Lucca

Today we took a walking tour of Lucca and also visited 2 beautiful gardens. WALKING TOUR OF LUCCA: There are very tall brick and rock walls that completely surround Lucca except for about 12 gates. On the inside there is a road where you can walk or ride your bike completely around the city. This…

Villa Reale di Marlia

The Royal Villa is near Lucca, Italy and was built in the high medieval period and developed after 1651 when the Orsetti’s purchased the property. In 1806 Elisa Baciocchi, who was the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, purchased the property and began to develop the garden. Elisa kept the formality of the English garden in the…

The Pilgrim’s Path

In the medieval period people who traveled from northern Italy to Rome needed stops along the way where they could sleep and get something to eat. A route called Francigena (or Pilgrim Path) was developed that people could travel with rest stops every few miles for food, water and a bed. MONTERIGGIONI This is a…

Siena

We leave Pienza with memories of the beautiful countryside: Siena is a medieval town in Umbria located with tightly compacted streets much like Assisi. It was a rival with Florence for political and spiritual dominance in the pre-renaissance period. The people of Siena built these walls for protection from invasion from Florence and other city…

Umbria and Assisi

The state of Umbria is located next to Tuscany and today we travel to several areas in Umbria to be able to understand the history of Italy. ASSISI This is the church called Santa Maria degli Angeli which is built over the site where Saint Francis taught in the early 1200’s. Note that anytime you…

Val d’Orica

Val d’Orcia is a beautiful valley south of Florence that has received the UNESCO World Heritage Site Award. The rolling hills and pointed cypress trees earn the status of being the sets of many movies. LA FOCE GARDEN Entrance courtyard The view from the La Foce garden to the valley is spectacular. The precisely cut…

How to Make Raviolis

We did a lot of traveling today and did 3 different things. Learning How to Make Ravioli at Badia a Coltinuono, a winery and restaurant near Chiante: The finished product in the left trays. Step 1: Roll out the dough. Step 2: cut circles from the dough. Step 3: Place the mixture of spinach, cheese…

Villa Gamberaia

About 55 years ago I took a class in garden history at UCB. I wondered if I would ever get to see any of those gardens and today I did. My professor said that Villa Gamberaia was a perfect example of a renaissance garden using the views to enhance the landscape. VIEWS OF TUSCANY FROM…

Villa La Pietra

It was a rainy day but I still got some good pictures of one of the most beautiful gardens in the hills above Florence, Italy. The entry drive is long and lined with Italian Cypresses which were planted over 100 years ago. The villa was built in 1470 as a farmhouse and remodeled many times…

Torrigiani Garden

This garden is the largest private garden in Europe that is wholly inside the city limits. It is about 15 acres and has 2 full time gardeners. This is a typical view of the city streets that surround the garden. The 25′ wall is a complete barrier from the outside world for the garden and…