Empoli, Italy

Empoli is a charming, historic town in Tusany, Italy, located approximately 20km southwest of Florence. It is somewhat “off the beaten track” but offers a look back at history and culture, as well as offering a vibrant contemporary scene. The town features a surprising number of attractions for the discerning visitor.

Piazza Farinata degli UbertiThe Piazza Farinata degli Uberti or “Square of the Lions” sits at Empoli’s historic center. The middle of the square is occupied by the beautiful neoclassical fountain, Fontana dei Leoni, built in 1827. It was created by Florentine sculptor Luigi Pamlaloni. The square is surrounded by magnificent medieval buildings that are attractions in their own right.

Main Square, Empoli, Tuscany, ItalyThe Collegiata of Saint Andrea

The Collegiata of Saint Andrea is the oldest and most important place of worship in Empoli. This beautiful and imposing Roman era church was constructed around the year 1093. The facade was later adorned with beautiful green and white marble. The church contains a museum that mainly features artwork completed by the church. Some important works of art are displayed, including the “Madonna in trono” painted by Lorenzo Bicci. Works by other artists are also housed there, including art by Florentine sculptor/painter Bernardo Rossellino, Masolino de Panicale, and Filippo Lippi.

The Church of Santo Stefano

Overlooking Piazza Farinata degli Uberti, this magnificent church was constructed in the 14th century. A number of important works of art are displayed there, including the “Annunciation of the Holy Virgin”- a white marble statue sculpted by Bernardo Rossellino. There are also some great frescoes by Masolino da Panicale housed there. Near the church is the Agustinian Convent which houses many artworks of its own.

The Church of Santa Maria a Ripa

This 16th century Franciscan church is located on the western edge of Empoli, on the road that leads to Livorno. It is home to numerous artworks, including some masterpieces such as the “Immaculate Conception”, a striking canvas by Ottavio Vannini depicting Christ carrying the cross. Others include the compelling “Allegory of the Immaculate Conception” by renowned Baroque painter Jacopo Chimenti da Emploli.

The Busoni Museum

This large museum is located near the Church of Santo Stefano. It was where famous musician Ferrucio Busini was born in 1866. As the name implies, it is dedicated to the life and works of the famous composer, and is home to a place for musical research. Empoli hosts an annual concert series, “Giornate Busoniane”, dedicated to the composer. These are held in the Shalom and Excelsior theaters.

Empoli is also home to a number of excellant restaurants and pizzerias. The Bianconi is a renowned restaurant with a beautiful terrace and features meals in season and local specialties. Homemade pasta, grilled meats and vegetables are specialties. The wine list is excellent.

Da Cioffi, located near Empoli, is a large and popular restaurant noted for its charming atmosphere. It is known for fresh local vegetables, homemade pasta and mushrooms, and first class beef. The wine selection is also first rate.


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