The Cathedral of Siena: from 6 April the “Cathedral sky” will be open to visitors

sottotetto duomo The Cathedral of Siena: from 6 April the “Cathedral sky” will be open to visitors

It took months of work but on  April the 6th the Cathedral of Siena opens its attics that were never opened to the public.
With an experienced guide you walk  spiral staircases almost hidden from visitors’ view and  in small groups you are taken over the vaulted stars of the right aisle. From there it begins a journey where view range from inside to outside the cathedral. You can visit Ulisse De Matteis windows with the representation of the Apostles and the gallery where you can admire the view on the main altar. From the left aisle  visitors can admire a breathtaking view of the Basilica of San Domenico, the Medici Fortress and the entire cupola of St. John the Baptist.
Much more is to discover if you decide to  participate in an event of historical and emotional impact like no other, organized by Opera – Civita Group
For information  www.operaduomo.siena.it

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March 19th – Father’s Day.

A special greeting to all daddies in the world from Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie!

 

2580 festa del papa2 March 19th   Fathers Day.

In Italy and in many other Catholic countries, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19th, the day dedicated to St. Joseph, Jesus ‘father. Being a model of devoted husband and father, St. Joseph is also recognized as a protector of orphans,  poor and bachelors.
For Anglo-Saxon peoples this special day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June and has no religious facet. In some Monarchies Father’s Day coincides with reigning king’s birthday, while in other countries the date is associated with the celebration of men who had a significant role in the history (in Russia, for example, the festival coincides with the one dedicated to the defenders of the country).

Father’s Day has pagan traditions origin. March 19th is a date  very close to spring equinox when, in ancient Rome, people dedicated Baccanali to Bacchus. The other tradition was to burn previous  harvest residual as a rite of purification. In some regions this tradition is still widespread.

Each region of our country celebrates St. Joseph with a typical sweet as bignè, donuts  or “zeppole”…. Siena have the tasty “ frittelle di riso”(small sweet balls made of rice)…. but we’ll talk about the recipe next time!

Source: Wikipedia

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DISCOVER SIENA CONTRADE THANKS TO #UNTERZOCIASCUNO

Write about Siena  where I was born and grown up should have been a very easy operation but nothing could be harder for me!

If it is true that human beings are made of history and environment,  in the blood of  Sieneses flows “Contrada” . Many of you may think of the sheer excitement of a Sienese who wants to beatify her city and its citizens but it is not true. If you’re reading this post as future visitors, my intent would be to open your eyes to things that are not visible and clear at first glance. The Contrade of Siena have mutual tasks from their early days, they were the reference point of a community that, in old times  identified itself with a trade corporation that lived and worked in a specific area within medieval city walls, what you can identify as “neighborhood.”  Siena  is devided in 17 parties (Contrade) and each of them is the reference point for Siena citizens of all ages. Each contrada has  a headquarters where carry  out activities all year round: a bar, fully equipped kitchens, green spaces, and then museums, churches … all survive thanks to the volunteers. If that  is not enough,  think  that the Contrade  intervene in protection of monuments within their territory, the defense of pushovers. The beauty and richness of their sites and museums is immeasurable and therefore I recommend you a guided tour. The visit must be booked  in advance and the cost is ridiculous for the experience that will derive.

Thanks to blogtour organized by Borgo Grondaie #unterzociscuno I had the honor to visit two Contrade and their museums. The photos that I show you are a small summary! 

 

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THE MAJESTY PAINTED BY DUCCIO. SIENA. Opera del Duomo

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Today we are going to speak about  wonderful Majesty  painted by Duccio Buoninsegna.  This great artist was able to melt the precious Byzantine style with the French Gothic.

The Majesty of Duccio was commissioned in 1308 to be placed above the High Altar of the Cathedral of Siena. On June 9th 1311, all the enthusiastic citizens carried the Majesty in procession from Duccio’s laboratory to the Cathedral.

The first thing that draw the attention is its complexity.
The great altarpiece was painted on both sides. On the front, which faced the nave, there was the representation of Our Lady seated on the Throne with Child, surrounded by angels and saints. The first four kneeling saints are the patrons of Siena: Ansano, Savino, Crescenzio and Vittore. On the other side, on the back, Duccio painted 26 panels which represented the Passion and Resurrection of Christ (among these the biggest panel is dedicated to the Crucifixion).
The altar piece was originally decorated with a wooden strip (with stories of Jesus’ childhood and life) and a gothic crowning (gable) describing life scenes of Virgin Mary and Christ. In 1505, the Majesty was moved to the altar of S. Sebastian and in 1771 the masterpiece was cut to separate the front side from the back and remove other panels. During this operation  the Gothic frame was destroyed. In 1878 the Majesty, so sectioned, left the Cathedral and was definitively transferred to the Opera del Duomo Museum in Siena, where it still lies today. Unfortunately, during this transfer, some panels were lost and others “traveled” towards foreign museums and collections.
With the Majesty Duccio completed his painting experience on the thirteen century and he became a source of inspiration and a teacher for the following century.

