Che bella Bologna !

DSC05244I am sure that some of you to get to Siena land in Bologna. It is a great possibility to do sightseeing of the capital and the largest city of the Emilia-Romagna (also known as a place with a long tradition of openness towards diversity and minorities).

I like so much this city and can truly recommend you! Different then Siena, is bigger as well as very interesting because contains a wealth of important medieval, renaissance, and baroque artistic monuments.

Bologna developed along the Via Emilia as an Etruscan and later Roman colony. Because of Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, follow the grid pattern of the Roman settlement. The original ramparts were supplanted by a high medieval system of fortifications.

Attention attract medieval defensive towers. The most famous of the towers of Bologna are the central “Due Torri”.DSC05293

And for sure you can’t miss a main square Piazza Maggiore, that was created in its present appearance the 15th century.This beautiful square is surrounded by the Palazzo dei Banchi, Palazzo dei Notai, the Palazzo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podestà and the Basilica of San Petronio.

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What is more Bologna is enriched by its elegant and extensive porticoes. The famous porticoes are nominated as Unesco “world heritage site”! As you will see they make the city of Bologna unique in the world. Can you imagine that there are about 38 km of porticoes in the city’s historical centre?

DSC05285What is unique – lights and shadows, deep architectural perspectives, different columns and capitals create fascinating and extraordinary urban images. So don’t only miss them: The porticoes of Piazza Maggiore; The portico of the Baraccano Conservatory; The porticoes of Strada Maggiore; The portico of San Giacomo Maggiore and Via Zamboni; The porticoes of Piazza Santo Stefano; The wooden porticoes of Via Marsala; The commercial portico of Via dell’Indipendenza; The portico of San Luca (that is possibly the world’s longest).

DSC05234What not a lot of us know Bologna has been for centuries a town full of large vegetable gardens and secret gardens among the buildings, with walking spaces in the Montagnola Park and in San Michele in Bosco.  Thanks to the decision of Napoleon (in the early 19th century), Montagnola Park became the first public park in Bologna. The first park outside the city walls was the Margherita Gardens.

If you like shopping you should for sure pass the area now known as “Il Quadrilatero” (where the ancient trade guilds were based), the city’s most traditional commercial centre. It is enclosed by the main squares of the city – Piazza Maggiore, Piazza S. Stefano, P. Galvani, Minghetti, della Mercanzia, Porta Ravegnana and Re Enzo.

 I am sure that everyone of you will find something interesting in this city! And then only Sena bus or train to Siena.

Have a sunny and happy day! 🙂

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Palio 16.08.2014 !

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Lucky we that have a possibility to participate in another great day for Siena! Palio di Siena del 16 agosto 2014!

After very difficult entrance on Piazza del Campo and joining huge crowd of people we knew very well that the great event is coming!

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And everyone on Piazza del Campo also knew it that everyone of us was a witness of a great race, great rivalry, great excitement, great victory and great joy and fun. So what we could want more . . . !

Yesterday was a day of an amazing triumph of the hero – il fantino Andrea Mari and Contrada del CIVETTA that won Palio di Siena del 16 agosto 2014 and got an original Drappellone made by Ivan Dimitrov (dedicated to the Tuscan poet Mario Luzi)!

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From your E-mails I know that some of you have been yesterday in SIENA. I hope you had a priceless day and you got some unforgettable memories. And of course a big passion to come back to Siena soon!!

DSC05162For all of you especially these that didn’t have chance to be in Siena some photos !

So see you next Palio! Unfortunately we have to wait long time again. . . but of course we will! Con piacere!

And as always greetings from very sunny and very happy Siena!

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Palio 2.07.2014 !

DSC04690Just yesterday was a great day for Siena, big crowd of people, great race, great rivalry, great excitement, great victory and great joy and fun.

What is more is was very hot. However it wasn’t important. Can you imagine that some people were waiting hours on Piazza del Campo?!

DSC04738But what is obvious everything is worth for Palio! 🙂 that we are waiting for all year.
Yesterday we were witnesses to great triumph Contrada del Drago. It was a symbolic victory of il fantino from Siena Alberto Ricceri that won for Contrada del Drago il drappellone that commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Siena. As every year Palio in July is dedicated to the Madonna of Provenzano.

Maybe some of you have been yesterday in Piazza del Campo?!If no just look below!
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And I am already waiting for next Palio that is 16.08.2014 ! 🙂

Greetings from very sunny Siena!

