Concerto sinfonico per il 39° Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte !

DSC04964Saturday, on 2nd August at 21.30 was very worth to be on Piazza Duomo in Siena.
And again everything was because of music (this time classical music).

For the first time in the history of the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte di Montepulciano the final act of the show was held exceptionally in Siena.

It was for sure an amazing event – symphony concert with 180 musicians conducted by Roland Böer on the occasion of the 39th International Art Workshop in support of the candidacy of Siena for European Capital of Culture 2019(http://www.2019si.eu/index.php/en/). That is why it was important to share the common goal of promoting a new European cultural perspective. Don’t forget that Siena is a candidate city for European Capital of Culture 2019. What you should know the verdict of the jury will be announced in October. So keep your fingers crossed for SIENA !

DSC04962Our city was during the day surprised by some applauded flash mob organized by the team of Siena 2019 as well as performances of artists and musicians in various corners of the city.DSC04961

What is more during the concert audience got another surprise from FunDanza family (a cultural association that for 10 years worked for spreading hip hop culture in Siena) that showed an original dance performance to classical music.

I am convinced that Saturday evening was the unique act of union for everyone who had a possibility to be there.
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Send an unique postcard !

Postcard from http://www.lettr.co/L3KS1hxrrEFqZg !

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What is the best souvenir from your travel?
For me personally photos and postcards . . . that can stay with us forever and remind us amazing moments from travel.
What a priceless happiness is to get a postcard from all around the world, isn’t it?!

This everything you can have because of http://www.lettr.co/L3KS1hxrrEFqZg that I want to promote on my blog. Why? Because their idea for me to send such a unique postcard is great !

Just only think how many postcards you bought in your past and you haven’t sent.
Lettr gives you an amazing opportunity to send a postcard from all around the world and what is more without pen and stamp !DSC04448

It is a postcard of the 21st century that allows you to send memorable souvenir with your own photo as easy as sharing it online. What is more it still keeps that very personal touch of a traditional postcard – sender’s handwritten signature.
Back side of your postcard includes a message, map with location (that shows a place where postcard was created-localization service provides authenticity of the place) and what is more with your own signature.
So everything like you know it from a traditional postcard however adapted to the modern style of our life.DSC04445

After your postcard is created online on the smartphone/laptop, it is sent to Lettr center. Then specially designed application sends order to the closest place of the final destination. And be sure that Lettr takes care of express printing and delivery.

Your postcard is printed on traditional paper. The same one as travelers are used to send by local post service. But what is important delivery time is usually 2-3 days instead of 2-3 weeks. Isn’t it great?!

Frankly speaking I have enough of situation when my friends got postcard from my travel after I came back home. . . and I think that the same you have.
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Payment for postcard (just only $2.50) is secure and convenient. You can choose from type of payment that you prefers (credit card, debit card or PayPal). You don’t have to buy a stamp and then look for a mailbox.

Here is how does it work:
1. Upload your own unique travel photo.

2. Then write a personal story or greeting.

3. Using your tablet, sign your name or draw a handwritten signature or picture – a wonderful way to add a personal touch and bring back a bit of traditional communication.

4. Sign in to Facebook and select the friends you want to send it to or just write an address of your recipients. And your work here is done! If you use simple Facebook sign-in, and select recipients from your social network, don’t worry about addresses or stamps, that’s not your job! (if you choose this way your chosen contacts will be invited to Lettr to tell where to send the personal postcard you’ve sent).

5. You get back to your travels, and Lettr gets to work! They print your postcard on hand-picked paper and quickly deliver it anywhere in the world.

So isn’t it high time to change our old habit!? It is your choice! To send your postcards from a comfortable sunny place or your favorite one just in a snap of finger (and then continue relaxing) or to choose traditional way with postcard bought in shop, pen and searching for post box.DSC04437

I have already sent my postcard with Lettr and I brightened someone’s day. So trust me, it really works ! Now your turn! You can always send it to Visit Siena! As well as from Siena!
What is more first 10 postcards are for free !

