Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, Central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the province of Lucca. It is famous among other things for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.
The walls around the old town remained intact as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. As the walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade which encircled the old town, although they were used for a number of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today; each of the four principal sides is lined with a different tree species.
The Academy of Sciences (1584) is the most famous of several academies and libraries.
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city of over 88,332 residents (around 200,000 with the metropolitan area) contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. Much of the city’s architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics.
The city is also home of the University of Pisa, which has a history going back to the 12th century and also has the mythic Napoleonic Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies as the best sanctioned Superior Graduate Schools in Italy.
While the bell tower of the Cathedral, known as “the leaning Tower of Pisa”, is the most famous image of the city, it is one of many works of art and architecture in the city’s Piazza del Duomo, also known, since the 20th century, as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), to the north of the old town center. The Piazza del Duomo also houses the Duomo (the Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Campo Santo (the monumental cemetery). The medieval complex includes the above mentioned four sacred buildings, the hospital and few palaces. All the complex is kept by the Opera (fabrica ecclesiae) della Primaziale Pisana, an old non profit foundation that operates since the building of the Cathedral (1063) to the maintenance of the sacred buildings. The area is framed by medieval walls kept by municipality administration.
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.
Florence is famous for its history: a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, it is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865-71 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
The Historic Centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world’s 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1.7m visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Due to Florence’s artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics.
Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 50 fashion capitals of the world; furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, as a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.
Genoa is the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy with a population of 604,848 within its administrative limits on a land area of 243.6 km2 (94 sq mi). The urban zone of Genoa extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 718,896. The urban area of Genoa has a population of 800,709. Over 1.5 million people live in the metropolitan area. Genoa is one of Europe’s largest cities on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy.
Several cruise and ferry lines serve the passenger terminals in the old port, with a traffic of 3.2 million passengers in 2007. MSC Cruises chose Genoa as one of its main home ports, in competition with the Genoese company Costa Cruises, which moved its home port to Savona. The quays of the passenger terminals extend over an area of 250 thousand square metres, with 5 equipped berths for cruise vessels and 13 for ferries, for an annual capacity of 4 million ferry passengers, 1.5 million cars and 250,000 trucks. The historical maritime station of Ponte dei Mille is today a technologically advanced cruise terminal, with facilities designed after the world’s most modern airports, to ensure fast embarking and disembarking of latest generation ships carrying thousand passengers. A third cruise terminal is currently under construction in the redesigned area of Ponte Parodi, once a quay used for grain traffic.