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Spotlights

Luminara in Pisa

On the night of the 16th of June of every year, the enchantement of the Luminara of Saint Ranieri Pisa is renewed on the streets running along the river Arno.

Pisans celebrete their patron, Saint Ranieri, on 17 June, but the Luminara begins the day before. About 70.000 wx candles meticulosly set in glasses and fixed to wooden white-panted frames (the so called "biancheria") are modelled in such a way to exalt the outline of the palaces, the bridges, the churches and the tower reflecting the river.

The leaning Tower is illuminated too, by oil lamps, set also in the crenellations of teh city walls of alla Piazza dei Miracoli.

The event offers the visitor a unique feeling: the reverberation on the many tremblig lights on the Arno and the candles that are left foating on its waters.

Siena, Its World Famous Palio

The Palio is a complex manifestation organised by the commune of Siena. It is run twice a year, in July. There are two events this month the Palio of Provenzano and the Palio dell'Assunta. Ten districts or "contrade", (composed of the 7 which did not run the previous year and three others drawn at random) compete. In each district a horse is chosen, again at random through the drawing of lots, from a group of ten that are judged and selected as physically fit to run the race.


The assigning of the horse takes place on the morning late June for the Palio of July- this part is called 'la tratta' and marks the beginning of a festival which lasts for four days. The 'Carriera' or race is preceded by 6 trial runs, three of which take place in the morning and three in the evening of the four days, giving the jockey, chosen by the 'contrada', time to get familiar with the horse. 

The last of the evening trial runs is called 'la prova generale' while the last trial run of all, run on the morning of the Palio itself, is called 'la provaccia'. The race consists of three laps run around the Piazza del Campo on a track of tufa traced in the ring above the statue of the shell. The horses start from the Mossa, composed of two ropes behind which nine 'contrade' are lined up in a pre-established (by drawing of lots) order. When the last horse enters, the so-called 'rincorsa', the front rope is lowered and the start is announced.

The winner is the contrada whose horse arrives first at the finish, with or without its jockey, after completing three laps of the piazza. The prize consists of the Palio or 'drappellone', realised every year by an artist chosen for the purpose by the commune, a dearly cherished trophy that the contrada keeps forever in its own museum.

The 'Truffle 2.0' project at San Miniato

The city is located in the heart of Tuscany and is a symbol of gastronomic excellence and beautiful landscape.


This year the town will repeat their annual November food festival dedicated to white truffles. Throughout the month, San Miniato will come alive with meetings, events and tastings that attract hundreds of visitors and tourists from Italy and abroad.


An important new event this year is the "Truffle 2.0"project: for the first time the festival will be written about on the web by a team of bloggers who will circulate throughout the streets and squares of the city center.

This is a new, innovative and cutting-edge initiative to discover the stories of truffles, the land, art, food, and crafts.

The website www.viadeltartufo.it has been set up for the occasion, to promote culture and raise awareness of the prestige of the area.

The initiatives linked to white truffles do not stop here. From November 20, the Master of the Truffle project will be running, organised by the City of San Miniato and the Truffle Association of the hills of San Miniato, supported by the Province of Pisa and the Tuscan Region, which aims to make San Miniato the national capital of truffle culture.


The main objectives of this project are to promote local professionals and support the consolidation and development of entrepreneurial companies in the area by improving the professional status of workers in the industry and their basic skills and techniques, as well as carrying out continuous training, both for those who work in an industry which has significant impact on the local economy, but also for consumers of truffles, who should be able to distinguish fresh products from the local supply chain, from the many attempts to sophisticate truffles.

Pinocchio's Park retells universal story

The atmosphere of the town of Collodi hasn’t changed much since the last century! Guests to the charming Tuscan village won’t want to miss the Villa Garzoni and its wonderful garden. The Garzoni was birthplace of Lorenzini’s mother, and its where the author spent much of his childhood. One can easily understand why he was inspired to adopt the name of his home town as pen-name: Collodi. Pinocchio’s life-blood came from this beautiful area and the strength of its charm and character made its mark on The Adventures of Pinocchio: a truly universal work. Pinocchio’s Park is a very unique place, where the works of great artists inspire visitors and welcome them into a world of symbolic artistic treasures and innate natural beauty. The fairy-tale comes alive in this incredible setting and fully establishes itself in the collective imaginations of the park’s many guests.

Brain-child of professor Ronaldo Anzilotti, Mayor of Pescia, the park was constructed in 1951. A Park Management Committee was established that same year and organizers launched an art contest that would involve some of the 

Italy’s  most innovative artists. Eighty-four sculptors responded to the bid for sculptures. Winners included Emilio Greco’s Pinocchio and the Fairy and Venturino Venturini’s Piazzetta with Mosaics. Greco’s celebrated bronze group was inaugurated in 1956 along with Venturini’s extraordinary mosaics that depict the main scenes of The Adventures of Pinocchio. Park architects included Renato Baldi and Lionello De Luigi.

In 1963, the Osteria del Gambero Rosso , work by Giovanni Michelucci was constructed. Finally, in 1972, the park was expanded to include the Paese dei Balocchi or Toyland, a fantastic setting designed by Pietro Porcinai, nestled within the area’s Mediterranean landscape. Toyland hosts twenty-one bronze and steel sculptures by P. Consagra and Marco Zanuso. The Museum, ‘Workshop of Words and Figures’, was founded in 1987 on a plan by the architect Michelucci.

Going to the Zoo in Pistoia

Experience the animal world at close rangeThe Zoological Gardens of Pistoia were created thanks to Raffaello Galardini and inaugurated on April 19th 1970. The zoo is situated in the beautiful hills around Pistoia in a wooded area of 75,000m² and is home to over 600 animals, including about 65 species of mammals, 40 species of birds and 30 species of reptiles.


The majestic jaguar, the mighty polar bear, the agile Rothschild's giraffe, the enormous reticulated python and the rare Madagascan ring-tailed lemur are just some of the animals to be found in the zoo. New plans to make the zoo even more attractive and interesting will soon be underway. The management intends to make it a leadingconservation centre for endangered species and for environmental study. A day at the zoo is undoubtedly a unique opportunity to experience the animal world at close range.

Tel. +39 0571 49 341 Cell. +44 77 6979 4508 +39 335 30 46 72 [email protected]

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