Posts made in August, 2010

Chianti Sculpture Park

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The Chianti Sculpture Park is Piero Giadrossi’s dream come true: after visiting a sculpture exhibition in Cape Town’s botanical gardens, he decided to recreate that magical dialog between art and nature in the thirteen hectares of woodland that he had bought in Chianti. Supported by a Sienese artistic committee, he began to invite artists to get familiar with the environment and propose a work of art. There was no specific theme or thread: every artist was encouraged to create a site-specific project, a work forming a strong and direct relationship with its environment. The artists have gone beyond the use of traditional materials, choosing the most diverse expressive media. Glass was used for two works. “The Blue Bridge” by the Danish...

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Florence Tour Quick Itinerary

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Following the first Florence tour itinerary, here is a second suggestion that will get you going in Florence for a day or two. If you feel a little overwhelmed by the city’s amount of things to do and see, this will be a nice suggestion to follow and focus on not-to-be-missed sights. Start in Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral’s Square. Enter inside the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, a 1289 project by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio, while the facade is from the 19th century by De Fabris. The feeling of stark majesty pervading the interior is enhanced by the oversize pillars Each chapel includes famous paintings by Quattrocento and Renaissance artists like Paolo Uccello and Vasari. The remarkable dome was projected by Brunelleschi, while the crypt of...

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Castle of Ama Wine

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In 1972 four families from Rome bought the Castle of Ama, replanting a good part of its 55 hectares of vineyards. The objective was to produce a Chianti that could compete with the most prestigious wines. The fermentation cellar was completed in 1979 with a conception so advanced that it is considered to this day a model cellar. In 1982 the technical management of the estate was handed to the young agronomist Marco Pallanti, now one of Tuscany’s most respected oenologists, acclaimed as “Winemaker of the year” in the Guida dei Vini d’ltalia 2003 published by Gambero Rosso and Slow Food. Ten years of careful research have singled out the potentials of the land in order to optimize the production.The subdivision of the plots into smaller...

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Basing Yourself in Tuscany

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Where should I base myself in Tuscany? If you are thinking of visiting Tuscany there is a high chance for this question to pop in your mind. The answer is not based on one single factor. There a number of aspects that come into play. Your base in Tuscany will be located depending on the sights you want to visit (categorize, prioritize, then choose). A guide book, or an online travel guide will help you decide your focus area. Think about how many daytrips you will take according to your length of stay. Take a look at these destinations, then pick a central area convenient to all your trips. You should also consider your means of transportation. Are you going to be visiting countryside places? Then you will need to rent a car. However, if driving is not your treat...

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The Battle of Montaperti, Siena vs Florence

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lo strazio e ’l grande scempioche fece l’Arbia colorata in rosso Dante Alighieri (Inferno: canto X vv. 85-86) 750 years ago, almost to date, one of the most cruel battles between Siena and Florence was fought in Montaperti, near Siena. Dante in the Divine Comedy describes the battle of Montaperti as “The havoc and the great slaughter, which dyed the Arbia red” (see quote). It was the bloodiest defeat suffered by the Florentines in the wars against Siena. Celebrated in Sienese historiography as the worst humiliation inflicted upon Florence, then one of the richest and most powerful cities in Italy, today it is no longer considered by historians a true battle, but rather an ambush on the Florentine army marching towards Montalcino. After an initial...

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