that affected all of Europe, compelled it to submit to Florence.
San Gimignano became a secondary centre until the 19th century, when its status as a touristic and artistic resort began to be recognised.

FIESOLE

Fiesole (Etruscan Viesul, Viśl) was probably founded in the 9th-8th century BC, as it was an important member of the Etruscan confederacy, as may be seen from the remains of its ancient walls.
The first recorded mention on the town dates to 283 BC, when the town, then known as Faesulae, was conquered by the Romans. In pagan antiquity it was the seat of a famous school of augurs, and every year twelve young men were sent thither from Rome to study the art of divination. Sulla colonized it with veterans, who afterwards, under the leadership of Gaius Mallius, supported the cause of Catilina.
Fiesole was the scene of Stilicho's great victory over the Germanic hordes of the Vandals and Suevi under Radagaisus in 406.[3] During the Gothic War (536-53) the town was several times besieged. In 539 Justinus, the Byzantine general, captured it and razed its fortifications.
It was an independent town for several centuries in the early Middle Ages, no less powerful than Florence in the valley below, and many wars arose between them; in 1010 and 1025 Fiesole was sacked by the Florentines, before it was conquered by Florence in 1125, and its leading families obliged to take up their residence in Florence.
By the 14th century, rich Florentines had countryside villas in Fiesole, and one of them is the setting of the frame narrative of the Decameron, also Boccaccio wrote the poem "Ninfale fiesolano". Robert Browning also mentions "sober pleasant Fiesole" several times in his poem, Andrea del Sarto.

GREVE IN CHIANTI

Greve in Chianti (the old name was Greve; in 1972 was renamed Greve in Chianti after the inclusion of that area in the Chianti wine district) is a town and comune (municipality) in the province of Florence, Tuscany, Italy. It is located c. 31 km south of Florence on A1 highway, and 42 km north of Siena.
Sitting in the Val di Greve, it is named for the small, fast-flowing river that runs through it, is the principal town in the Chianti wine district which stretches south of Florence to just north of Siena. Until recently it has been a quiet, almost bucolic town because it was, and still is, well off the main roads.
Even in ancient days Greve was not isolated because it was well-connected by secondary roads to the Via Volterrana and via Francigena. Nowadays, it is connected to the A1 superstrada between Florence and Rome and the main road between Florence and Siena. The old road network ensured easy access to Florence and to other places such as Figline where its tradesmen and farmers found ready markets for their goods and produce. The modern transportation network connects it to the world at large, enabling it to export great quantities of wine, and import vast quantities of tourists.