Source:” Tutta Siena Contrada per Contrada” by  Pietro Torriti

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THE MAJESTY of SIMONE MARTINI. PUBLIC PALACE – SIENA

003 lippo memmi theredlist THE MAJESTY of SIMONE MARTINI. PUBLIC PALACE   SIENA

The Majesty of Simone Martini inside the Public Place of Siena is by sure one of the masterpiece of 14th Century.

Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie has already posted articles regarding the Public Palace and its beauties  and  the cycle of frescoes painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Inside the PublicPalace there is a beautiful room called “Mappamondo (World Map Hall)” , the place where the Grand Council Of Nine Delegates met. The room takes its name from a work unfortunately lost. It was a rotating disc made of wood and parchment on which Ambrogio Lorenzetti painted a map representing all the possessions of Siena. Now it remains only the signs on the wall that the rotator motion produced. Under these signs, it’s possible to see the remains of a fresco painted by Duccio.

 

In this room the work that better represents the political mindset of the Government of Nine is definitely the Majesty of Simone Martini, completed and signed in 1315 (restored later, in 1321). The fresco is one of the most lofty masterpiece of all Gothic painting in Siena.
Under a canopy supported by eight apostles, the Virgin Mary and Child sit on the throne surrounded by angels, saints and other apostles. The large band that frames the composition includes 20 medallions with figures of Christ, prophets, and evangelists. In the Court that surrounds the Virgin, the angels hand out cups full of flowers and the four patron saints of Siena (S. Ansano and S. Crescenzio -kneeling on the bottom left- S. Vittore and S. Savino -kneeling at the bottom right).
Simone Martini, in his masterpiece, differs from the rigidity of Byzantine tradition that can be seen, for example, in the Majesty painted by Duccio di Buoninsegna. It’s possible to see this difference observing the naturalness and human nature of Our Lady’s face, and also the movement of the canopy and the garments, the figures that almost seem to sway and the brightness of pure gold of the throne and haloes.

Representing the image of “Our Lady”, the rulers of Siena want to pay homage to the Virgin. The choice of the fresco demonstrates the desire to create something lasting in order to extend  the message to the future generations. More specifically, this message is the Virgin’s  direct warning  the  the rulers and their governance in order to have always Her protection.
This concept of the common good finds its consecration in the fresco cycle painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and dedicated to the Effects of Good and Bad Government .

Sources: “Tutta Siena contrada per contrada”by Pietro Torriti / “Storia di Siena ” by Barzanti, Catoni, De Gregorio.

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THE DALI ‘UNIVERSE – FLORENCE (February 1st – May 25th , 2013)

mostra dali firenze THE DALI UNIVERSE   FLORENCE (February 1st   May 25th , 2013)

 

Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie suggests an opportunity not to be missed!
In Florence, few miles from Siena, more precisely in Riccardi Palace, the exhibition “The Dali Universe” was recently inaugurated, thanks to which you can admire more than 100 works by the  most famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali.
The exhibition, dedicated to the Spanish master and open to the public until May 25th, is mainly focused on the theme of time and femininity, but thanks to this show some new artist’s features come to light as the man fond of literature who reinterprets contemporary   works in a surrealist way but also great classical masterpieces as the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri or Boccaccio’s Decameron.
Another  part of the exhibition is dedicated to the exploration of  the three-dimensional work that materializes in bronze sculptures, objects in glass and surrealist furniture.
Openings hours: all day from 9am to 7pm
Source: 1) Firenze Turismo  - 2) Vogue
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MY FIRST JOB EXPERIENCE.

giulia2 MY FIRST JOB EXPERIENCE.

 

Hi! My name is Giulia, I study in a commercial school in Siena, and thanks to my school  I’m doing my first job experience at Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie. During this week I have discovered a lot of new things about Siena that before ignored. Especially because Borgo Grondaie  is organizing a tour called #unterzociascuno . I have understood the importance of social media for hotels, because they represent a perfect showcase on internet and, I learnt to use pinterest and twitter. I have seen how a hotel management program works e.g. the check-in and check-out operations and reservations. My experience at Borgo Grondaie will be very useful as far as my languages studies in case I find a job in the hotel industry.

