giovedì 3 aprile 2014

Emilia, along the River Panaro: the Vignola Fortress

Hello, my friends! Welcome in My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal touch!

Today our travel is to Emilia Romagna and we're going to walk along the valley of the River Panaro, in the province of Modena: I suggest you to visit to the Vignola Fortress.

The Vignola Fortress is a military fortress that dominates the valley of the River Panaro.

The imposing structure of the Fortress is visible in the distance. It looks like a mighty quadrangle, the final product of many phases of construction, which have transformed it from Roccaforte to imposing noble mansion. 

  The name "Vignola" comes from the Latin "vineola", which means "little vine" and today the the grapevine appears in the banner of the city. Until the early years of the fifteenth century the building was used for military functions; in 1401 the noble of Ferrara Uguccione Contrari received the feud Vignola as a gift from the lord of Ferrara Nicolò III d'Este. 

During the two following decades the Fortress profoundly changed its function, becoming the sumptuous home richly frescoed of the Family Contrari, accustomed to the comforts and magnificence of the court of Ferrara. 

This dynasty died out in 1577, the Fortress passed to the Boncompagni, who entrusted the administration of the fief to a governor, visiting Vignola sporadically. The Fortress, built of limestone, commonly called "tuff" overlooking the river, is today on five floors, from the basement, where there are the rooms of Grassoni and Contrari, to the walkways.
Regarding the halls and their function, the ground floor is open to the those engaged public events and official moments of the court life: banquets, parties, music, theater, administration of justice.

The first floor was dedicated to the private apartments of the ladies and lords and to their guests. At the top level there are the rooms probably used as the servants' quarters and  troops stationed at the fortress, but also there were the service areas, so essential in a building of this size. 

During the nineteenth century the political and social institutions in Vignola have found their headquarters inside the building: The Town Hall, the Library, and the Cassa di Risparmio di Vignola, which acquired the property in 1965.

In the end, Vignola is a must-see destination for your holiday in Italy to discover the italian villages.

Leisure with me, this is my tourism! 

mercoledì 26 marzo 2014

Turin: the aristocratic elegance of the Villa della Regina

Hello my friends, welcome to My Own Italy to Discover Italy with my personal touch!
Today we are in Turin, to travel to Piedmont  Region, and my suggestion is to visit the Villa della Regina, recently opened after a long period of restoration.

 The Villa della Regina  is a villa of the sixteenth century situated on the hill of Turin, is part of the Savoy  Residences in Piedmont.


The Villa gets the name of "Villa of the Queen" because it was the favorite residence of two spouses of The King of Sardinia, Anna Maria of Orléans and Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain.

 The ducal residence constituted a model for the "vines" and the villas of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. The Villa, in the center of Italian gardens, spread to the main floor from the great central hall.
 The structure of Villa della Regina is typically a famous sixteenth-century Italian garden with an amphitheater in the back. When you come to the driveway, you face the front of the square-elliptical terrace. The gardens have fountains and pavilions, the crowning of the garden there is a large forest.

 The enteriors of Villa della Regina are sumptuous, the hall leads to the Royal Apartments richly decorated, in which is placed in an exemplary way the eighteenth century taste for "chinoiserie"!
Abandoned after the exile of Savoy and hit by Allied bombing during World War II, the Villa has experienced as a result of 50 years of total degradation.

Today, after an important restoration, the villa has been reopened to the public.
 The upper floors will house the Regional Centre for Documentation and Cataloguing Cultural Heritage.

The Villa della Regina, in my opinion, is  extraordinary beautiful. 
Certainly a must-see destination in your holiday in Italy to visit the Cities of Art.
Leisure me: this is my tourism!

venerdì 21 marzo 2014

Lombardy: Franciacorta, land of wines and traditions

 Hello, my friends! Welcome to My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal touch!
Today travel is to Lombardy and I'd like to introduce you one of the most unique focus on Italian sparkling wine: Franciacorta.
So, I guess then you will be curious to discover the most famous winery in the world for the production of sparkling wineBerlucchi!

 The territory of Franciacorta is mostly hilly and dotted with ancient woodland; it has been recently transformed by the planting of numerous vineyards that characterize its peculiarity: a must-see destination toi discover the italian villages.