I wish you many unforgettable moments during your travel !

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Mercato di Piante e Fiori !

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For everyone who loves flowers! 20140511_160413

This event takes place of course in sunny Siena, in the gardens around the Fountain of San Prospero along the walls of the Fortezza Medicea.
Mercato di Piante e Fiori we had a chance to see yesterday. However it will be held also today – Sunday 11 May (from 9 to 19.30 o’clock).

20140511_160319This year it is the fifth edition of the market of plants and flowers organized by the Società Toscana di Orticultura- non-profit association that is always engaged in the promotion of excellence through gardening classes, tours, lectures.
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Just here you have a great opportunity to see and (what is more) also to buy: the roses of Barni, the clematis of the Magi, orchids Corazza , citrus Lenzi , the cactus ERMINI , the aromatic Pischedda and Courtiers , blooms grade Fabiani , the plants outside the nursery of the Times of Siena. And much more!

DSC04006It is not surprising that this event is (as in previous years) very successful and gathers crowds of residents of Siena as well as a lot of tourists.20140511_160357

So if you are today in Siena or in Tuscany, you should be around the Fountain of San Prospero! If you are not see you next year! 🙂

Have a sunny and happy Sunday ! DSC04007
And by the way Happy Mother’s Day !!
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Prodotti tipici !

DSC03871This time is something about Siena’s typical food on request Genevieve Hassall (www.thewanderbug.com) that started her second website Global Gourmand (www.theglobalgourmand.com). The aim of this website is to help travellers before a trip, to discover the food of the place. In her E-mail she asked me to write a guest post about the food in Siena.
For me it is a great idea. I know that all of you know very well Italian pasta, pizza, coffee or gelato. However knowledge about Siena’s delicacies is not so common. What is more it is very useful to have this knowledge when you are here. So let’s start!

1. Ricciarelli di Siena

DSC02029Ricciarelli are biscuits with origin in the Tuscan city of Siena dating to the 14th century. According to legend they were introduced by Ricciardetto della Gherardesca in his castle near Volterra.
But let’s come back to the present and our reality! What’s the recipe? And here lucky me! My favorite almond is a main ingredient. Thus the unique biscuits are made using an almond base with sugar, honey and egg white. Traditionally almonds are ground with a milling machine. After this they are formed into mostly oval-shaped cookies, and then are left for 2 days to be baked. Their surface is usually lightly sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
Yes they are sweet, but I can guarantee you that one biscuit will be not enough for you. Only their price (small box costs about 6EUR) or calories (about 500 kcal per 100 gr) can stop you but maybe it will be not a big deal for you. The best for sure is a soft heart of Ricciarelli that melts in your mouth. Welcome to the seventh heaven!

Formally time for Ricciarelli is Christmas . . . but if you are in Siena you will notice that their best time is ALWAYS.

2. Pici di Siena

Pici – type of hand-made pasta, similar to spaghetti but larger and for me much tastier that originates in the province of Siena.DSC02233
The recipe is extremely simple: water, flour and very little, if any, egg. The taste is other than normal pasta and a bit hard to describe. But you know what . . . it is not necessary to describe. It is better that you become convinced of its amazing taste alone!
You can eat this pasta at a variety of ways i.e.: briciole – with breadcrumbs; aglione – with spicy garlic tomato sauce (my favorite); boscaiola – with porcini mushrooms; ragù – a meat based sauce.
Pici you can buy in Siena everywhere – supermarkets or small shops. It is more expensive then another pasta (even four times) but is unique and I am sure you can’t find it in your place! That’s why you should find it here! Price per 500 grams is about 2-3 EUR. How I convinced recently it is also possible to get truffle Pici.

