Thread: Assassin's Creed Tour | Forums

  1. #1
    KashifN's Avatar Junior Member
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    Hi guys,

    A few months ago, I posted for ideas on places to visit for my upcoming "Assassin's Creed Tour of Italy"

    Well I did it in the last week of July, and it was awesome. I was in Italy for a week and I visited Florence, Rome and also Monteriggioni.

    The Ubisoft team have received so much praise already for their work on the games, but I have to say it again, you guys did an awesome job in recreating the cities in the game. Well done!

    So this was my first trip to Italy and over the next few days I want to put some notes in this thread on how to make the most of your visit to Italy, if like me, you want to do an AC tour of the country, basically, hints and tips which you wouldn't otherwise find out if you hadn't visited the place before.

    Kash.
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  2. #2
    jmk1999's Avatar Moderator
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    interesting... post pics and stuff. would be cool to see all this.
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  3. #3
    KashifN's Avatar Junior Member
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    Alrighty then, let me start with a general overview of my tour. I stayed in Italy for a full week which was divided up as 3 days in Florence, 1 day in Siena (close to Monteriggioni) and 3 days in Rome.

    Three days in Florence were sufficient for me to see what I wanted from an AC point of view, and likewise, three days were sufficient for me to see what I wanted in Rome. However, in Rome - moreso than Florence - there is so much more to see besides the AC stuff that you might want to plan a longer stay there. Rome is also much larger than Florence, and places to visit are spread out much further apart than in Florence, so you have to factor in more travel time.

    I went on this tour on my own as my wife kindly agreed to visit her mother's place for the week, so I was able to go where I wanted, whenever I wanted, stay out as late as I wanted and basically be an AC nerd without having the missus asking me to hurry up or "let's check out the dresses in this shop". For example, nearly every time I walked past the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore I would stop for 10 minutes, or 15 minutes to wonder at the exquisite artistry of the building. Basically, what I'm saying is that to *really* enjoy this tour, you don't want to feel rushed, otherwise you won't enjoy spur of the moment things like stopping in the middle of a street looking upwards and seeing in your mind's eye Ezio expertly jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

    I started the AC tour in Florence and then headed southwards to Monteriggioni and then south again to Rome. But I guess it doesn't matter whether you start from Florence and head south, or start from Rome and then head northwards, it's basically the same.

    However, my first port of call in Italy was Milan. I arrived at Milan train station thinking that it would be no problem to buy the onward ticket to Florence. That turned out to be a BIG mistake because the train station was absolutely manic, and had queues like I've never seen before, and there was also confusion because the machines weren't selling tickets to Florence on that day.

    So, if you're also planning to travel around Italy by train, make sure you pre-book your seats online! The website to do this is: http://www.trenitalia.com/ (you can select to view it in the English language)

    There is a fast train (1h45) and a slow train (3h27) from Milan to Florence, and I'd recommend the fast one even though it's nearly twice as expensive because once you're in Italy, you don't want to be wasting hours on a train when you could be wandering historic streets, or eating great food.

    So onto Florence, which I will be writing about in my next post...
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  4. #4
    KashifN's Avatar Junior Member
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    So now onto Florence, the city of our hero. I didn't know until a few weeks before my trip that Firenze is the Italian name for the city of Florence, hence, Ezio Auditore da FIRENZE.


    (Pic: Sunrise over Florence)

    I stayed at the Hotel Pitti Palace which is on the southern tip of Ponte Veccio which is a famous, historical bridge in Florence. It is where we first see Ezio (as an adult) in the opening of AC2 where he brawls with Vieri's thugs. In the evening time, it also offers some great views of the sun setting.

    Staying in the old city of Florence (which is where I was) is quite ideal because you'll be in walking distance of the city's main attractions.


    (Pic: Heads I swing up onto the lamp. Tails i'll walk across the rope)


    One place you might want to visit is the Leonardo da Vinci museum:

    http://www.mostredileonardo.com/

    http://maps.google.ch/maps?q=F....022724&vpsrc=0&z=16

    I have to admit that despite promising myself several times that I would visit the place, I never got round to it. But I DID see that they had models of each of Leonardo's inventions from ACB, the tank, the wings, etc...

    My favourite site in Florence though was El Duomo, or Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.

    There are two queues: one around the front to enter the building itself, and the second one to the side which you take to climb up to the top of the dome, which I highly recommend! Entry for each is about 7 Euros. I noted that these queues start growing at around 8am, even though entry itself isn't permitted till 9am (or perhaps 9.30am).

