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If you are tired of the usual tourist destinations and you are looking for something different to visit, we suggest you to spend an afternoon in Empoli, maybe during the weekend, when most of the sights are usually open.

il museo del vetro di empoliEmpoli is a small town roughly 30 km away from Florence that you can easily reach with very frequent trains from Florence to Pisa.
Because of its location, so close to the big art cities in Tuscany, Empoli does not stand out among the most requested destinations in the region, but taking a closer look, it can offer a variety of interesting places for both adults and children.
All of the old town centre is concentrated around Piazza Farinata degli Uberti, two steps away from the railway station. On the same square is the architectural jewel of the Collegiata di Sant'Andrea whose construction date, 1093, is inscribed on the beautiful facade in Florentine Romanesque style, the only visible example out of the walls of Florence. While the facade is still very beautiful with its white and green marble, the inside has been subject to various makeovers over the course of centuries and a good part of the works of art of the church is now displayed in the neighbouring Museo della Collegiata. This museum is a little treasure chest gathering sculpted works like the baptismal font credited to Bernardo Rossellino and most of all pictorial ones, like the masterpiece fresco by Masolino "Cristo in pietà", works by Lorenzo Monaco, Filippo Lippi and the Botticini workshop. The visit ends with the glazed terracottas of the Della Robbia workshop, in the upper part of the cloister.
Right in front of the Collegiata the Museo Civico di Paleontologia opens its doors, a place that will make all children happy, and not only them, when visiting Empoli. The museum, in total five halls arranged over two floors, displays an array of fossils, rocks, information panels, dioramas telling us the history of our planet in the last two billion years.
The last leg, not so far, is the MUVE Glass Museum. This unique museum is housed in the premises that once hosted the salt warehouse, precious food hailing from the salt pans in Volterra and distributed through the fluvial harbour on the Arno river from Empoli to all the cities of the Medici Grand Duchy. Inside the MUVE museum the production history of the famous green glass of Empoli is told, an industry that has been economically crucial for the small town at least until the eighties in the last century. In the restored premises of the warehouse refined art objects and everyday items are displayed, like the wine bottles covered in straw by local women, the so-called "fiascaie". Everything is equipped with videos and recreations of the production methods.
Finally, not everyone knows that Empoli was the birthplace of two great artists: Jacopo Carucci, known as Jacopo Pontormo and Ferruccio Busoni. The first one, a remarkable and troubled artist who lived in the sixteenth century, the second one, a sublime composer and pianist, whose fame has crossed the national borders. Both houses are now museums and are open to curious visitors or enthusiasts.
With such a wealth of attractions Empoli is really worth a visit!


Published: 11/1/2017

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