Legends of TuscanyIntroductionTuscany is a beautiful region located in the center of Italy. Tuscany is worldwide known for its charismatic beauty. It is famous for its fascinating and enchanting landscapes that present a charming view of its rolling hills covered with olive groves, striking cobblestone streets and picturesque fields of sunflower.
Tuscany has become the dream destination for every tourist for its rich history, dazzling art, scrumptious wine, delicious food and worth seeing places like quaint castles, historical buildings, museums, fortresses, watch-towers, town walls, nature parks, cathedrals, ancient ruins and lovely towns like Florence, Siena and Pisa etc.
The charming beauty of the region catch the attention of visitors and people from around the world come to see these legends of Tuscany.The combine efforts of human beings and nature can be seen in the landscapes, nature parks, and mountains as well as in the well preserved historical buildings of the region. The human intelligence has worked with the nature at several places in the region.
In the vineyards the rows of baby green vines are arranged in a manner that they march in arrow-straight direction and form the gently rolling hillsides. The sandy roads are snaking, the farm houses are coated with rust color, the castles are moss-coated and the hilltops surrounding the towns are given the look of a single building. All these attributed make Tuscany a nature and human blessed land of the world.There are so many interesting and attention-grabbing places in Tuscany and our discussion about the legends of Tuscany will be focused on its important destinations and Towns, Castles, Ruins, Nature Parks, Museums, and other worth seeing places of Tuscany.
Legends Located in Different Towns of TuscanyIn Tuscany, there are some very beautiful provinces and towns each of which has its own uniqueness and individuality. Each of the town is famous for the legends present there. These towns are Arezzo, Chianti, Florence, Isola d’Elba, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, Pisa, Pitigliano, Porto Ercole and Siena. Following are the important legends of Tuscany in respect with their locations in different towns and provinces.
Leaning Tower of PisaPica is located in the west of Florence along with the “Arno River”. The nature has blessed the town with grassy green lawns. Pica is very famous for its 10m high “The Campanile – the leaning tower” but it is not the only inclining building of Pica”, there are many other building also present in the city which are leaning at various angles. The city center of Pica covered a large area and is located around the Piazzo del Duomo which is also known as Field of Miracles.
Other important and attention gaining buildings of Pace are its museums, cathedral, bakeries and leaning towers like “Duomo”, “Baptistery”, and cloistered courtyard cemetery “Camposanto”. (Laura Raison, 1994) The leaning tower became the main reason for the Pisa’s fame. Its construction was begun in the year 1174 and it was completed in 1350. Several problems arise during its construction that’s why it took such a long time to complete.
In the construction of the tower horizontal marble stripe motif were used which are commonly used in many of the Roman cathedrals. (Travel Destinations: Pisa, Tuscany, Italy)Mountains of Massa Carrara“The province of Massa Carrara shares the border with La Spezia, Parma, Reggio Emilia and Lucca provinces. It also possesses the coastal area of Tyrrhenian Sea”. The climate of this area is very pleasant and the industrialization in the region makes it one of the most popular destinations of Tuscany.
It is well known for its plethora of marble caves. There are many museums, castles, archeological sites, rustic chapels and nature parks in Massa Carrara. However from the era of Romans, the fame of this province is mostly due to its mountains which are the main source of getting marbles from the era of Romans. It is the largest producer and exporter of Marble in the world.
Various types of marbles are extracted from the mountains which include “”Statuario” (an extremely white-colored marble), Bardiglio” (a blue marble), “Paonazzo” (a multicolored marble), “il Fior di Pesco” (means “peach tree flower”), and “il Cipollino” (means “little onion”)”. (Dana Facaros and Michael Paul, 1996)Town walls of BuonconventoThe town of Buoncovento is situated between Siena, Val d’Orcia and the hills of Montalcino. Due to its strategic position the town has become an important rural center of Tuscany. The town is located at the point where the two important rivers Arbia and Ombrone are join together.
The town was conquered during the war in 1313 and the defender of the Ghibellineemperor Enrich VII of Luxembourg died in this town who was thought to be the last hope for the reconquest of Italy. The great walls of the town are still visible which were built from the bricks in 1371. The north gate in the wall which is also known as the Senese Gate is also in good condition. Many towers are also present in the townCathedral, Churches and Meuseams of ArezzoArezzo is a beautiful town of Tuscany which is located on a hill tat is close Appennino Tosco-Romagnolo.
The town gives a look of any ancient town rather than any Italian city because all of its construction is inspired by ancient Etruscan towns. The Gothic cathedral and the Medici Fortress are located in the upper part of the town. “The towers in the town reflect both Gothic and Renaissance architecture, these include “Renaissance Loggiato Vasariano”, the “Palazzo delle Fraternita dei Laici” and the “apse of the Pieve di Santa Maria”. There are many notable and ancient churches in the Arezzo town including “Badia delle Sante Flora e Lucilla”, the church of “La Santissima Annunziata”, “the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie”, “the Romanesque Pieve di Sant’Eugenia al Bagnoro” “Palazzo Pretorio” and “Palazzo dei Priori”.
