Mercato nel Campo 2014 !

DSC05853The best of the winter – Christmas is coming! Probably in your city you can see it all around. So do I, here in Siena. The history center’s streets are decorated with lights and with a big Christmas tree. This makes a great and unique atmosphere that attracts us to leave our houses in the evening! With pleasure!

And as I wrote last year good moments are passing so fast! But the most important is that they are coming again. Saturday 6th December and Sunday 7th December since 8 am till 8 pm, Siena hosted: Mercato nel Campo. Weather was really good and center of Siena in the incredible crowded! It was hard to move.

DSC05810As you already know (from last year :)) Mercato nel Campo is a modern market of tradition and excellence of Siena.
On Piazza del Campo were located over 140 sales counters. We had again a great possibility to admire arts of the local artisans that performed their work live and buy handmade goods and unique Christmas decorations.

DSC05836However we are in Italy and the most important here is of course food and eating. So the most occupied were food’s stalls. Sellers encouraged us to taste and purchase their products! It wasn’t hard because after tasting it was hard not to buy to taste more! Also amazing smell in the air made you for sure hungry! Typical products that is of course cheese (with pecorino ahead); wines; virgin olive oil; huge choice of honey; meats; sweets; pasta; marmalade . . .

DSC05835After food (couldn’t be inversely of course) we could pass the other part . . . of stalls. There mostly Christmas decorations so this what we need now the most! I wasn’t able to take my eyes off stalls! So we could get something that will remind us that Christmas is so close or something that will be a very nice gift!

These two days were again priceless . . . Now we are waiting for Christmas and for next Mercato nel Campo.DSC05856

Have a nice and sunny week ! 🙂

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One day in . . . Lucca !

Let’s say it . . . an autumn came to Siena. However lucky we, it is a very sunny autumn.

Maybe this can be a good time for doing sightseeing in Tuscany.
My suggestion for today is Lucca.DSC05779

This so picturesque city is situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is famous with Renaissance-era city walls (dated from the early 1500s) that will for sure attract your attention at the beginning. Do you know that the walls remained intact ? ! Now they are the best place to make a walk through a pathway surrounded by lots of trees and greenery. There are more than four kilometers of walls.DSC05775

But this beautiful city has much more to offer. You will see many medieval basilica-form churches in Lucca with rich arcaded façades and campaniles. For sure the most important are:

Duomo di San Martino that is surrounded by impressive medieval buildings and originally built in the 12th to 13th centuries;
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Church of San Michele in Foro that was built from the 11th through 14th centuries and has a large Romanesque façade. On the top you will see a statue of the archangel San Michele;DSC05735

Romanesque church of San Giusto;

Basilica di San Frediano which facade is decorated with an amazing 13th century Byzantine-style mosaic. Can you imagine that the church was originally built in the 6th century, however after was remodeled in the 12th;DSC05747

Church of Sant’Alessandro;

Church of San Michele.

DSC05757As every Tuscany city also Lucca has a big Piazza – Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro that was the site of a Roman amphitheater. Picturesque buildings all around were built during the middle ages. As you can easily guess it is a great place to take a break, relax and of course to drink a coffee. After this you can check many souvenirs shops.DSC05760

Don’t miss also Piazza Napoleone that is one of the biggest squares in Lucca and was designed by the sister of Napoleon in 1806.

If you like climbing and panorama views you should reach Guinigi Tower – one of Lucca’s 14th century towers. To see great views of Lucca it is necessary to overcome only 130 stairs. DSC05755

What is more and what you should know Lucca is a city of the famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini. That is why his home is now a museum with his piano, musical scores, and more Puccini memorabilia (Puccini House Museum).

If you like shopping you will be absolutely not disappointed. The historic city center of Lucca has many shops. A main shopping street is via Fillungo. Here you’ll find all kinds of shops, from food and wine to clothing and household items.DSC05768

As you can see it is impossible to get bored in Lucca – city that has a lot to offer for everyone.

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Ristorante Pizzeria Malborghetto!

There are such restaurants that you want to come back and eat there again as soon as possible. Isn’t like that?

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One of them is for me and can be also for you Ristorante Pizzeria Malborghetto (http://ristorantemalborghet.wix.com/malborghetto#!home/c21p) that I want to strongly recommend you today!

