Corso Italia

The two historical quarters of this side of the city, Mezzogiorno, are divided by a very lively street: Corso Italia, the High Street of Pisa.

An ideal walk can begin from the Central Station, which was built in 1863 and then refurbished after the bombing of the Second World War.

Actually, this part of the city still has very clear signs of the atrocious bombings of 1944 when Pisa was attacked for 45 consecutive days: 57 bombings, over 3000 civilians killed and 50% of the buildings were destroyed.

This tragedy is evident walking from the station towards Corso Italia. All the buildings are modern or have been rebuilt.

Walking through via Gramsci, we arrive at an elliptical square, quite chaotic because of the traffic: this is Piazza Vittorio Emanuale, represented by the statue in the middle. Remember this square: most of the city busses stop here, there will soon be a major underground parking garage and the central Post Office is located here.

The buildings in the square are neo-gothic in style and were built with the square in 1872 after the demolition of part of the city walls and the old Gate of San Giulio.

Also located in this square is the church of Sant’Antonio, which gives its name to one of the quarters. The church was rebuilt after the bombing with the exception of the façade, which is in the typical Pisan style.

Lucca Comics & Games

Dylan Dog, represented by its publishing house, Sergio Bonelli Editore, is a constant presence at Lucca Comics & Game International Convention and just an example of what you will find by taking part in one of the most important Italian and European events dedicated to comics, cartoons, games, video games and so on.

Lucca Comics & Games has been taking place in the wonderful city of Lucca for many years now: since 1996 to be precise, but really since 1966 if we consider the original edition was named as Il Salone Internazionale dei Comics, the International Comics Salon, which is always held the last weekend of October.

The event is divided into the exposition area, where you’ll find hundreds and hundreds of stands, and the area dedicated to exhibitions, shows, games, and reenactments of historical games which is actually spread out over the city.

From a technical point of view, the convention is divided into Lucca Comics and Lucca Games, the first one being dedicated to comics and animations, and the second to games, from role playing to board games, from medieval games represented in historical settings created for the occasion and… the list goes on and on! Both sections have several areas at their disposal in the very heart of the city, although the Citadel is an area completely reserved to hosting games, exhibitions and contests in an area all over and under the ancient walls of the city, thus offering an incredibly suggestive setting: bastions, fortifications and underground itineraries that were once home, in fact, to the ancient city prisons.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best and most famous lookouts for a stunning view of Florence, day or night, and best of all it is free! It just takes a little legwork and there are a few easy ways to get there.

One is a lovely walk along the south side of the river upstream towards the Torre San Niccolò, an old tower of the now destroyed medieval city walls which you can see jutting out over the rooftops from afar. Here, you are directly underneath the piazza, simply follow the looping ramps up to the top of the hill. Another nice walk is from the Porta San Miniato gateway, accessible from Via San Niccolò. Go through the gateway and up a short but steep street; in front of you is the “shortcut,” picturesque stone steps that will lead you straight up to the piazza in a matter of minutes. You will pass by the entrance to the lovely rose garden on the way up. Don’t forget to take a peek behind you to catch the growing panorama of Florence.

The other way up to the piazza, for those who are saving their energy, is to take the local bus number 12 or 13. Find them at the train station, near the taxi stand, either one will take you all the way up to Piazza Michelangelo for the cost of €1.20 a single ride (tickets must be purchased in advance at a tabaccheria, tobacconist).

From the piazza, a five minute stroll up past the church of San Salvatore will take you to the unique and beautiful monastery of San Miniato al Monte. With absolutely the best view of the city, San Miniato al Monte is a stunning example of original Tuscan Romanesque architecture dating from 1013. The monks still make honey, tisanes and liqueurs to sell to visitors and it is also possible to visit the church while the monks sing Gregorian chant at 5.30pm.

In the grounds surrounding the church there is a beautiful monumental cemetery laid out in the mid-1800’s and protected by the old defensive walls of the church designed by Michelangelo during the Siege of Florence in 1529-30.

A wonderful panoramic walk from San Miniato back to the centre of Florence can be enjoyed by turning left (with the church behind you) onto Viale Galileo, the tree lined boulevard. As the road winds along and you enjoy the shade of the trees there are the most splendid views of Florence until you reach Via di San Leonardo on your right. Taking this charming narrow street, look for the plaque on the wall of the first villa on your left that says Tchaikovsky lived here in 1878. Continuing along past beautiful villas and the tiny eleventh century church of San Leonardo in Arcetri you will come to the Forte Belvedere and the 13th century Porta San Giorgio. Here you can either go through the arch of the old city gate and straight down the hill to arrive at the Ponte Vecchio, or you can follow the old city wall to the right and back to the area of San Niccolò, below the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Le Volpi e l’Uva

Le Volpi e l’Uva was opened in 1992 by Emilio Monechi, Riccardo Comparini, and Ciro Beligni with the intention of cultivating relationships with small wine producers and creating a locale where wine is accessible to all.  25 years ago this approach was an entirely new way of buying, selling, and presenting wine in Florence.

Throughout the years, Le Volpi e l’Uva have continued to search every region of Italy for wines, paying extra attention to the unique terroir of individual areas and appellations, highlighting wines made with native grapes, and featuring wines made using organic and biodynamic agriculture. Le Volpi e l’Uva believe in the importance of buying directly from the winemakers, as well as taking time to visit these producers and understand the philosophy behind each wine.

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