3. Panforte di Siena

DSC02282Panforte di Siena – is another our local delicacy, also the most popular in Christmas time but available throughout the year.
Panforte is called as a traditional Italian dessert that contains fruits (for example candied orange and cedro peel) and nuts (mostly my almonds). It is derived of course from Siena. Can you imagine that from 13th century. It is like tasting history! What is more ‘’(…)documents from 1205 show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February that year(…)’’(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panforte).
Panforte (literally “strong bread”) has very characteristic look – thick and dense cake. And it seems hard to prepare. But as everything to eat in Italy it is simple to make (fortunately)!
Thus sugar is melted in honey and various nuts, fruits and spices are mixed together with flour. This everything is then baked in a flat pan. So easy, isn’t it? The taste is for me unique and totally priceless. For sure the most impact have spices and perfect quantity of ingredients. In Siena it is sometimes said that Panforte has to have seventeen different ingredients that reflects the number of Contrade.
Here as you will for sure notice our Panforte occurs in a variety of sizes, tastes and wrappings. That is why price is different. Certainly it is not a cheap tidbit! But as you can guess for sure it is worth its price! What is more you shouldn’t even consider how much you have to pay! Then you can enjoy the uncommon taste with for example cup of coffee or glass of wine!
Trust me without it you shouldn’t leave Siena.

4. Il Panettone!

Il Panettone is tradition for Christmas and New Year. DSC02794
It is sweet bread loaf from Milan and is a symbol of this city. But it is popular not only in Italy but also, inter alia in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Peru, Malta, Germany and Switzerland!
As I wrote the cake is derived from Milan, from the time of Ludovico il Moro, and it is still produced according to the 500 years ago. In Milan until 900 were among many bakers and confectioners to produce the cake, but today large industrial firms that are located in Italy produce il Panettone. However in Milan are still many artisans who produce a cake according to the traditional recipe.
Il Panettone has characteristic shape (cupola shape) and packaging (1kg weight, in tall decorated boxes).
Unfortunately preparing process lasts long and involves the curing of the dough (made with water, flour, butter, eggs) which is acidic. The proofing process takes some days and gives the cake its characteristic fluffiness.
The best what you can find is of course inside: candied fruits(citron, orange); raisins ; lemon zest as well as chocolate. The result is commonly referred panetton CANDIO.
What is more here and there il Panettone can be served with crema di mascarpone.
Panettone you can find easily in supermarkets or smaller shops. You should only remember that cake is generally only available seasonally.
Then only get your slice of this dainty and enjoy the great taste with a glass of sweet wine (for example Asti or Moscato d’Asti) or sweet hot beverages.

5. Chianti

DSC03089Wine that is produced in the Chianti region, is extending roughly over the two main city provinces of Florence and Siena. And certainly it is known around the world.
Can you imagine that the earliest documentation of a “Chianti wine” dates back to the thirteenth century!? Just then merchants in the nearby townships of Castellina, Gaiole and Radda formed the Lega del Chianti that was formed to produce and promote the local wine.
What is more and probably you don’t know is the fact that the earliest incarnation of Chianti was as a white wine. And by the eighteenth century, Chianti was widely recognized as a red wine.
By the late twentieth century, Chianti was often associated with basic Chianti sold in a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, called a fiasco. However, during the same period, a group of ambitious producers began working outside the boundaries of DOC regulations to make what they believed would be a higher quality style of Chianti. Important here was year 1984, in which Chianti obtained the denomination D.O.C.G. (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita) which is the highest type of protection and recognition for quality Italian wines.
You can’t miss occasion to try Chianti Classico – premium Chianti wines that tend to be medium-bodied with firm tannins and medium-high to high acidity. Floral, cherry and light nutty notes are characteristic aromas with the wines expressing more notes on the mid-palate and finish than at the front of the mouth.
Since 1996 the blend for Chianti and Chianti Classico has been 75-100% Sangiovese, up to 10% Canaiolo and up to 20% of any other approved red grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah. Since 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia and Trebbiano have been prohibited in Chianti Classico that must have a minimum alcohol level of at least 12% with a minimum of 7 months aging in oak.
So now it only remains to enjoy the taste of this Tuscan treasure!