The museums in the town also attract the attention of the visitors by offering remarkable art work. The museums present in this town are “Museo Archeologico Gaio Cilnio Mecenate”, the “Museo Statale d’Arte Medievale e Moderna”, the “Museo and Casa Vasari”, the “Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi” and the “Museo Diocesano””. (Macmillan Travel, 1994)Bridges and Longest Dome in FlorenceFlorence is one of major metropolitan city of Tuscany. The charisma of Florence attracts many tourist and people recognize the importance of this town in respect of its architect, art, political background and commercial value.
Florence was the capital of Italy till 1875 and even after then it possesses notable importance in the region. There are five bridges which are stretched across the city and provide the visitors many convenient ways for traveling in the regions. Florence has deep roots in history. About 200 BC, it was founded as a colony of Etruscan city of Fiesole after some years it was given the name of Roman Florentia and it was supposed to act as a garrison town controlling the Via Flaminia.
In the 14th century the Medici family take the city under their control and took several steps to improve the financial, and political situation of the city. Florence was badly destroyed in the Second World War due to German bombings but by the virtue of modern technologies and advance restoration methods, the city retain its artistic beauty and historical importance. There are many worth seeing places in Florence including “Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore” which possess the world’s third longest dome “Brunelleschi” which took hundreds of years to construct. Other important places are museums like “Michelangelo Academia”, bridges like “Piazza della Signoria”, the “Palazzo Vecchio”, and the “Ponte Vecchio”.
“Ponte Vecchio” which means “old bridge” is one of the important bridge of the town in fact this bridge has added to the fame of the Florence. The bridge was built in 1345 and replaced a demolished bridge. At present the bridge has became a symbol of the city and it is well known for its shopping stores and outdoor stalls. (Dana Facaros and Michael Paul, 1996)Walls of LuccaLucca is also one of the charming metropolises of Tuscany.
Lucca is walled city that is smacked in the middle of a torrent of Tuscan splendor. The city was founded in the Palaeolithic period and the area was under control of Ligurians, Romans and Etruscans during 3rd century BC. The city became a Latin colony in 180 B.C and acquired great importance.
It also remained the capital of Longobard reign in the 9th century A.D. after facing many political ups and downs finally in 1847; the city joined the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and ultimately become a part of the Kingdom of Italy. In the center of Lucca Piazza Napoleone is situated which is the center for town’s administration, housing government offices and place for the gathering of tourists and locals.
The cathedral “Duomo di San Martino” is also located in this town which is famous for the work of a well known sculptor Matteo Civitali. It is also the birth place of famous composer Giacomo Puccini. The well constructed walls surrounding the city also catch the attention of people. The ruins of the church “Chiesa di San Giovanni” are also preserved in this town.
Finest wines of MontepulcianoAnother lovely hill town of Tuscany – Montepulciano that is made from the pyramids of red brick building. Three expert designs Sangallo il Vecchio, Vignola, and Michelozzo show best piece of work of Renaissance architecture in this town. There are many historical churches and palaces in this town. Two famous and finest wines of Italy “Brunelli di Montalcino” and “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano” are also originated from here.
In the center of the town, its showcase Piazza Grande is located where exceptional festivals of art, music, and theater are arranged every year.Natural beauty of ChiantiChianti is the district of Tuscany from where Italy’s most famed wines are originated. The land of Chianti is blessed with lush forested landscapes and fragrant gardens. There are many hills, valleys, castles, sunflower fields, vagrant vineyards and sunlit olive groves in this part of Tuscany.
Chianti is a great source of culture, nature, architecture, history, gastronomy and wines in the region. It is located in between two traditional rival-cities of Siena and Florence. Chianti is divided in to two parts; Chianti Fiorentino and Chianti Senese. It is a DOCG area of Italy which means “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita”, i.
e. “Checked and Guaranteed Origin Name”. There are seven sub zones of Chianti which are Chianti Classico, Chianti Aretini, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Colline Pisane, Chianti Montalbano, and Chianti Ruffina. (Laura Raison, 1994)Ruins and Walls of Monterotondo MarittimoAnother unique and beautiful town of Tuscany Monterotondo Marittimo, whose name was derived from “Mons Ritundus”.
It is located on a hill and almost a cone shaped destination. The town is rich in copper and silver veins and remained the center for political and economical activities for many years. The town was destroyed several times during the wars. In the year 1554 it was destroyed by the troops of Medici which were are allies of Spain and Austria against Siena.
