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 ! 🙂

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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Tutte le strade portano a Roma !

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Isn’t it so true that all roads lead to Rome !?

Very often also mine.

As I wrote in ‘’ how to reach Siena’’http://justvisitsiena.com/about-siena-2/how-to-reach-siena-2/ one of the possibilities to reach my city is taking bus or train from Rome. The travel takes about 3 hours.

DSC04262And I am sure that many of you use this opportunity to do sightseeing in the eternal city that is the capital of Italy.

Every time I can’t take my eyes off the symbols of Rome: The Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II; Piazza del Popolo; Spanish Steps & Trinita dei Monti; The Trevi Fountain; Bridge of Angels; the Colosseum; Castel Sant’Angelo; The Pantheon; Vatican City; Roman Forum. Do you have the same ?!DSC04257

Waiting for the Palio (16.08.2014) send you greetings and postcards from Roma !! 🙂

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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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A sunny Sunday in Livorno ! :)

DSC04337Today I want to show you some views from another for sure worth to visit place in Tuscany – Livorno! Everything is from last sunny and hot Sunday.

The port city of Livorno is Tuscany’s third largest city after Florence and Prato. However isn’t very popular with the crowds, what I really really like! The city lies on a series of wide canals. This gives an unique for Tuscany atmosphere. What is more compared to another Tuscan cities, Livorno is of ‘recent’ origins and can’t boast the same history.
Livorno was founded just over 400 years ago, and what you can see easily in many ways is so totally different from the rest of Tuscan towns.
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Since first sight became one of my favorite cities in Italy. Why is like that? It has everything what I like: sea, canals, picturesque port, small streets, no crowd of tourists, good places to eat/drink, friendly residents and priceless sunsets.

DSC04421From Siena you can reach Livorno easily by train. Travel lasts about 2h and single ticket costs about 10 EUR. From the train station Livorno Centrale there is a shuttle bus number 1 that takes you to the center and harbor (single ticket 1.20 EUR, on the board 1.70 EUR).

DSC04350As you will have the luck to be in Livorno you should see: Terrazza Mascagni, The lighthouse, The Port, “little Venice”, The Fortezza Vecchia and Nuova, The Central Market, excellent fish restaurants, Numerous neo-classical buildings, public parks, Historic churches, The Scali (Manzoni, D’Azeglio, degli Olandesi, dei Saffi, del Pontino, del Pesce and Rosciano), The Cathedral of S. Francesco and much more.

DSC04389I don’t think it is necessary to write more. Just only look below and discover this Tuscan treasure when you will have only such a possibility! I am coming there back for sure soon!:)
Have a happy and sunny Sunday!:)DSC04369


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Finding bliss in Italy with Genevieve Hassall

According to my post from 30th April today is second part of my collaboration with Genevieve Hassall. With pleasure I post today her memories from Italy.

Finding bliss in Italy

,,Travelling through Italy was the highlight of my most recent trip to Europe, as I was able to experience the big cities, quiet beach side towns and beautiful nature. I saw the stunning towns of the Italian Riviera and the cities steeped in culture further north.

I started in the idyllic seaside town of Levanto and then travelled to each stunning hamlet of Cinque Terre. Coming from Australia, I am used to beautiful beaches but Levanto is now my dream holiday destination for pure relaxation. Our Villa Clelia B&B host was wonderful and very friendly and the local community was very charming. English wasn’t as widely spoken, which I found refreshing.
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Cinque Terre was more touristy but undeniably gorgeous. I have never seen anywhere like it!

After relaxing on beautiful beaches, we moved north to Florence. Tuscany has to be my favourite region of Italy, I could have stayed so much longer! My only regret while staying in Florence was not visiting Siena. After a few weeks of travelling quite quickly, we were in need of some down time in Florence. I still dream about the beautiful boutiques in Florence! On my first visit to Florence I bought a beautiful wallet and three years later I still get compliments on it.florence

We only had a two-hour train stopover in Milan, which we used to see the Duomo and the very beautiful shopping mall (if you could call it that!) beside it. We stayed for a few nights in Verona and had another wonderfully accommodating B&B host and then spent a day in Venice.

veniceVenice is a must-see destination, but I have to say I preferred it in winter when it was more quiet. In September it was packed with American tourists, which was a little annoying. As a tourist myself, I can’t really complain. Not all Americans are noisy either, but the few that are make up for every other quiet tourists in town.

After Venice, we went to Rome. Rome is an impressive, very masculine city which is huge, sprawling and full of contrasts. I can appreciate Rome’s incredible history, but I prefer beautiful Florence which feels more feminine and quietly sophisticated.

Finally, we stayed in Sorrento, a gorgeous seaside town. From here we made day trips to Capri, Amalfi and Positano. The most blissful day of my life so far was spent on a boat sailing around Capri. It is hard to worry when you’re soaking up the beautiful sunshine, admiring the blue, green and white grottoes and jumping off the boat into the refreshing, deep blue ocean. I love the mosaic work throughout the south of Italy, particularly in Capri and Amalfi. It is easy to see why the region is known for la dolce vita and why it inspires thousands of travelers every year to visit these glamorous holiday destinations.

vernazza Although the towns and cities I visited were very different to each other, throughout Italy two things remain constant: The most delicious food and the most warm hospitality.

I will admit, I am not the biggest fan of “Italian” cuisine back home in Australia. Big pizzas and pastas full of too many toppings and heavy sauces leave me feeling bloated and overwhelmed.

In Italy, the food is perfect. Real Italian food is not as heavy and not as fatty. It is served in much better portions and every ingredient is of such high quality that they do not feel the need to shovel too many flavours into a dish. Small, family-run restaurants were the best.

Our Italian B&B hosts were wonderful ambassadors of their country. They were the friendliest, the most helpful and the accommodation rooms and food provided were the best of our entire trip. They were always amicable and happy to share their recommendations, drawing routes and the best local restaurants on our maps. Many even drove us to the train station at the end of our stay, loading our luggage into their small family car and making sure we made our train on time.

Italy is a destination for couples, friends and families. It brings out your inner foodie and feeds your inner fashionista. It’s hard not to fall in love with history in Rome or art in Florence. I challenge you to hold onto your worries while wandering the streets of Cinque Terre or stress about your diet as you sit down to eat in Levanto.

Italy brings out the best in everyone.
Genevieve shares her beautiful travel experiences on a budget on her blog, Wanderbug, http://www.thewanderbug.com Genevieve owns the photos in this post, Visit Siena has permission to use them.
She has also recently launched Global Gourmand, a new online destination for learning about food culture around the world. Global Gourmand is looking for contributors from around the world to talk about the best food in their country, region or city.
http://www.theglobalgourmand.com ‘’.