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A Dramatic Island Landscape and Intriguing Towns Define a Visit to This Monastery in Sardinia.

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The Lido is Alghero's own beach that runs all the way form Alghero to Fertilia, a small hamlet of Alghero.

Sardinia is known as the Island of the Winds. Offshore breezes continue year round. The island of Sardina is a place unto itself. A place of dramatic rolling uplands and a coastline with hidden coves, sandy beaches and numerous caves. A place where ancient traditions are revealed in the island’s many festivals. Once occupied by the Phoenicians and Etruscan societies, remnants of these civilizations attest to their part of Sardinia’s history. There are some distinguished Pisan-Romanesque churches around Sassari and the dialect often spoken is reminiscent with the languages of Tuscany. Although most of Sardinia remains relatively free of tourists, the luxurious and exclusive coastal area of Costa Smeralda attracts a wealthy crowd.

At the centre of the Nuraghe di Palmavera complex is a palace dating back to the 1300s BC. Nuraghe Di Palmavera Palace The tholos or beehive construction of the central tower can be seen from inside the main chamber.

Alghero is a pretty seaside town founded on a peninsula facing the Bay of Alghero. An ancient feudal territory of theGenoese, in 1353, the Catalans took possession of the town and called it Barceloneta. Six centuries have passed since that time yet the Spanish influence endures, its indelible mark apparent in the language, folklore and architecture including the mighty fortifications that define the landscape.

Sardinia’s country is scattered with the remains of the nuragic civilization, a prehistoric settlement of Sardinia This singular and enigmatic culture is characterized by the intriguing nuraghe, truncated conical structures built from huge basalt blocks excavated from extinct volcanoes. The round vaulted interiors are linked by corridors and stairways to upper terraces No two structures are alike. Almost nothing is known of this culture a fact that serves to enhance its mysterious appeal.

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Over twenty-four Tuscany monasteries are open to all guests… including breakfast they average $35.00/Nite

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Tuscany's monasteries welcome visitors without any religious obligation.

In addition to the well-known cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Cortona, there are dozens upon dozens of intriguing villages and hamlets that bring you in touch with Italian culture, art, history, architecture, food and people. From forests, to mountaintops, to great cities and small hamlets, there are dozens of monasteries to choose from in the beautiful region of Tuscany. Intriguing places that bring you in touch with Italian culture, art, history, architecture, food, wine and the Italian locals.

Mount Amiata is a holiday resort region offering hiking, horseback riding and cultural entertainment in the summer, skiing in the winter. Nearby Abbadia San Salvatore resides in a boulder-strewn setting. Gothic and Renaissance style buildings of dark gray stone enrich the distinctive medieval ambience of the old town.

There are dozens of choices throughout Tuscany.

In an unusual landscape of clay and limestone hillsides, 14th century Sienese walls still surround part of the small medieval town of Asciano. Elegant cypress trees and farmhouses add a quaint touch to the setting. The town’s Museo Etrusco shelters collections accumulated from Etruscan tombs unearthed in the area.

Another monastery is in a small town in the heart of the Casentino region. A milieu of mystical beauty, of mountains bathed in a palette of soft pastels, the region is home to one of Italy’s wildest primeval forests, the Forest Casentinesi. The dense woodland harbors towering silver fir, centuries-old beech, mountain maple and European aspen.

Monasteries can be found in coastal locations, hilltop villages and major cities like Florence.

A nearby castle is one of the most famous in Casentino and was mentioned by Dante in his writing. It is an esteemed example of sacred medieval architecture. The hill town of Poppi is home to the 13th century Castello dei Conti Guidi, seat of the Guidi counts who ruled the Casentino until the middle of the 15th century. The castle is a massive structure and one of Tuscany’s best preserved buildings. It is accented by a boldly conceived staircase and spacious main chamber. The frescoed chapel (Taddeo Gaddi) adds a note of distinction to the second floor. The library shelters priceless incunabula and manuscripts.

For more information click here: Monasteries of Italy

Built in a nature lover’s paradise… stay at this convent for $45 per day including all meals.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The convent is one of the main mystical sites of the Franciscan world.

A Nature Lover’s Paradise, the Convent is built on the edge of an incredible, mile-high stone mountain that overlooks the Casentino Valley. Quartered in a small Etruscan town, the convent is considered one of the main mystical sites of the Franciscan world. It is where in 1224 Saint Francis of Assisi received the Stigmata from Jesus. In 1213 it was donated to Saint Francis by Count Orlando. The Chapel of Santa Maria Degli Angeli, modeled after the Porziuncola in Assisi, was built between 1216 and 1218; while the construction of the main basilica, Santa Maria Assunta, was begun in 1358 and completed in 1509.

Set in a landscape of superlative beauty the site commingles nature, art and faith. The sanctuary houses an outstanding collection of glazed terra cotta works from the Della Robbia school. Outdoor enthusiasts will find hiking trails indicated with red and white markers by Club Alpino Italiano. Some of the trails lead to Camaldoli while others continue as far as Lake Trasimeno in Umbria.

Nearby is the hilltop citadel of Caprese Michelangelo, birthplace of Michelangelo, recognized genius of the Renaissance. The quaint center of town rests on a green knoll and is distinguished by an ancient castle housing full-sized reproductions of Michelangelo’s sculptures.

The Quadrante, summit of Monte Penna can be reached by traversing an ancient fir and beach forest. Views from the top embrace the valleys of the rivers Arno and Tevere.

For more information visit monasteriesofitaly.com