As a result of this disaster attach the population of the town was reduced to very few people. The fortress and castles present in the town were left as only ruins. At present there are only few evidences that witness the presence of a fortified medieval complex in the past. There was a fortress in the town which was located on the top most part of the hill.
The fortress was built up with aligned pieces of rocks and a keep was also placed in that. Now only few things are remaining that reminds of the town like a guard tower, a cistern for collecting water, and a serried of minor buildings and a surrounding wall for the refuge of its inhabitants. (Dana Facaros and Michael Paul, 1996) The ruins of the town are now part of a public park. The archeological research on behalf of the University of Siena is also going on these ruins.
Unique Geography of Montepulciano – PienzaPienza is located near Siena and this town is best known for its panoramic location on the hills of Val d’Orcia. The town possesses the rare and precious work of Renaissance architecture. It was originated in the 15th century and there are many historical places in the town. The Romanesque parish church “Pieve di Corsignano” is also located here which is well decorated with the mythological and fantastical theme-work.
Another historical site and model of medieval architect is the ancient castle of “Monticchiello”. From the tourist point of view, Pienza is very important destination because of its geographical position, architectural monuments and delicious and mouthwatering Italian cuisine. The tasteful wine, sheep cheese, and “Fettunta con pecorino ed olio tartufato” (a slice of toasted bread prepared with cheese and oil) are the specialties of this town. (Derek Wilson, 1994)Towers and Italian Cuisine in SienaSiena is located in the center of Tuscany.
The geographical position of the town is quite distinctive. The center of the city is set high on a hill and is closed to most traffic. Due to minimum traffic the sloping narrow streets are ideal walking and rambling. Siena is also famous for the food items available here.
Rich pastries like “panforte” and “ricciarelli”, distinctive salt-less bread and “pici” (spaghetti-like pasta) are the specialties of this city. Siena was founded in the thirteenth century as one of Europe’s most sophisticated metropolises. In the city a colorful festival “Paloi” is arranged every year which delight the visitors through its enchanting music and other interesting activities. In the city there is are many important medieval buildings like “Palazzo Pubblico”, high clock tower “the Torre del Mangia” and ruins like “Ospedale di S.
Maria della Scala”, the “Pinacoteca Nazionale”, and the “Santuario di Santa Caterina”. In the outer part of city central “Piazza del Campo” is located which a shell-shaped brick square building specially designed for arranging different civic events.The Paranormals of TuscanyThrough out the history the paranormals draw the attention and curiosity of people but nothing is reasonably proved about them. In the region of Tuscany there are many paranormals that attract the people like Devil’s Bridge, Stone Tree in Florence, Siena’s legendry sword, and Bishop that howls to the moon.
Description about some paranormal legends of Tuscany is as follow:A Stone Tree in FlorenceThe town of Florence is famous for its spectacular array of architecture and gardens but this town also possesses a unique stone tree which is standing “right next to the much more famous Duomo, which is topped by the Brunelleschi’s spectacular pointed cupola, just a few steps from the Northern door of the Baptistery which was realized by Ghiberti and overtopped by Giovan Francesco Rustici’s bronze sculpture representing the Baptist preaching.” The unique tree is made up of wrought iron representing San Zanobi’s elm who greatly admired the people of Florence and after the contraction of a cathedral Santa Reparata, his inhumed body was moved here. When the people were shifting the body of San Zanobi they witnessed that “the casket containing the body of the saint was pushed against by the crowd of fanatical followers from every side, so much so that it went to hit the bark of an elm tree which was completely bare due to the winter season. Miraculously, as the casket approached the tree it suddenly became covered with leaves and flowers.
A few years later, the miraculous tree died. In 431, the Florentines placed a marble column in the place where the tree had been which was destroyed by the flood of the Arno and was replaced by the column we see today in 1333” (Harold Donaldson Eberlein, 1992) The tree is decorated with flowers every year on 26th January in the memory of the miraculous event.San Galgano and Siena’s Legendary Sword in the StoneAnother miraculous tail of Tuscany is the Siena’s legendary sword which is kept so deeply in to a stone that it really became impossible to extract the sword from the stone. This medieval sword is placed in a church which was built by San Galgano.
The church is decorated with lots of mysterious symbols related to solar calendar. The church is full of many mysterious pieces that catch the attention of visitors, like the remains of a “blackened, chewed arm which, legend has it, belonged to a would-be assassin who, sent by the devil, was killed by wolves who lived with San Galgano during the final years of his life which he chose to live out as a hermit.” (Michelin et cie, 1996)Castle and Bishop Howls at the moonThe Crevola Castle is standing in the south of Siena near Murlo. It was an important castle of the past that possessed roman architecture but at present there are only ruins of fortifications that tell about the castle history.
