Posts made in September, 2010

Art at Castle of Ama

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At Ama castle in Chianti, where all energies are geared towards the search of all that is beautiful and good, as two sides of the same coin or destiny, a large collection of contemporary art has been created. Its history, indissolubly linked to the care of the vineyards, takes shape with the works of Pistoletto, Buren, Paolini, Geers, Kapoor and Zen. Every year Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti, together with Galleria Continua of San Gimignano, invite an artist to Ama and ask him or her to leave a trace. A friendship inevitably follows. The first installation, The Tree of Ama, dated 2000, by Michelangelo Pistoletto, stands on a landing of the stairs leading down to the old cellars. It is a tree of knowledge: through a fissure along its trunk, a series of mirrors...

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The Charterhouse of Pontignano

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The Charterhouse of Pontignano was founded in 1343 by the Protonotary Apostolic, Bindo Petroni. The external walls belong to the original 14th century structure, while the rest of the building was completely renovated in 1569, due to the serious damage sustained in the War of Siena. The entrance is through the late 16th century cloister, Chiostro delle Obbedienze, with arcades supported on pilasters. Under the portico, through a beautiful pietra serena doorway with late 15th century sculptural motifs, are the entrances to the church and to the second cloister. This smaller cloister, Chiostro dei Conversi, is formed by brick arcades supported on pietra serena columns with Ionic capitals, which can be dated to the 15th century. The monks’ cells face the last...

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Grape Harvest Season in Tuscany

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This is one of the most awaited times of the year in Tuscany, when the Vendemmia, grape harvest, is completed. We are in the middle of it. It usually starts in late September or during the first days of October and includes field labor, festivals and celebrations. The beginning of the harvest varies due to the climatic variations that each year bring grapes to ripen at different times. This is one of the crucial steps of wine-making. Chianti is the area in Tuscany that for centuries has been producing Chianti Classico wine. The area is among the best for wine growing, and is one of Tuscany’s most awarded territories. Wine making here is part of history. The Etruscans first, and the Romans after them, grew vineyards and produced wine in Chianti. Today the...

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Villa Vistarenni in Chianti

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Villa di Vistarenni, with its majestic facade, crowns the hill on which the road from Gaiole to Radda runs. The site was originally settled by the Etruscans: the name Vistarenni derives from the Etruscan-Roman name Herenna-Ius. In Medieval times the village grew along the important road which connected Badia a Coltibuono to Radda and continued to Castellina and the Val d’Elsa. “Fistarinne”, mentioned in a document in 1049, was a small group of houses, possibly surrounding a little church. Its few houses, belonging to share-croppers and small landowners, still in the records in the 15th century, disappeared in 1714 when Vistarenni was bought by the Pianigiani, who owned several holdings and villages in the area. This is when the large villa-estate...

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Seitan Fair in Arezzo

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Seitan is the gluten mass that with amids forms wheat flour. Remove the amid and you have pure seitan, also called wheat-wheat by some. Gluten is 70% proteins by mass, therefore it is considered a great alternative to meat. When cooking seitan you have to add spices to flavor it up, then you can cook it the same way you would with a piece of meat. And that is what they do at the Seitan Fair in Arezzo. With the help of two local vegan restaurants, the fair offers a vast choice of all kinds of vegan foods, from appetizer to desserts. Seitan based dishes are of course the protagonists. Before reaching the food stands there are many kiosks forming a small open market of animal health conscious products, like leather-free shoes and handbags. Among these are also some...

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