 The origin of the name Franciacorta comes from  "curtes francae"the small community of Benedictine monks settled in the Middle Ages in a hilly area near Lake Iseo.

In Franciacorta there were very important noble families, such as Oldofredi Iseo, the Sala Gussago, the Lantieri Paratico, the Lana de 'Terzi di Borgonato, the Della Corte di Nigoline, the Bargnani di Adro, who had properties and power, not only in the city of Brescia, but even in this area, where they built their large countryhouses.

 Even from a long history, the new course of the Franciacorta winemaking begins in effect at the beginning of the sixties with the birth of the first wineries. In the late seventies the Italian wine experienced a period of great turmoil and many entrepreneurs invested in Franciacorta and pointed on the cultivation of the vine.
 From there, the growth was rapid up to today's Franciacorta, considered by many the only area of Italian sparkling wine production which has reached levels comparable to those of the French Champagne.

 The Franciacorta was the first Italian wine, made exclusively by the method of second fermentation in the bottle (Classic Method), to have been awarded in 1995 the Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed. Today on the label reads only the name Franciacorta, the only term that defines the territory, the method of production and the wine. In Europe, only 10 denominations have this privilege, and among these only three are produced by fermentation in the bottle: Cava, Champagne and Franciacorta. 

The Consortium joins the  Franciacorta Wine Route, which enhances the cultural and culinary heritage of an area more and more appreciated as a tourist destination in every season.

The Franciacorta Wine Route offers the possibility to personalize your itineraries, dedicating to the visit of the cellars, discovering the area with its medieval villages and old houses, abbeys and monasteries, and also the Lake Iseo: perfect destination for your italian holiday!
I invite you to follow me to enjoy one of most famous and appreciated wineries in the world: Berlucchi!
Leisure with me, this is my tourism!


lunedì 17 marzo 2014

Piacenza: Castell'Arquato and the Fortress of Visconti

 Welcome to My Own Italy to discover Italy With My Personal Touch!
Our travel today is to Emilia Romagna Region, between Parma and Piacenza: I'm talking about Castell'Arquato!

After your visit, I'm sure you will taste the famous specialties of Piacenza: I mean "Torta Fritta" and cold cuts in   Trattoria Capoponte: delicious!!

The medieval village of Castell'Arquato is strategically located on the hills of Val D'Arda valley, castled on the hill overlooking the pass.
It is assumed to be a military camp (castrum), dating back to the Roman colonization of the area. Then it developed as a small rural town thanks to the favorable position of dominance on the road network.

The historical part is really rich. The Fortress of Visconti, commissioned by the city of Piacenza and erected by Luchino Visconti between 1342 and 1349, is one of the most remarkable military factories in Northern Italy.

You can also admire the Palace of Podestà, built at the end of 300. In the midst of the windows is painted the coat of arms with two rampant lions COMMUNITAS CASTRI ARQUATI and a castle tower. The Palace of Podestà is not usually open to the public, but it is often used for exhibitions.


Castell'Arquato is a rare beauty village of art, steeped in the atmosphere of ancient times: you just have to visit it and discover its mysterious charm: a must-see destination in your holiday to discover the Villages in Italy.

Leisure me: this is my tourism!

mercoledì 12 marzo 2014

Florence: Ponte Vecchio, romance and history

Hello, my friends! Welcome to My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal touch!
Our travel today is to Tuscany and we're going to visit one of the most famous bridges in the worldPonte Vecchio in Florence.
Ponte Vecchio is a very important symbol both from the historical point of view and from the architectural one.

 Built near a crossing of the Roman era, the Ponte Vecchio was until 1218 the only bridge across the Arno River in Florence until 1218. The bridge, as we see it today, was built in 1345 after a violent flood that destroyed the previous one.

 Initially, these were the shops of butchers and fishmongers but by order of Ferdinand I in 1593, they were replaced by goldsmith shops because the smell was felt constantly and the nobles did not enjoy similar scents.

 Above Ponte Vecchio you can see a beautiful part of the Vasari Corridor. This corridor, built in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari, passes just above the shops of goldsmiths that are currently on the sides of the bridge.

 Commissioned by the Medici, it allowed them to move from the Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti without having to go through the streets of Florence in total safety.

