PIAZZA DEL CAMPO (CAMPO SQUARE) IN SIENA

piazza del campo siena PIAZZA DEL CAMPO (CAMPO SQUARE) IN SIENA

HotelSienaBorgo Grondaie is glad to share with you a little history of our beautifulSiena. Through a series of posts we will discover the origins of the most important places of the city. Let’s start with the heart ofSiena, Piazza del Campo (Campo Square).

Conceived as a center of civic and collective life of the medieval city, Piazza del Campo still has a configuration like that one of the fourteenth century. It ‘a closed urban structure that communicates with the outside through a series of cleverly masked gates and arches and ends with the magnificent background of the Palazzo Pubblico  and Torre del Mangia.
The skyline and the structure of the Piazza del Campo are not born by chance, but during the years of its construction, the government of Siena has gradually enacted laws in order to standardize the architectural style and align the profile of the perimeter and space, an example is the demolition of  the church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul (located between the existing  St. Peter and St. Paul alleys) because too protruding from the perimeter that the surrounding buildings were defining. The area that would become the square of today, was originally a reclaimed land to allow rain water running off and while the central part of the city was higher in the Castelvecchio area, the future”Campo” was an area for the markets close to the main roads.
The first document which mentions the placement of the Campo Square dates back to 1169; the Square is cited as “Campus Sancti Pauli” and refers to the entire valley, which also includes the current Piazza del Mercato. The news of the subdivision there was in 1193, when the Square is called “Campus Fori” (acting as livestock, poultry and wheat market) and there was the construction of a dividing wall perhaps placed as a barrier because of the soil erosion. In this way the “Campo” acquires the appearance of a half shell while around the wall and on it the government starts the construction of a nucleus of buildings containing the Customs offices ( for oil and salt) and the so-called Bolgano i.e. the place for the minting of coins.

The floor was much later, in fact, the construction started in 1327 and ended in 1349. Even today the centre of the square is paved with handmade bricks laid edge on.The floor is divided into nine strips of travertine in memory of the “Government of the Nine” (1285-1355). The current travertine balusters date back to 1800.

The development of Piazza del Campo is closely linked to the construction of the City Hall (Palazzo Pubblico) ……. but we’ll talk about next time!

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RICCIARELLI COOKIES

 RICCIARELLI COOKIES

At Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie we like ricciarelli cookies, a typical Sienese delicacy made of almonds to be enjoyed especially during the Christmas season, but still very good all year round!

 
These delicious cookies seem to have origins in the Middle Ages, related to the production of marzipan that people from Siena certainly knew by the Crusaders returned from the East, and even the name seems to derive from “arricciatelli” to remember the shape of the slippers of the sultans of Orient.
This excellence got, in 2010, by the European Community , the IGP certification according to which the production phase must take place in a limited geographical area, in this case the territory of Siena.
Hoping to please all food lovers or just curious, here are the recipe for Ricciarelli (directly from the book “The places of taste in Siena”). Enjoy your cookies !!!

 

-          1 kg sweet almonds

-          A small amount of bitter almonds, according to taste.

-          1,5 kg sugar baking powder

-          Ammonium bicarbonate (3 g for every kg of dough) or baking powder (5 g for every kg of dough)

Grind the almonds, mix together all ingredients and knead until the paste is smooth and uniform. Weigh the paste and add baking powder as indicated. Shape into small lozenges and dust with powdered sugar. Bake on wafer or waxed paper for about 10 minutes in a 200°C oven.

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CHRISTMAS TREE AND ITS ORIGINS

 CHRISTMAS TREE AND ITS ORIGINS

Soon it will be Christmas and we are all accustomed to the image of the tree decorated with shimmering lights and many gifts at its feet. However, who really knows the origin of this tradition? At Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie we want to learn more about it.

 
We know that the image of the tree as a sacred symbol of life is a pagan theme known to all cultures in the ancient world, in the Middle Ages and only later assimilated by Christianity.
Christmas coincides with the period of the winter solstice and many civilizations of the ancient world considered this a prodigious event as in Egypt and Syria, where the victory of light over darkness was celebrated (in fact during the solstice the days get longer and announce the return of spring and therefore of life). In some traditions of northern Europe it was usual to burn a tree (a pine or fir tree) and the sparks represented the light of the days to come. Even the druids, ancient priests of the Celts, began to worship the trees during the winter solstice, and especially the fir, an evergreen tree, became a symbol of perpetual life. During the Middle Ages, on December 24th in Germany there was a game of Adam and Eve, a religious game where large fruit trees (symbol of abundance) were hoisted in the squares and asked to recreate the image of Paradise, just later the trees fruit were replaced with fir trees and it was also in Germany that instead of the fruit the first decorations in blown glass appeared. For a long time the tree tradition was typical of the north European areas. In 1816, this tradition began in Vienna at the behest of Princess Henrietta von Nassau-Weilburg, while in France it was thanks to the Duchess of Orleans in 1840. In Italy, the practice is widespread thanks to Queen Margaret in the second half of the nineteenth century.

 

Nowadays, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II a new tradition has been started, the tradition of setting up a large Christmas tree in the heart of Catholicism that is St. Peter’s Square in Rome. A Catholic interpretation is the one who wants the decoration of the tree as the celebration in remembrance of the wood of the Cross that saved the world … the lights symbolize the light that Jesus brings into the world and the gifts are the representation of Jesus ‘generosity.