The castle was under the possession of Bishop of Siena who took great care of this castle. Specially the Bishop Donosdeo (or Donosdei) Malavolti contributed a lot the enlargement of castle. The castle was partly destroyed by the Ghibellines in 1380s but after the downfall of Siennese Republic, the castle was completely destroyed in 1554. The Bishop Donosdeo Malavolti awoke from his eternal sleep and exerted the soldiers from the ruins.
But the destruction was very painful fort the Bishop as he greatly contributed for its expansion. The Bishop could not find peace after the destruction of the castle and from that day the sprit of the Bishop could be seen in the nights of full moon, mourning in the ruins of castle, plying the cross, howling at the moon and repeating his curse at the top of his voice. Some people also argue that in the ruins of the castle there may be something precious kept by the Bishop and he want to draw the people attention towards it so that some body find it and bring to light.Strozzavolpe Castle tells Ghost StoryThe castle of Strozzavolpe is famous for its gloomy tales.
There are countless ghost present here who have haunted the walls of the castle. It is stated that a sprit of a wild animal is present in the castle who circle the castle at night. When the castle was under construction, a ferocious wolf was presented to the nobleman Bonifacio. The wolf was so horrifying that the builders and all the surrounded become got scared with it.
Due to this fear Bonifacio decided to stangle the wolf with ropes. The physical remainings of the beast were buried in the castle that’s why the spirit of the wolf is present there. There are some other ghosts present as well and they are the spirits of some people who were murdered in this castle. The castle also possesses a mystery of some hidden treasures.
During the renovation of the castle in 1870s some people working there founded a map which was kept in a terracotta jar. It was too old that nobody succeed to read and find the treasure.Veronica Cybo – Passionate Women and A GhostVeronica Cybo belonged to a famous and strong family of North West Tuscany. She was the daughter of a duke and was very proud and arrogant.
When she found that her husband Jacopo Salviati was in love affair with a young lady Caterina Brogi, she got mad. She stated irritating the young lady through her words the he engaged two hit men for killing the lady. Catrina was literally chopped by the killers, the body was flushed. Veronica Cybo kept the face of lady with her and on the other day he presented a gift to her husband on New Year’s Eve.
The head of Catrina was placed under the gift item. The Duke punished the killers and Veronica was exiled to San Cerbone Villa where she turned herself into a personality very close to religion. Her husband reconciled and stated living with her. Her tomb is located in the Duomo of Massa which is a worship place.
People feel her presence her presence in the Villa of San Cerbone. People have witnessed that her spirit is present at that place, she also chatted with some people and some other evidence also proved her presence in the villa which has become a hospital now.Saints Originated from the Region of TuscanyThe region of Tuscany also has the honor of giving birth many saints like St Margaret of Cortona, St. Zita, St.
Saint Gemma Galgani and others. Following is the description about some of the saints that were born in this region.St. Margaret of CortonaSaint Cortona was born in the year 1247 in Laviano, Tuscany and she was died on 22nd February, 1297.
“She is patron saint of the falsely accused; hoboes; homeless; insane; orphaned; mentally ill; midwives; penitents; reformed prostitutes; third children; tramps” (Saints Portal). Her mother passed away when she was just seven year old. His father married again but she got little love and affection from her step mother. She was passing depressed life and after some year she met the son of “Gugliemo di Pecora”, who was the lord of Valiano.
They ran away and stated together at Montepulciano. They also got a son; they lived together for almost ten years didn’t marry. After ten year she took her son, left the home and started living at the church of San Francesco. She changed her lifestyle and stared keeping fasts and avoiding meat.
She used to ate only vegetables and bread. After spending three years with this changed life style she joined the “Third Order of St. Francis”. She got herself busy in doing social work for the sick, homeless people and nurses.
She contributed towards the foundation of a hospital in the city of Cortona, where the needy people get help and support. She also established a “le poverelle – a congregation of Tertiary Sisters” in order to give protection to the nurses of the hospital. She also participated oin the public affairs for many time for example, she challenged twice the “Bishop of Arezzo,Guglielmo Ubertini Pazzi” pointing out his lavish life style. In her lastdays she moved towards the ruined church of St.
Basil where she was buried after death. After her death she was also honored by rebuilding of the church. She was canonized on 16th May, 1728.Saint TitoHe was born in the year 1536 in the region of Borgo San Sepolcro, Tuscany.
He was a painter and worked in Rome on “frescoes in Palazzo Salviati and the Sala Grande of the Belvedere (Homage of the People) alongside Giovanni de’ Vecchi and Niccolò Circignani from 1558 to 1564 and acquired a classical trait, described as Raphaelesque by S.J. Freedburg. This style contrasted with the reigning ornate Roman painterliness of the Federico and Taddeo Zuccari or their Florentine equivalents: Vasari, Alessandro Allori, and Bronzino.
. (Freedberg, Sydney J., 1993). In the year 1564 he returned to Florence and joined the “Accademia Del Disegno”.