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PALAZZO SANSEDONI ( SANSEDONI PALACE) – SIENA

 

palazzo sansedoni vista laterale imgzoom PALAZZO SANSEDONI ( SANSEDONI PALACE)   SIENA

Sansedoni Palace in Siena is located in Piazza del Campo and it is the most noble palace after the Town Hall. Easily recognizable by its majestic façade made of red bricks, the building has a tower with a rhomboid plan. The tower, built in conjunction with the first part of the palace in the middle of 1200, was 62 meters high, but later it was demolished and today it remains only a part.


The architectural story of the building is very complex, it provides, in fact, over time, for the unification of different distinct dwellings. As previously mentioned, the first news about the building is around the middle of 1200, then a document of 1340 attests to its expansion, finally a total revision between 1600 and 1700 leads to the final renovation thanks to which it’s possible to admire the unique façade that follow the curve of the square and reproduces the style of the Palazzo Pubblico with the new Gothic current typical of the Baroque period.

The building owes its name to one of the most prestigious Sienese families which orders its construction during Middle Ages. The first news about Sansedoni family dates back to 1174 when Sansedonio di Martino is elected consul of Siena. The family soon becomes one of the most famous of the city with members elected to major public offices.
One of the
leading figure is Ambrogio Sansedoni (1220-1286), a Dominican friar who was ambassador to the Pope Gregory X and he managed to revoke the excommunication of the city. Another person worth mentioning is Rutilio Sansedoni built a chapel in honor of Ambrogio Sansedoni, a real baroque jewel where still nowdays the Mass for the anniversary of his death is celebrated.

The interior of the building has beautiful decorations, precious polychrome marbles, inlaid stones and bronzes, the typical splendour of the Medici court to which the Sansedoni’s were devoted . The frescoes with mythological allegorical subjects were painted by members of the Florentine school as Anton Domenico Gabbiani (1697), Francesco and Giuseppe Melani (1726), Giovanni Domenico Ferretti Pietro Anderlini (1745).

Sources: Siena On line / Archivio di Stato Firenze / Siena aperto per restauro.

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CANDLEMAS DAY

candele CANDLEMAS DAY  present Gesù al tempio CANDLEMAS DAY

Today, February 2ND, it’s raining in Siena and at Hotel Borgo Grondaie we are all happy! We’re not crazy, we are happy because today is the day of Candlemas and the Italian popular saying: “for Candlemas if it rains spring is not far away, if it doesn’t rain winter is still stay”.

 

The Candlemas, whose name comes from the Latin festum candelarum (in relation to the custom of blessing the candles before light them and take them in procession by the faithfuls who can re-use them at home to invoke divine support) seems to have been introduced by the patriarch of Rome Gelasius in 474 AD to replace the pagan festival called Lupercalia. This was once celebrated in February in honor of God Faun (from the Latin Lupercus, the protector of sheep and goats) through purification ritual to protect the flocks from hungry wolves during the winter.
In other pagan traditions, as for the Celts for example, Candlemas was the transition period between winter and spring, between the darkness and the awakening of the light. And yet, for the followers of magical rites this is the perfect day to find out if a person is affected or not by the evil eye.

 
In this day the Catholic Church celebrates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. The baby Jesus was presented by Simeon as ” a light for a revelation “, in fact, on this day the candles are blessed as a symbol of the light of Christ.

Source: Wikipedia

 

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CARNIVAL SWEETS

 

 

chiacchiere CARNIVAL SWEETS CARNIVAL SWEETS

It’s Carnival!

Today Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie proposes you a typical recipe of Carnival time: delicious sweets called “Cenci” … yummi!!

In the Christian’s  tradition Carnival marks the moment of celebration before Lent, a period marked by fasting and penance; and like any respectable holiday ….  it couldn’t come without sweet!

Here is the recipe for the fabulous cenci: (from the book: I quaderni di cucina senese “ Con Poco o Niente” by Andrea Maestri).

Make a dough enough firm with 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 10 gr (2,38 tsp or 0,35 oz) of butter and 100 gr (0,43 cup or 3,53 oz) of flour. Work the mixture well and roll out the dough about 3 mm  ( 0,118 inches) high.
Cut the dough (you can use a small wheel for pasta or a jagged knife) into strips two fingers high and about 6/7 cm (2,75 inches) long.
Fry in hot oil, let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

P.s.: you can add to the mix (as my grandmother did) some grated orange peel or a small glass of ‘vin santo” (or dry white wine).

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