    So anyone out there who wants to queue twice? Not me!

    To avoid these queues, you need to buy yourself a ticket for a guided tour of the Cathedral (15 Euros). This is available from this shop marked "Museo" around the side of the Cathedral:

    http://maps.google.ch/maps?q=F...cbp=12,87.81,,0,0.93

    There are several tours organised every day. Sometimes there aren't any in the afternoon if there is a mass/prayer service scheduled for that afternoon.

    With this ticket, you turn up at the Cathedral ten minutes before the tour, and enter through a back door, i.e. no queuing. The tour guide will take you around the inside of the building, and leave you at the stairs which take you to the top of the dome. Included in the tour is an exclusive tour of the roof of the cathedral which is not accessible except via tour guide. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    The Palazzo Veccio is also worth visiting and is only 5 minutes away from the Cathedral. This is the building in front of which Ezio's family are hung. You can just roll on up and buy tickets at the door for this place.

    There is a highly touted gallery in Florence alled the Uffizi gallery. Historically it is tied to the Medici family. If you want to go here, you will definitely need to buy tickets a day in advance, because the queues for this place are huge!

    One word of advice though: if you are also planning to visit the Vatican Museum, you might want to consider giving the Uffizi gallery a miss. I went to both, and found that it was just art overload for me.

    If you are a fan of Nicolo Machiavelli, you may be pleased to learn that you can visit him in his last earthly resting place which is the Basilica of Santa Croce. Again this is within walking distance of the other sites, and boasts some excellent coffee shops and restaurants in the Piazza just outside it.

    If you are in Florence, I have two other recommendations.

    First, for around 60 Euros you can go on a tour of some of the hills around Florence on push bike. I recommend this because it gives you a day to head out of the city, and get a view of the beautiful Tuscany countryside. The tour group I went with also stopped off at a picturesque villa complete with olive groves and vineyards.

    The other place I recommend is Piazella Michaelangelo at sunset which is about 15 minutes walk from Ponte Veccio. Here is one sunset that I saw.

    The only bummer is that around sunset, there are people playing music loudly in the background which completely ruins the atmosphere. So I went back at sunrise.


    (Pic: Sunset over Florence from Piazella Michaelangelo)



    Tomorrow I'll post about Monteriggioni....
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  5. #5
    mrjakes's Avatar Junior Member
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    What ever happened to this guy. I was interested to see the rest of his posts...

    Oh wait! The Templars must have got him! Oh no! I guess he was too close to learning the truth...

    Guess I'd better cancel my Revelations tour of Istanbul. Following in the footsteps of an Assassin is just too dangerous.
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  6. #6
    SaintPerkele's Avatar Senior Member
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    Seriously, I can highly recommend visiting the cities from the AC series. I've been to Venice prior to AC2 and to Florence, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and Siena shortly after the release - although this was a mere coincidence, it was absolutely stunning to find places in the AC2-Venice I knew as well as discovering landmarks in the other cities I knew from the games (if you want to have some pictures, go ahead and ask).

    I didn't play Revelations yet. but I've been to Istanbul this summer; and from what I can see in gameplay videos, they perfectly recreated some of the buildings. Once again, I can only recommend this 'gaming' tourism. After these great experiences, either Rome, Mont St. Michel or Jerusalem and Acre are going to be my next destinations.
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  7. #7
    IntoxicEIGHT's Avatar Member
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    they really did a stunning job. I've gained a lot of respect from the developers after learning how similar they are from game to real life.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the developers release a video describing how they go about designing the in-game cityscapes.
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  8. #8
    KashifN's Avatar Junior Member
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    Hey Assassins - I'm sorry I didn't get round to updating this thread, but here goes with the next installment.

    BUT before I begin, I have to let you guys know that I played ACB first, and then AC1 and then AC2. So, at the time that I visited Italy I was only part way through AC2 and thus, didn't know the significance of some of the places I was visiting, or ignoring. E.g. my hotel was about 3 minutes walk from the Pitti Palace. I didn't visit the Pitti Palace during the visit but had I known that this is where Ezio assassinates one of the Savanarola's lieutenants in AC2 I would definitely have made time to check it out.

    So.. beyond Florence.

    A work colleague had spoken about the wonders of Siena to me so I decided to stop off at Siena for a day and since it's not too far from Monteriggioni I decided to go.

    Mistake!