The masterpiece “Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas”, which is also known as “Saint Thomas Dedicating His Works to Christ” reflected his mature style in which he expressed the lost gesture of theoretical minds.Saint Zitat. Zita was born in the year 1218 in the village of Monsagrati, Tuscany. She become a part of domestic services and stated serving the in the city of Lucca.
She was just 12 years old at that time and remained with this family till her death in 1272. The Fatinelli family was very devoted towards the religion and they also taught her about the wonders of God and angels. She didn’t founded any monastic order, but instead became, with the Irishman, St Frediano, the major patron of a major Italian city, Lucca. Both outsiders came to be revered, through their lives teaching Christ in the midst of the city.
Indeed, the second is buried in the church of the first, and on her feast day all Lucca comes to the glass coffin laying sweet smelling blessed narcissi upon it, then carry these bouquets with their fragrance wherever they go in a city filled that day with flowers in her honor.” (Francesca Alexander) she was died in the age of 60 and it is said that a star appeared above the attic where she slept at the moment of her death. (Butler, Rev. Alban, 1864) After the death she was buried in “Church of St.
Frediano” where a cult was developed around her tomb to honor her. “She was venerated in other countries, including England – under the name of Sitha; some wall and screen paintings and stained glass representations of her have survived the Reformation – and was particularly invoked by housewives and servants when they lost sets of keys”. (Sacred heart parish)Saint Gemma GalganiSaint Gemma Galgani was born in the year 1878 in Tuscany. She suffered from tuberculosis of spine in her early age.
She was a quiet and unexcitable girl who nevertheless was endowed with a remarkably fervent religious disposition (Calendar of Saints) she wanted to become a nun but due to her illness she failed to do so. She also got the stigma on her hands and feet in 1899. She got some very painful wounds on her body. “In addition to the stigmata, Gemma was a victim of assaults by the devil, as was the well-known stigmatist Padre Pio and the Cure d’Ars.
In each case there were competent witnesses. In the cases of both men, these witnesses reported hearing struggles in the night from the cell occupied by Padre Pio or from the room to which the Cure retired. Both men would thereafter appear in the morning with bruises such as those sustained from a physical contest with someone.” (Ivan Innerst, Saints for Today) she was died on 11t Arpil 1903, after very long and painful illness.
She was canonized in 1940. The Congregation of Rites points only to her ‘heroic virtues’ in proclaiming her to be a saint. The Church has always been cautious in such matters, choosing not to rush in where she cannot clearly see the way, as in this case, where there is no substantial store of evidence to certify that the stigmata were of a supernatural origin. Some scholars have judged the appearance of the wounds to be the result of an emotional state experienced by the stigmatic.
Others remain mystified by the phenomenon. (Jim Fritz, Modern DaySaints)Ancient Castles in TuscanyThere are many legendry castles in the region of Tuscany, spread across its towns and villas. Following is the description about some important villas present in Tuscany.Cafaggiolo CastleThe Cafaggiolo Castle is positioned at a distance of 25 Km north from the town of Florence, in the middle of Mugello.
Mugello is the area which is related with the Medici family from its beginning. The castle was built in the 14th century as a symbol of Florentine Republic’s reinforcement. In the year 1443, world famous architect “Michelozzo” was given the task of transforming the castle into a residential building. The castle undergoes many structural changes for this purpose; the ditch, drawbridge and the external curtain wall of the castle were demolished.
However the castle was still the great masterpiece of the renaissance architecture.The Medici family spends many years in this castle; they arrange dance parties and other functions in the wide halls of the castle. Many important and famous personalities also visited this castle after the expansion of Medici family in 1737. Lorena and Asburgo were the next owners of this castle.
In the year 1864 Italian government sold the castle to the Borghese family, who made many changes in the structure of the castle. The present look of castle is result of their modifications. The castle is a private property nowadays and its halls are use for arranging wedding programs and other festivals.Bastia CastleThe Bastia Castle is standing in the center of the Bastia.
The geographical position of the castle is very strategic and it was used as crossing of road that links the region Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. The castle is now days a public property and is in well preserved form. The castle is build up in a thick square form; there are four round towers at each angle of the castle. The castle can be viewed only from the out side.
The walls made up of stones are very tough and strong. There are certain openings in the walls of castle which assist the soldiers during the war and act as curtain walls by allowing them to fire upon the enemies while defending themselves. There are also several loopholes and gun holes in the wall, which were used to place the weapons inside. There have been some modifications in the construction of the castle.
The keep that was placed high from the ground has been replaced by the stairs made up on stones but the arcs under the stairs are still visible and remind people about the original design of castle. There is a primitive door in the castle which is a unique way to enter in the inner court.Crevole CastleThe castle of Crevelo is situated in the territory of the town of Murlo. During the medieval period this castle was used to defend the Bishop of the nearby powerful city of Siena.
