Posts made in June, 2009

Palio of Siena: 4 Days of Passion

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A passion that started during the Thirteenth century, the Palio of Siena has arrived to our days with a tremendous amount of tradition and history, and more than ever the Sienese people show their passion for it. There are two yearly editions, one on July 2nd, and one on August 16th. Each edition is preceded by four days of festivities, dinners, chants, test runs on the Piazza del Campo square, and the entire city center is adorned with the typical colors of each “contrada” or district. The Piazza del Campo assumes an even more medieval aspect, with the stone ring all covered with a thick layer of “tufo” the typical dirt around Siena, so that horses do not hurt their ankles running on it. The sides of the square are all covered with wooden...

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Lunigiana Castles in Tuscany - Malaspina di Terrarossa

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The Castle Malaspina di Terrarossa in Lunigiana is among the fortifications erected with the precise aim to control the traffic at the bottom of the valley. The settlement develops along the Via Francigena and was started during the Twelfth century. The large fortified palace was built four centuries later, during the second half of the Sixteenth century, by Fabrizio Malaspina, the first Marquis of Terrarossa. After the death of his only male descendant, Fabrizio Malaspina sold the castle to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, who in 1628 gave it to Bernabò Malaspina di Filattiera. The imposing building is one of the largest Malaspina residences. It is built on a square plant and fitted with four corner bastions. However, not all the bastions are completed, as other...

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Mozart’s Magic Flute at San Galgano Abbey

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On June 27, 2009, organized during the Opera Festival series, Mozart’s Magic Flute was performed in the fantastic setting of the San Galgano Abbey near Siena. Arriving at the location alone is a fantastic experience. You approach the abbey from afar and you see the ruins of this wonderful Gothic church that in the middle ages was one of the richest and most prestigious places in Tuscany. The roof does not exist anymore, and through the circular window of the facade, common to all Gothic churches, you can see the sky. The three naves have a floor made of grass, while all the arches supporting the roof are also missing. Restored for the last time at the beginning of the 20th century, the abbey is a gorgeous location for opera. When the first notes of...

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Discover The Artisan Soul of Florence

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The last two generations may have learnt that with industrial manufacturing all things are made in series with machinery. This is comprehensible as in the past those who invented these machines took great pride in boasting about their capability to surpass man-made objects for productivity and perfection of execution. Fortunately with time we have come to understand that things are not exactly this way, and that artisans are fundamental to keep alive the beauty of things that reflect our human state of being. Still in 2009, not all things are industrialized. The industrial revolution has completely skipped the Oltrarno district of Florence. Oltrarno is called “the other Florence”, that of popular traditions and of artisan workshops, one that unleashes...

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Etruscan Tracks

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Who wants to get to know the Etruscan side of Tuscany will enjoy a tour through the towns and villages that were founded by them. A fascinating journey to Volterra, Fiesole, Arezzo, Populonia, to name a few, on a path of art, history and landscape. According to the description by Dionysius Halicarnassus, the greek historian, the Etruscans were an ancient and unique people, without no language and lifestyle affinity with other people. The term Etruscan indicates a population that lived in Etruria, between the 9th and the 3rd century B.C. The Etruscan civilization represents one of the most important cultures in Italy and throughout the Mediterranean basin. After departing from the region delimited by the rivers Arno and Tiber, to which they gave the name (Tuscia),...

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