Giacomo Puccini Birthplace Museum in Lucca

Giacomo Puccini Birthplace Museum in Lucca

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Picturing the birthplace museum of some illustrious personage leads to stage it just as it was before his decease: an unfinished glass of wine, half-readings on the bedside table, projects still incomplete on the desk … Unfortunately, this is far from reality. Converting original houses into modern museums frequently leads to the disappearance of the original essence. Puccini Museum was first opened in 1979, but closed in 2004 due to restoration of the rooms original design and the recovery of the walls decoration. The Giacomo Puccini Birthplace Museum reopened in 2011 and is today managed by the Giacomo Puccini Foundation.
Puccini Museum – Corte San Lorenzo 9 55100 Lucca

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The magnificent medieval beauty of Arezzo

The magnificent medieval beauty of Arezzo

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Set in the rural heart of Eastern Tuscany, and despite not having the historical heritage of its sisters Lucca and Florence, Arezzo preserves a beautiful medieval town and a pleasant lifestyle, hiding also charming corners that still remind of its splendid past. This town, which was home to geniuses like Petrarca, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and Vasari, becomes today key to discover the more rugged face of the so-called region with the soft hills. It also became a lucumonia, that is to say, one of the twelve capitals that shaped the Etruscan League. Due to the quality of its clays, Arezzo was famous for its ceramics. Additionally, many scenes from the film Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni were filmed there, too.…

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Alternatives to the “Stendhal syndrome”: Museum House Vasari or the artist who gave name to the Renaissance

Alternatives to the “Stendhal syndrome”: Museum House Vasari or the artist who gave name to the Renaissance

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Vasari bought this garden house in Arezzo in 1541. In the last century some Tuscan artists turned the place into a small museum dedicated to Mannerism. This site is today an illustrious example of an artist’s house in which Giorgio Vasari, the first art historian of our era, celebrated his thoughts and his art. Its rooms are profusely decorated with frescoes and embellished with Mannerist paintings, revealing the supreme expression of 16th century Italian art. After completing his architectural works, Vasari dedicated himself to the pictorial decoration between 1542 and 1568, thus these rooms praise the artist’s role through biblical, mythological themes and numerous allegories to the astonishment of any visitor. The main rooms are substantially unchanged. The original furniture does not remain.
Casa Vasari – Via XX Settembre 55 – 52100 Arezzo

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Small pleasures and subtle surprises in Lucca

Small pleasures and subtle surprises in Lucca

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Embracing the heart of Lucca stand two miles and a half of a Renaissance wall in excellent condition, converted today into a stroll. No wonder such length, as its legacy deserves it: more than a hundred churches, many medieval palaces and lively streets, full of colour, are the major attractions of this city once home to Giacomo Puccini, Luigi Boccherini and Alfredo Catalani. In 1799 Napoleon occupied Lucca and created here a principality for her sister, Elisa Bonaparte, who naturally tried to transform Lucca into a new Versailles. Then came the Bourbons, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and finally the Unification. Although Florence and Pisa enjoy greater fame as well as number of visitors, Lucca treasures an amazing patrimony. Its streets, alleys, squares and towers were, back in the late Middle Ages, witness to a prosperous silk trade, too.

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A gateaway to Siena?

A gateaway to Siena?

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Every trip to Tuscany includes a visit to Siena. Once the rival of Florence as capital of the region, this medieval city in between hills still retains the grandeur of its best period. From Fortezza Medicea, also a spot for joggers and cruising, the sun rises and vanishes among astonishing views of the Tuscan city and countryside. My first in-depth encounter with the region took place in summer 2010, as I was in Siena just days before the Il Palio festivities. Not to miss: enjoying some beers at the tiny terrace of La cittadella caffè (first floor), next to piazza del Campo, in the afternoon leading to the early evening.…

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Villa Puccini in Torre del Lago: where Giacomo Puccini still feels alive

Villa Puccini in Torre del Lago: where Giacomo Puccini still feels alive

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Torre del Lago (Viareggio, province of Lucca) is known for being the gay mecca in the Tuscan coast, but most especially for Giacomo Puccini ́s villa. Attracted by its peaceful surroundings, such as the Lake di Massaciuccoli nearby, the composer bought it in 1898 and lived there until his death in 1924. The simplicity of the two-storey building is offset by inner eclecticism, with highlights as his piano room and the chapel where the master, his wife, son and daughter-in-law are buried. It is great to know that tragic characters such as Floria Tosca, Mimì or Madama Butterfly were given birth within these walls. The house-museum was inaugurated in 2012 and is managed by her granddaughter Simonetta Puccini. Since 1930, the Puccini Festival is celebrated near the lake in summer, with works of the composer represented in an outdoor stage.
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