There is not enough information about the origin of this castle however its historical roots have been connected with the nearby town of Vescovado. The name of town is derived from the Italian word “Vescovo”, means bishop. During the wars this castle was destroyed many times and was also reconstructed by the bishop Malavolti but during the war of Siena, the soldiers demolished the castle and its original structure was totally lost. The castle was surrounded by double curtain walls and many towers were also present in its original form but at present only one tower is visible at the top most point of castle.
The keep and other parts of the original castle are also not visible now. Now the castle belongs to an agri-touristic estate. (Derek Wilson, 1994)Some Interesting Bridges in TuscanyThere are some very important bridges in Tuscany that adds to the beauty of the region. Introduction to some of these bridges is as follow.
Maddalena’s BridgeThis bridge is also known as the ‘Devil’s Bridge’. The bridge connects the two banks of Serchio River. It was constructed during the period of 1046 to 115 in the era of the Countess Matilde di Canossa who had gain great influence and power in this part of Tuscany. The castle was reconstructed during 1281to1328 by Castruccio Castracani, who was the Sir of the towns near to Lucca.
The castle was constructed with very distinctive design. It was the highest frequency bridge of Tuscany due to its asymmetric arches and for this classical feature it was given the name of “donkey back”. The construction reflects the medieval architecture. The bridge has also given the name of Devil Bridge because of the strange story behind its construction.
The construction of the bridge was started by a master mason but after some time he realized that it would be difficult for him to complete the work within the estimated time. He was feared by facing the possible consequences for not completing the work in time, so he called for the help from the devil. His request was accepted by the devil and the bridgewas constructed in just one night. According to the religious concept the builder crossed the bridge for the first time on a pig and defeated the devil.
Devil was then disappeared in the deepness of the river according to their philosophy. (Laura Raison, 1994)Rocca Cerbaia BridgeThe rocca Cerbaia Bridge is built on the Bisenzio River of the relief crowned by the mighty Rocca Cerbaia. It is an ancient master piece of medieval architecture. There are three arches of the bridge and five arms which are about 2.
3 meters wide. There is no information about its time of construction but the historians believe that it will be constructed in the middle age because the structure of the bridge and the material used in it is almost same as other buildings of this zone. The historians also believed that the bridge would be constructed before the rise of Rocca. The bridge of Cerbaia was just a timber structure or a ford in the 10th to 12th century but in the end of thirteenth century it was constructed as a bridge.
It also possesses great historical importance as the bridge has witnessed the signing of an agreement between Florentine Republic and the Counts Alberti, owners of the Rocca in the year 1314. According to the agreement a road was constructed to connect the Bologna with the new passage on the Bisenzio River.Pia’s BridgeThe Pia Bridge is located near the ‘Hermitage of Rosia’ and the Montarrenti castle and its construction reflects the medieval architecture. The bridge possessed great significance in the Middle age because it was the most important point of the ancient ‘Massetana’ road that connected Siena with Massa Marittima and the mines of the Metaliffere Hills.
The bridge was first constructed in the thirteenth century and then it was reconstructed in the sixteenth century. It is still available for crossing but people can go through the bridge only by foot, it also lacks the parapets now.Castruccio’s BridgeThe Castruccio Bridge is also known as Campanelle Bridge. The famous captain of venture and Sir of Lucca, Castruccio Castracani constructed this bridge during 1281 to 1328 in order to cross the Lima River, while marking border between Lucca and Pistoia.
The bridge was constructed with the help of unique fluvial rubbles and various other stones. There were two buildings called ‘le due dogane’ (the two custom houses) located at the left side of the Lima River and these building control the flow of traffics of goods and people between the towns of Lucca and Pistoia. The bridge is constructed in such a way that while crossing it, the visitor can discover all the constructions of the ‘two custom houses’ and the visitor can enjoy the charming landscapes seen from the bridge. The technique used in the construction of the bridge is same to that of a bridge which is standing in the forest at a little distance from this bridge.
Ruins of Saints and Churches in TuscanyAnother legendry presentation of the region of Tuscany is the ruins of churches present here. Some of the important churches of the region are as followed.Monastery of S.Michele alla VerrucaAt a distance of hundred meters from the rocky spur and near to the Verruca Fortress, he ruins of the ancient monastery of S.
Michele alla Verruca raises are located at the top of the Mount Verruca Fortress. The ruins are still visible today and which were related to the Benedictine monastic complex which was founded near the church of S.Angelo in the end of the 10th century by the Marquise Ugo di Tuscia. In the twelve century the ownership of the church was transferred to the Camaldolesi then to the Cistercians who passed this to the Augustinians.
During the wars between the Pisans and Florentine army for capturing the Verruca Fortress, this church was greatly damaged and during the middle age a village was developed around the monastic complex which was visible till the end of nineteenth century. At present the structure of the church is demolished and only some parts of stone apse and some other signs of the building can be seen.S. Bruzio Parish ChurchThe ruins of Romanic church of S.