6. Cavallucci di Siena and Cantuccini

These are another (characteristic for Christmas) so popular in Siena pastry made with anise, almonds, candied fruits, coriander, and flour. It has an Italian origin which translates approximately to “Little Horses”. What is more traditionally is used Tuscan millefiori honey as an essential element for the biscuits.
The history of Cavallucci dates back to the 16th century. Many theories are associated with the origin of its name. According to the most popular version of the story, Cavallucci was served to travelers on horseback as a source of nourishment for long trips.
On the other hand different versions have said that these sweets were the usual snack of servants who worked in horse stables of rich Italian aristocrats, in a city which gained its fame for horse racing.
Strong relationship with the horse emphasizes the fact that these cookies were originally imprinted with the image of horse.
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Cantuccini are twice-baked cookies originating in the Italian city of Prato. The biscuits are oblong-shaped almond biscuits, made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven.
And the most important is as always the recipe. Ingredients are: flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts; and almonds that are not roasted or skinned. What is more the traditional recipe uses no form of yeast or fat. After a dough is cooked twice: once in slab form, and after cutting in sliced form, with the second baking defining how hard the biscotti are. And then is the biggest pleasure – taste. Cantuccini can be served after dessert with orange juice or with one of Tuscan wines. But also with coffee. Your choice!

For me and I guess not only, travel isn’t just only sightseeing. It is also (how important) tasting the place that we visit. It is priceless to relish local, typical goodies as well as to buy and take some of them home. Isn’t it a great souvenir?
So what remains? Wish you buon appetito! Especially here in Siena!

Magdalena
http://justvisitsiena.com/

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Vino o caffè? Caffè o vino?

DSC03089And it doesn’t want to be different in Italy! Anyway today will be Vino and special one! Of course special for Tuscany!

As you can guess . . . it will be Chianti that is produced in the Chianti region, extending roughly over the two main city provinces of Florence and Siena. And certainly it is known around the world.

Can you imagine that the earliest documentation of a “Chianti wine” dates back to the thirteenth century!? Just then merchants in the nearby townships of Castellina, Gaiole and Radda formed the Lega del Chianti that was formed to produce and promote the local wine.
What is more and probably you don’t know is the fact that the earliest incarnation of Chianti was as a white wine. And by the eighteenth century, Chianti was widely recognized as a red wine.

By the late twentieth century, Chianti was often associated with basic Chianti sold in a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, called a fiasco. However, during the same period, a group of ambitious producers began working outside the boundaries of DOC regulations to make what they believed would be a higher quality style of Chianti. Important here was year 1984, in which Chianti obtained the denomination D.O.C.G. (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita) which is the highest type of protection and recognition for quality Italian wines.

You can’t miss occasion to try Chianti Classico – premium Chianti wines that tend to be medium-bodied with firm tannins and medium-high to high acidity. Floral, cherry and light nutty notes are characteristic aromas with the wines expressing more notes on the mid-palate and finish than at the front of the mouth.

It is necessary for me to give you some interesting information about ingredients . . . that probably you don’t consider a lot when you taste this unique wine.
Since 1996 the blend for Chianti and Chianti Classico has been 75-100% Sangiovese, up to 10% Canaiolo and up to 20% of any other approved red grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah. Since 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia and Trebbiano have been prohibited in Chianti Classico that must have a minimum alcohol level of at least 12% with a minimum of 7 months aging in oak.

At the end the most important is where to get it. What is obvious Chianti you can find in Tuscany (here in Siena) almost everywhere . . . from supermarkets, bars, restaurants to wine shop. You can also taste it in such a places like for example Cacio & Pere, about which I mentioned some time ago 🙂 http://justvisitsiena.com/category/cacio-pere/ .

So now it only remains to enjoy the taste of this Tuscan treasure! You have for sure a big choice . . . you can try for example 🙂 :

You can also visit very small and how picturesque Castellina in Chianti . . .

And then there is only one word – Salute!

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Around Porta Tufi . . .

