Modern and vibrant
This Tuscan city is famous especially for its artisan working of green glass, it is also a crossroads of histories, art and tradition, witnessed by the rich heritage preserved in churches and museums. The rich calendar of events and historical re-enactments that enlighten Empoli’s center contribute to the witnessing.
DA VINCI SUGGESTS: EMPOLI’S FLAGSHIPS
1. A visit to the Glass Museum
The first documentary evidence of green glass in the city of Empoli dates back to the 15th century: by visiting MuVE you’ll discover the bond that unites Empoli to the glass masters’ tradition.
2. Empoli’s parlor: Piazza Farinata degli Uberti
You are now in the heart of Empoli’s historic center: the 19th century Naiads Fountain is framed by the eye-catching urban plan of this meeting place surrounded by arcades and historic buildings.
3. A glimpse into the Medieval Age: Palazzo Ghibellino
Erected approximately in the 11th century, it owes its name to the famous “Parlamento Ghibellino” which took place in Empoli in 1260, following the defeat of Florentine Guelphs against Sienese Ghibellines. Today this prestigious palace hosts the Civic Museum of Paleontology.
4. Collegiate church of Sant’Andrea
This is an authentic jewel of Florentine Romanesque architecture. The original core of the building goes back to 1093: the façade – which recalls the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte – is decorated with geometric patterns of serpentine and white marble.
5. The museum of the Collegiate church of Sant’Andrea
The artworks guarded in this museum are a treasure and a must-see for our guests who want to visit Empoli: the museum hosts, distributed in an exhibition area of nine sections, paintings, ceramics and sculptured from Filippo Lippi, Masolino, Lorenzo Monaco, Andrea della Robbia.
6. The Church of Santo Stefano
This late medieval church is a precious example of the fusion of gothic and renaissance elements. It preserves works that have been judged by critics to belong to Masolino da Panicale, Masaccio’s master.
7.Food and wine in the town square
The cuisine exhibitions on which Tuscany prides itself are obviously hosted by Empoli: this is where Mercatale takes place, the exhibition celebrating the high quality of the agri-food products typical of these lands.
8. Pontormo’s birthplace
Just a few steps from Empoli, in the tiny village of Pontorno, you can find the house (now museum) where Jacopo Carocci, universally known as Pontormo, the greatest exponent of Florentine mannerism was born.
9. July in Empoli and surroundings: the Apritichiostro
The beautiful cloister of Augustinians comes to life in the evenings of Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of July. Apritichiostro offers a wide range of cultural activities, meetings and concerts in order to entertain visitors during summer.
10. Il volo del ciuco – the donkey’s flight
Starting from 1340, in May, just the day before Corpus Domini, Piazza Farinata degli Uberti became an open sky theatre for the celebrations in memory of the taking of San Miniato, for which our fellow citizens used a curious and bizarre army of infantry and… goats. In the beginning (and up to 1861) an actual donkey was hoisted on the top of the bell tower and flown with the aid of a pulley up to Palazzo Ghibellino’s porch. Today the real donkey has been replaced with a fake one. People made predictions on future harvests according to the donkey’s oscillations while “flying”.