Tiburzio are also popular with the name of S.Bruzio. The rests of this church are present in the southern Tuscany near the Etruscan sepulchral area sited outside the town of Magliano. The ruins are surrounded by olive-groves.
The church was very impotent from the religious point if view. It was established in the thirteenth to fourteenth century. The church was meant to offer aid to people of local diocese. These people stated there a common life and gave birth to a kind of monastery.
At present only some parts of the church are visible including central Abside, two wings of the transept and the octagonal foundation of the Dome. The dome is not visible now however on the external sides of the church the fine work on the slender semi-columns waking up with hanging arcades can be seen. The construction of S.Bruzio remind the architecture of Lombard style of the northern Italy but some of its attribute also refer to the primordial Gothic style like the decorations of the walls, the column capitals and the lightness of its global form.
Some sculptures and other fine carved furnishings can be seen in the ruins of this church.Hermitage of RosiaThe ruins of the Hermitage of Rosia, also known as S.Lucy, are present along with the ancient Road Massetana near to the Pia’s Bridge. The church was used for reception of travelers and pilgrims who came from Siena to reach the Metalliferous Hills and the Maremma.
Today only some parts of the church are visible. The walls of the external perimeter are visible even today from where the building deduced one nave covered with vaults. The remaining parts of the church are dedicated to the Saints Antony and Lucy. There were large arches in the church from where the stone frames are removed but these arches are also damaged now.
Until few decades ago the building was used by the state as a farm house.San Galgano AbbeyThe abbey of Saint Galgano is situated in the Valley of Merse River in between the medieval villages of Chiusdino and Monticiano of Siena province. Its individuality lays in its unique construction plan. ‘The Rotunda of Saint Galgano’ along with the sword is enclosed beyond the tomb of saint.
“The first look of the church is similar to some ancient Etruscan tombs of Populonia, Vetulonia and Volterra. The architect of this dome was greatly influence by the Castel S.Angelo and the Pantheon of Rome. In the construction of the dome, white stones and bricks were used”.
The initial building of the hermitage was very small and it was getting difficult for the pilgrims to stay here.In the year 1218, the Bishop of Volterra insisted to expand its boundaries by constructing a new imposing Abbey. “The construction of the Abbey was done in classic gothic form and it was planned to place a Latin cross with three aisles, rich of carved capitals and rose-windows, cloister, halls, bell tower in the Abbey”. Till the year 1789 the great Abbey was collapsed and all of its construction work becomes just quarry of stones.
However the restoration and maintenance work was done there and as a result the ruins of Saint Galgano are among the most visited places of Tuscany. (San Galgano Abbey)The Museums of TuscanyThere are so many museums in different towns and velleys where the legends of Tuscany are kept and people across the world came to see these legends. Some important museums of Tuscany are as followed.Galleria dell’AccademiaThe Galleria dell’Accademia is situated in Florence.
The most famous statue of Michelangelo “David” is placed in this gallery. In the 1501 Cathedral Works Committee assigned Michelangelo to work on “David”. They gave him the marble blocks came from the Carrara Mountains. After transforming the marbles in to a tremendous statue, Michelangelo came back in the city.
He was honored with a house and studio for doing work for creating such masterpiece. The upper part of the statue is bigger than the lower part but that is not the manufacturing mistake. Michelangelo intentionally create this difference among the two parts of body, focusing the viewer’s vantage point. In the Galleria dell’Accademia some paintings and unfinished works of Michelangelo “Slaves” are also present.
Boboli GardensThe Boboli Gardens was the property of Pitti family later on it was passed to the Medicis and then to the Hapsburg-Lorraine family. The Boboli Gardens was handled in great way by all its owners who extend it with care and only best artists were allowed to work in this gallery. In the beginning artist “Niccolò Pericoli detto Tribolo” did the landscaping for this garden and after his death in 1555, Davide Fortini, Giorgio Vasari and Ammannati contributed their works and designed the courtyard. (Dana Facaros and Michael Paul, 1996)The statues of Bacchus and Ceres, marvelous work of Baccio Bandinelli were placed at the sides of main entrance until 1924.
Another important statue was the Michelangelo’s Prisoners. There was a space in the garden which was meant for the cultivation of citrus fruits and flowers. It was known as Vasca dell’Isola (Island Pond), suggested by Giulio Parigi. In the rule of Leopoldo II parts of this garden were destroyed in order to widen the way for the transportation of carriages.
Museo Dell’opifico delle pietre dureThe Grand Duke Ferdinando I established this museum in 1588. At present the current collection of the museum includes the works in pietra dura and polychrome marbles, works in scagliola (imitation marble), paintings on stone, oil paintings and work tools. A portrait that become the “Medicean coat of arms” which is a portrait of Cosimo I in pietra dura. The Annunciation fresco, which is placed at the top of the staircase, is also one of the important highlights of the museum, which is considered as a symbol of purity, obedience, and faith.