    It was pouring buckets and Siena itself was small and a bit like a cheap man's Florence. If you are on a tight schedule I would suggest that you give this place a miss even though it does have some historic buildings and streets. Siena is also not on one of the main train lines in Italy so getting there can be a very slow process. But reach it I did and the first thing I wanted to know was, how do I get to Monteriggioni?

    It turns out that there is a bus that goes from Siena to Monteriggioni which you can catch from Piazza Gramsci. The journey took about 20 minutes at breakneck speed and cost only one Euro, and then finally you are there...



    Only to non-Assassins do these walls hold no meaning...



    You walk up a windy road once you get off the bus, turn a corner and then you see it, up on the hill a short distance away, the towers of Monteriggioni.

    It's a very small place but one which is well worth visiting if you're a fan of the game. When you walk outside it's walls you remember Ezio riding past on horseback. The view is almost identical to what is presented in the game and you really have to take your hat off to the development team - they've done a fantastic job of recreating the landscape, the mood and the environment.

    Inside, you are allowed access to two sections of the wall which you can scale (you have to pay a couple of Euros for the pleasure) and from which you can take in some spectacular views of the Tuscan country side. There are also some shops in the town which are worth visiting, and an old church too.

    There is a bit of a spoiler coming.....

    The villa doesn't exist at all! Boo! I was hoping there would be at least some semblance of a big villa at the north end of the town but the road just disappears into a hole in the wall which is the northern exit from the town! This was probably the most disappointing thing about the visit, but otherwise it was well-worth the half-day spent on this detour.

    Bus timetables can be accessed from here: http://www.sienamobilita.it/orari.html where you need to click the SERVIZIO EXTRAURBANO link and look for the bus 130 page.

    The bus also continues on to San Gimignano which I didn't visit.



    But a word of caution: it came to about 5.45pm and I went to the bus stop to wait for the bus to take me back to Siena. And waited and waited. The bus didn't come! I waited for nearly an hour before I gave up and ended up having to go back into Monteriggioni and ask the hotel to call a taxi for me which cost 30 Euro for the return trip :/

    In hindsight, I would suggest the following: whilst based in Florence, hire a car for the day and then visit San Gimignano and Monteriggioni; you won't be at the mercy of buses that may or may not turn up, and you'll also be able to see more of the Tuscan countryside, and most importantly, your schedule is of your own making.

    Also note, that there are regular bus services between Florence and San Gimignano. You can search for the right bus to take using this site: http://www.busfox.com/timetable/

    A few remaining things to mention. One guy in Monteriggioni told me that there are apparently quite a few people who visit the town solely because of the game! I also heard this from staff at places in Rome, so it seems as though there are many assassins out there paying homage in Italy

    I learned that one of the Ubisoft team who worked on the game had visited Monteriggioni just the week before I visited! It would have been nice to have met one of the team and tell them in person how much I liked their work.

    On an odd note, as I got talking to one of the staff in Monteriggioni, I said, "hey it would be great to see this place in some of the future Assassin's titles," and he looked at me in a funny way and said "I don't think THAT'S going to happen." When I pressed him for more info, he basically said something like the Mayor (or the governor, or whatever the title is) was a bit pi**ssed off at how Monteriggioni was portrayed in the game. For the life of me, I can't think why! The Ubisoft team made Monteriggioni beautiful in the game and I can't believe that they didn't like it.

    The only thing I could think was it might be because the game allows you to build a brothel in the town. In real life there is no way that you'd hide a brothel in a village as small as Monteriggioni. It also doesn't help that the brothel in the game is located a stone's throw away from where the church sits in the real town.

    Anyway, that's all for Monteriggioni, and it's onto Roma next. Here is a pic I took whilst leaving - unfortunately it didn't come out exactly as I wanted it to, but I still like it.




    PS. I am going to Istanbul in May
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  9. #9
    UrDeviant1's Avatar Senior Member
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    And then there's me, wondering around my hometown, imagining If my local Mc'donalds building Is climbable

    Lol, great pics man. I hope to see the ones you take when you go to Istanbul
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  10. #10
    f1palxuk99's Avatar Junior Member
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    hi there .there does not seem to be much information on the web about assassins italy . . .i am planning a trip my self with my son . thanks for your insights and do post more . . please ! . . . and you do you know any gameing tour websites?. . . surely there is a wider interest in a trip to see the town these games are based on . .the art work and mapping is amazing and we want to be there . . .if not back in time. .. or are we crazy ! my son was excited to see your pictures and is very excited . . .i was convinced i would find tour info online but hey seems rare.. . .do you have more on flikr or some where. . .open an assassins italy flikr group. so we more can be shared.
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