I know that for tourists the worst thing is looking for a restaurant especially when we are hungry. That is why you should reach there . . . Because why looking for when it is absolutely not necessary when you are in Siena.

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Ristorante Pizzeria Malborghetto
(Via di Porta Giustizia 6) is situated in the center of Siena, just behind Piazza del Campo, very close to Orto de’Pecci, in a charming and calm area. Only here you can admire unique and picturesque views such a for example Torre di Mangia.

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But let’s write about the food. Here you have an opportunity to taste a big variety of tasty dishes typical for Tuscany: starters; first and second courses (rich in meat and fish); see food specialties.

DSC04930It is obvious that you can’t miss here a possibility to enjoy an excellent Italian pizza. I can say without doubts that Malborghetto offers one of the best pizza in Siena. I personally recommend you my favorite one that is “Malborghetto” (with Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese, Truffle, Porcini Mushrooms, Grana Cheese).

You can also order and try Ciaccini or Calzoni ? It is of course your choice!

And this everything is with a big choice of local wines . . .

I am sure that you will be charmed by the interior of the restaurant like also by the abloom external part the best for me because of the view!

What is very important I can truly guarantee you that you will be very satisfied with management, chef and waitress that create very friendly atmosphere. DSC04956

At the end it remains nothing else like to wish you to spend some unforgettable moments in Ristorante Pizzeria Malborghetto!! 🙂

Buon appetito!

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Orto de’ Pecci !

DSC04434Today I want to show you another ”must to see” in Siena. One of my favorite because green and without crowd! However in the history center of Siena.

DSC04791Orto de’Pecci (http://ortodepecci.it/cms2/) is a piece of countryside so close to the Piazza del Campo as well as a piece of history from fourteenth century (that was passed through Porta Giustizia by those who were convicted under Justice). Until the closure of mental hospitals Orto was a part of dell’Ospedale Psichiatrico (about which I mentioned in post about Corte dei Miracoli http://justvisitsiena.com/category/corte-dei-miracoli/).

Today, spaces and activities are managed by the social cooperative La Proposal founded in 1983. Cooperative’s aim is to keep on their productive activities. What is more La Proposal has been certified since 2001 under the brand AIAB organic farming in the cultivation and production of vegetables.DSC04798

For sure Orto de ‘Pecci is an ideal space for everyone. You find here some relaxation! At the same time you have an unique possibility to see reconstructed medieval urban garden with many plants (inter alia plenty of lettuces, cabbages, grapes, turnips and onions).

Orto de ‘Pecci is also a great place to make a break for lunch. In its restaurant you will not find complex lists of food or wine lists, exactly like in country inns. Here you have an priceless opportunity to taste delicious dish of the day as well as house wine that has such a taste that is not easily forgotten.

DSC04436What is important according to a project of “social tourism” Orto de ‘Pecci is also for those who have some difficulties or disabilities. It makes a valley and Siena enjoyable for everyone.
Another project Fattoria Orto de ‘Pecci is for children who attend the kindergartens. In collaboration with the Cooperativa Sociale Camaleonde, in the spring are carried out laboratory activities and entertainment to give children the opportunity to make fun sensory experiences and manuals in close contact with nature.

Since 2004, the Orto de ‘Pecci is also inserted in the circuit of educational farms in the Province of Siena.DSC04435

So are you going to spend some moments in this picturesque place? 🙂 I highly recommend it !

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Siena And Stars !

Just yesterday Antonello Venditti opened, with “70th/80th … BACK TO THE FUTURE” “Siena and Stars”, the summer festival which for the second year is a combination of the beauty of Siena and quality of the show.

During this time until August 5 in the Tuscan town will give a concert many great guests inter alia: Goran Bregovic, Ambrogio Sparagna and the Orchestra Popolare Italian, Sonics, the dancers of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Rome Opera Flamenco, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava and Siena Jazz.

Beginning of festival with Antonello Venditti on Piazza del Campo (that exceptionally was with free admission) was a big party for Siena and gathered amazing crowd of fans.

Next unique opportunity will be for fans of Franco Battiato (Sicilian singer-songwriter) and will take place on 15th July in Piazza Duomo.

Program and more information about this big festival you can find here http://www.sienaandstars.com/it/#.U8DrG5SSxPI.

And at the end let me show you yesterday with such a huge crowd on Piazza del Campo!

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Have a sunny weekend 🙂 !

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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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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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