On Ponte Vecchio in 1901 a bust of Benvenuto Cellini, a famous glodsmith  of the sixteenth century, was inaugurated on the occasion of the fourth centenary of his birth.

During the Second World War, German troops destroyed all the bridges of Florence, except this one. However they blocked the access to the bridge destroying the two medieval buildings on either side. 

 Visitors who come in Florence can't miss an evening stroll on the Ponte Vecchio. At night, in fact, when the wooden doors of the shops are closedand they look just like coffers, the atmosphere on the bridge becomes even more charming and romantic and it really can't be missed!

Leisure with me, this is my tourism!

lunedì 3 marzo 2014

Montevecchia: enjoy a breathtaking view of Milan and Brianza

Hello, my friends! Welcome again to My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal Touch!
Ou travel today is to Lombardy and I'd like to suggest you a pleasant trip from Milan to a destination in the Alpine foothills of the rich and aristocratic Brianza: Montevecchia!

Montevecchia is a small town situated in the north of Milan;due to the geographical location (located on a hill about 500 meters above sea level) has a very particular climate more mild in winter and less hot in the summer ... a real treat!

Montevecchia has prehistoric origins: in the surrounding park, at the end of the seventies, were found two camps dating back to Neanderthal and human sapiens, dated respectively the first and the second in 60,000 years to 32,000. These settlements are among the oldest in Lombardy

 The word "Montevecchia" is believed to be due to a Roman fortress which was located in place of the actual sanctuary, surrounded by a circle of protective walls of more than 800 meters long. The original name was Mons Vigiliae (Watchtower).
 In the highest point of the hill of Montevecchia there is the Sanctuary of  Beata Vergine del Carmelo  of medieval origins. They think that this church was one of the first built by the Lombards.
     The lombard church on the top of Montevecchia resisted until 1570, when a fire due to "the neglect of the priest" (read by the acts of the visit of St. Charles Borromeo) completely destroyed both the vestments and the church vestments. In 1924 the current sanctuary was dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

  In Montevecchia you can also admire Villa Albertoni-Agnesi, home of the world-famous mathematical Gaetana Agnesi .
It was built in '700. The main entrance and the wrought iron balcony above, the staircase, the balustrade carved in garlands intertwined with "putti", are a clear reference to Rococo style. The beautiful Italian garden was perfectly preserved.

Cyclists are enthusiastic visitors of the slope leading to Montevecchia. Once you reach the top you can enjoy a truly breathtaking landscape!! 

Of course, there is nothing better than a meal outdoors enjoying this magnificent view: I suggest you to have a break at Tavern Galeazzino , and taste a typical menu of this place: cold cuts, cheese and good wine!  

Leisure me: this is my tourism! 

martedì 25 febbraio 2014

Lands of Tuscany: Casole d'Elsa

 Hello my friends! Welcome again in My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal Touch!

Today I'd like to talk you about the always charming Tuscany and about the discover of a nice small village: Casole d'Elsa.
If you are staying at the Hotel Terre di Casole you can reach the village on foot, enjoying a nice walk and a magnificent view!

Casole d'Elsa is a small town in the province of Siena: the village has been disputed since the beginning of 1200 the first between Volterra and Siena, then inevitably involved in the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. After a year of Florentine rule, Casole was finally admitted to the domains of Siena after the battle of Montaperti.

The current conformation of this medieval village finds his soul of disputed land, with emphasis on the walls and the Fortress of Casole (Rocca Senese), today the town hall. 

 The city walls of Casole have a shape that reminds a pear, with an extension of the major axis of about 420 meters and a width of about 130. You could came in and went out through two gates that now no longer exist.

Casole still retains the atmosphere of the last outpost and traces of fortifications and palaces emerge everywhere, gradually adapted to the needs of men.
The set of streets, squares in medieval buildings make of Casole one of the most charming villages and best preserved - thanks to recent restoration - of the Val d'Elsa.

Casole is also famous for its Palio: a horse race, ridden by jockeys, which takes place every year on the second Sunday of July at 18.30 in honor of San Isidoro. Its origins are lost in antiquity.

There are six districts participating: they correspond to specific territorial divisions, and each district has its own colors and a badge that identifies it. It 'regulated by a statute, led by a Captain and represented by a President. 


 Leisure me: this is my tourism