The Library Hall was designed by Michelozzo which is a marvelous sample of Renaissance interiors. The arcades of the hall are supported by the narrow pillars.Uffizi GalleryThere was a building in Florence that was used as the offices of magistrates, judges, technicians and merchants. The Medieval family allocated the top floor of this building for a private gallery.
In the gallery not only paintings were displayed but precious collection of statues, jewelry, scientific instruments and weapons was also displayed there. The gallery gain fame around the world and in 1865 it was transformed in to a museum. At present there are 50 rooms in the museum for the display of the paintings of thirteenth to 18th century. The paintings are arranged in chronological order that add to the beauty of painting.
Some important paintings placed in this museum are “Madonna enthroned” by Giotto, the “Battle of San Romano” by Paolo Uccello, the double portrait by Piero della Francesca, “Federico da Montefeltro”, the “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli”. In the museum there are three precious paintings by Leonardo, one painting by Michelangelo and also there is some work of Raffaello and Tiziano. (Derek Wilson, 1994)Nature parks in TuscanyTuscany is a nature blessed land and the human hands have added to the beauty of nature everywhere in the region. However the real natural beauty of the region could be seen in its nature parks.
Some legend nature parks of Tuscany are as followed.Parco Nazionale Arcipelago Toscano (National Archipelago Park)The National Archipelago Park of Tuscany is one of the most amazing and wonderful parks of the world. The park is enriched with natural resources of flora and fauna. The human work with sense of realizing the beauty of nature can be seen truly in this park.
There are seven islands in this legend park which are considered as seven gemstones. “The names of these seven islands are Elba, Giglio, Giannutri, Capraia, Pianosa, Gorgona, and Montecristo”. (Derek Wilson, 1994)The park is spread over the land area of eighteen thousand hectares and marine area of about sixteen thousand hectares. It is also the largest European Marine Park.
The park is not result of some year’s efforts of men or nature but after about four million year’s movements of sea and land, the present shape of the park is formed. It is a real thrilling park where people feel and enjoy the blessings of nature.San Rossore – Massaciuccoli Regional Park (The Park of the Leaning Tower)The San Rossore was established just few years ago. It is a peaceful destination full of natural beauty.
In the part one can hear the only sound of birds or animal. The park is built near the cities of Pisa and Livorno. Some beautiful species of animals are part of this park including buzzards, porcupines, red and green woodpeckers, herons, stilt-birds, curlews and woodcocks. The southern part of the park possesses an environment which is specially made up of marshes and ponds.
This place is known as “Natural Reserve of the Lame di Fuori” or “Lame”. Many birds that migrate from different areas come here to spend the winter season.Other places of InterestAlong with the above described town, castle and bridges there are certain other interesting places in Tuscany. Some of them are described below.
Avenza FortressThe name of Avenza Fortress is originated from the name of a river the ‘Flumen Aventia’. It is located at a distance of three kilometer from an ancient city Luni, which was the center of exporting marbles during the middle age. The importance of the fortress was increased when in the thirteenth century; it became part of the Vicariage of Carrara. The fortress was destructed and reconstructed several times however at present only a great tower of the fortress is visible.
The work of its rebuilding was done by Castruccio Castracani who also made some changes in the structure of fortress during the reconstruction process. The fortress became the punlic property after the unity of Italy and in the year 1883 German historian Theodor Momsen contributed greatly for saving the fortress from complete destruction. In 1859, a new road was opened that divide the fortress from the other parts of castle. After going through much alteration, the fortress is still present now days.
Some constructions that reminds of its original design are its gate going upstream to the village and the town walls.Bandinella TowerThe Bandinella Tower is standing near the Arno River bank, at the opposite side of the hill top just opposite to the the Incisa Castle which was contructed in the 11th century formerly known as ‘ Old Castle of Ancisa’, is situated. The Bandinella Tower is situated near the crossing point of two important ancient roads that link the towns of Arezzo and Florence. A valley was also built near to this tower.
Initially that was just a market but soon it was expanded and become a residential area. The tower also had very significant strategic for the town of Florence because it defended the important point of the Arno valley and also controlled many territories. In 1936 a new tower was built after the distortion of the original, which is a square shape tower possessing the machicolations and battlements. The tower is in good condition even today and it is still important for its geography.
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htm Accessed, April 28, 2007 Earthwork Out Of Tuscany. By Maurice Hewlett. Pg 8 Florentine Villas in the Fifteenth Century. By Amanda Lillie – 2005 Florence & Tuscany, by Laura Raison; Passport Books, 1994.
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Cite this Legends of Tuscany
Legends of Tuscany. (2017, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/legends-of-tuscany/