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San Gimignano in the rain

DSCN3431If you have possibility to visit this small walled medieval hill town, don’t wonder too much! Just go! And it doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or rainy. This town has its unique beauty that it’s so good to discover. Weather is absolutely not important.

I had strong rain . . . but I don’t regret even for a moment! Was happy to be there and took some pictures for you. But it doesn’t change a fact that will go there one more time on sunny day.

At the beginning a bit of history . . . everything started in the 1st century, when two patrician brothers, Muzio and Silvio fled Rome and built two castles, Mucchio and Silvia (now San Gimignano). The name of Silvia was changed to San Gimignano. Then entered Bishop Geminianus with his intervention to spare the castle from destruction. As a result, a church was dedicated to the Saint and in the 6th and 7th centuries a walled village grew up around it. So like this in essence was formed this small and picturesque town.

As you will learn San Gimignano is known as the Town of Fine Towers and it’s famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form “an unforgettable skyline”. You can’t miss Piazza della Cisterna (that is the main square of the town), Piazza Duomo, and of course famous towers.

Within the walls, you can find the buildings that are examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The Palazzo Comunale, the Collegiate Church and Church of Sant’ Agostino contain beautiful frescos.

What is more the “Historic Centre of San Gimignano”, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The town also is known for the white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano. You can taste it and buy it there. Also if you are lover of small Tuscany shops with typical products as well as souvenirs for sure you will be not disappointed.

At the end some practical information about how to get there. Everything you can find here http://www.sienamobilita.it/orari.html. Bus number 130 departs every 40 minutes. The travel time is about 70 minutes. And single ticket costs 6 EUR.

So what are you waiting for?! 🙂 Don’t forget to add San Gimignano to your travel list.
In spite of all I wish you a sunny day there. But as I mentioned even rain doesn’t have an impact. This you can see below.

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All roads in Siena lead . . .

The answer can be only one. . . to Piazza del Campo! It is the main public area of the  history center. The heart of  Siena, that is located at the junction of three hills. For me the most glamorous square that I have ever seen.

Here we can’t avoid a bit of history I guess. You should know, that history center of Siena is embodiment of a medieval city. The city of Siena was built around Piazza del Campo – that developed before the thirteenth century.  Until 1270, the space of the future square was used for fairs and markets. Just precisely here population of Siena was gathering to attend events, tournaments and races. And like this is till today . . .Piazza del Campo is a stage of the most important citizens’ events and well-known all over the world PALIO of Siena (that takes place twice a year, on the 2nd July and on the 16th August).

Surely immediately you will notice the characteristic shape. Piazza del Campo has shell shape. The question is why . . . To learn the answer we have to move back to history. Such a shape was necessary to protect city in case of flood.

The style of buildings is another characteristic feature. Houses and palaces follow one another in rows along the main streets. That creates an unique urban space. The paving is made of red bricks. It all makes fabulous impression, like a fairy tale.

Certainly stands out the building of the Palazzo Pubblico (the seat of the communal government) and it’s gothic style of triple-arched windows. Inside in Museo Civico (http://www.comune.siena.it/La-Citta/Cultura/Strutture-Museali/Museo-Civico) you can admire precious frescoes. Ticket costs 8EUR  (without booking), 7,50 EUR (with booking).

There you have also a chance to enter Torre la Mangia (http://www.comune.siena.it/La-Citta/Cultura/Strutture-Museali/Torre-del-Mangia). Ticket costs 8 EUR. But if you decide to see Museo Civico and Torre la Mangia you will pay 13 EUR. The height of the tower is 87 meters and this you have to overcome on foot.

For sure, when you are on Piazza del Campo your attention will draw a masterpiece of 1419 by Jacopo della Quercia – the Fonte Gaia (“Fountain of Joy”). The fountain was built as an endpoint of the system of conduits bringing water to the city’s centre.  The fountain has a shape of a rectangular basin that is adorned on three sides with many bas-reliefs with the Madonna surrounded by the Classical and the Christian Virtues.

All around you can enjoy your meal and drink in one of the many restaurants. But I personally recommend you . . . sit on the paving, relax and admire the fabulous view.

And at the end one very important information. . .The historic center of Siena, in 1995, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

So now look below . . . and then come to visit this so special and picturesque place to ascertain that all roads in Siena lead to Piazza del Campo . . . at any time.

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