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What was last time ? Orto Botanico of course!

So here is such a small suggestion from my side. If you are there, you shouldn’t miss occasion to check area around Porta Tufi that is located on Strada dei Tufi. There is so beautiful! Especially in Orti dei Tolomei.

Porta Tufi was built in 1325-1326 with the last walls and is attributed to Agnolo di Ventura. Brick, has an embattled cornice hanging arches resting on Guelph and three round-arched openings.

I like so much this place, so green and so calm. And what is more . . . with such priceless views!

Now let me show below you with big pleasure some photos from today’s walk.

Siena è così bella ! 🙂

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Orto Botanico dell’Università di Siena

DSC03011Maybe after sightseeing all attractions in Siena that are mostly crowded, you will need small rest in peaceful place. Such a place I can recommend you with pleasure! That will be for sure our Orto Botanico – a botanical garden that is opened daily without charge (from Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 15.00; on Saturday from 08.00 to 12.30; closed on Sunday).

It is situated within the medieval walls of the city, making it a border to the south, more precisely in the side of the valley of S. Augustine.
This whole place in slope, made of winding paths , small pools , rock caves and a spongy medieval source, is an oasis of peace and tranquility.

The Botanical Museum of the Department of Life Sciences was established in 2007, according to the Statute of the Department of Environmental Sciences “G. Sarfatti “and includes: Herbarium and Botanical Garden, founded in 1856.
However it’s history dating back to 1588 when the University of Siena began to raise medicinal herbs. In 1856 the garden moved to its present location, that is Via P. A. Mattioli, 4.

Just here you will find rectangular flower beds, along with old specimens of exotic and local plants. A farm area grows fruit, olive trees and vines of the main Chianti grapes.
Also here are exposed indigenous and exotic plants for educational, informational and scientific.
To help the visitor to the recognition of plants accommodated is facilitated by special labels – white and yellow for the native plants to exotic ones – who bear the scientific name and common name and provide any information about the family to which they belong and the areal distribution .

If you reach this place you will ascertain how priceless is there. And how much it can offer you! To get some rest, relax and forget about reality. You will be for sure fascinated with the beautiful views of Tuscany area. And what is more . . . you will be lucky because separated from daily rush and crowd. Here almost no people! Why is like that . . . maybe because local people are at work at this time and tourists don’t know about it !
Ok, so maybe a small break in Orto Botanico? 🙂 Just only look below. . .

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Loggia della Mercanzia

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As I mentioned in another post (http://justvisitsiena.com/2013/10/28/all-roads-in-siena-lead/) all roads in Siena lead to Piazza del Campo. And for sure also your when you are here and follow via Banchi di Sopra or via Banchi di Sotto. The second one is a shorter route than the other, but has a special charm. That is because it surrounds part of the’ shell ‘of the Piazza del Campo. And this you can see from the small city alleys. Just here on the back of Piazza del Campo, you will find an elegant Loggia della Mercanzia, another symbol of the beauty of Siena (now it is a seat of del Circolo degli Uniti). This interesting place was designed by Sano di Matteo and built between 1417 and 1428.

The lodge consists of three arches. Certainly will attract your attention five statues placed here in the middle of the fifteenth century: S. Savino Federighi, S. Peter Vecchietta, S. Ansano, S. Victor, S. Paul Vecchietta.

Under the loggia you should note the two beautiful pallets: one, Federighi, and the other of Urban da Cortona. They are clearly visible in both secular scenes (beautiful Hercules and Omphale forming the arms of the right and Sphinxes with the same function in the left).You can’t also miss frescoes that adorn this masterpiece (by Pastorino of Pastorini and Lorenzo Brazzi).

What is more The Circolo degli is now hosted nalle Logge is the oldest exclusive club of noble Italian history and perhaps the EU. It was founded November 13, 1657.

So I want to wish you a nice sightseeing as always. However today I will not write you don’t miss this place because I am sure you will not miss when you will be going to spend some time in the heart of Siena – on Piazza del Campo!

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