 

 
This is what history tells us…. then the legends are quite different:

 

 
- The first legend positions the tree in the Garden of Eden as the tree of life, and when Eve plucked the forbidden fruit the tree leaves withered and became pine needles until the birth of Jesus.
- A second one tells about Adam who, running away from Paradise, brought with him a small branch which later became the fir tree that was used for the Holy Cross.
- And even a story of a child who was lost in the forest and not knowing how to get home, took refuge at the foot of a fir tree that lowered its branches to protect it. In the morning, he realized that the snow and ice, fallen on the branches during the nights, had created many decorations shining to the sun.

- Another legend is connected to the miracle of S. Boniface, who came across some heathens, worshiping an oak tree; they were preparing the sacrifice of a little prince. St. Boniface felled the oak and in its place an evergreen fir, symbol of eternal life, appeared by miracle.

 

 
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THE MARKET IN THE CAMPO SQUARE (Piazza del Campo). December, 15TH and 16th 2012. SIENA.

 THE MARKET IN THE CAMPO SQUARE (Piazza del Campo). December, 15TH and 16th 2012. SIENA. 

On December, 15th and 16th  in Siena and more precisely in the heart of the city, in the beautiful Piazza del Campo, an extraordinary event will come back: “the market in the Campo Square,” a real modern market that, both in terms of products or the arrangement of the sales counters (which will be a copy of those of the past), will propose an image of what the city market at the time of the Republic of Siena was. Two whole days to admire and taste the tradition of Siena with the quality of today.

 

 

In the thirteenth century, the “big market”, which took place once a week in the square, was the main source of supply but also a place of social relations and important area of trade. The small farmers from the countryside and craftsmen were so numerous that at some point it became necessary to reorganize the market to make it less chaotic adopting a specific placement that will be reproduced during the event, in fact there will be a food area (once the queen of the market was the “treccola” , she who sold fruits and vegetables, legumes as well as milk and cheese, poultry and game) and another area dedicated to crafts (among the most known craftsmen were tanners, baskets makers, cobblers, sellers of barrels). In today’s market it will be possible to find other excellence of the territory as producers of wine, saffron, bakers, goldsmiths, bookbinders and many others. Some craftsmen will perform live their creations and, as once part of the square was reserved for entertainment, games and activities will be organized to involve also the children.
On the occasion of the event it will be possible take guided tours at a cost of € 5.00 (free for children up to 11 years) to discover places of taste which ,over time, have distinguished Siena. Departure for the visits is scheduled at 11a.m. and 4p.m. from the information desk.

 

Some restaurants in the city will take part in the event offering typical food:

 

- ALL’ORTO DE PECCI (“pici” with garlic) pici, gnocchi and pappardelle are typical kind of pasta  

- CASATO ENORISTORANTE ( “polenta” with wild boar) polenta  is cornmeal mush

- FONTE GAIA ( red gnocchi with potatoes and beetroot served with black cabbage and sausage)

- FORI PORTA (sausages and beans with” polenta” and mushrooms)

- GROTTA DEL GALLO NERO (“pici “with wild boar and wild boar stew)

- BAGOGA (pork stew)

- IL RIALTO (braised beef cooked with chianti wine with mashed potatoes)

- IL BANDIERINO (“pici” with cheese and pepper)

- LA BIRRERIA (pasta with “cinta senese” pig sauce)

- LA BUCA DI SAN PIETRO ( “pici” with black cabbage, crumbs and pecorino cheese)

- LA CHIACCHIERA ( stew with potatoes)

- LA FINESTRA ( wild boar with grape and apples)

- LA MOSSA (“senese” tripe)

- LA SPERANZA (wild boar)

- MILLEVINI (braised beef with “polenta” pie)

- MUGOLONE (chicken with “sangiovese” grapes or wild boar in “ dolce forte” sauce)

- OSTERIA BABAZUF ( vegetable soup with meat balls)

- TRATTORIA DELL’OSTE MEZZO AL GIUGGIOLO ( “pappardelle” with wild boar sauce).

 

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THE FIFTH CENTENARY OF THE SISTINA CHAPEL. ROMA.Vatican Museum.

Cappella Sistina 586x390 THE FIFTH CENTENARY OF THE SISTINA CHAPEL. ROMA.Vatican Museum.

Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie makes best wishes to the Sistina Chapel for its wonderful 500 years! Five centuries later, this masterpiece is still admired by 5 millions people a year with peaks of 20.000 tourists a day. The Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary of the Assumption, owes its name to the Pope Sisto IV who wanted to build an opulent room to accommodate the meetings of thePapal Court. When, in 1481, the architectonic structure was completed, famous artists such as Perugino, Pinturicchio, Sandro Botticelli, started painting the side walls of the Chapel where, from the bottom to top, it is possible to admire frescoes that look like tapestries, Moses and Jesus’ life stories (Old and New Testament) and representations of the martyred Popes. It was up to the successor of Sisto IV, Pope Giulio II, to complete the decorations for which he called Michelangelo Buonarroti . At first Michelangelo, who already had produced at that time very important works like “The David” and “The Piety”, was hesitant because he considered himself a sculptor and not a painter, but then he agreed  to fresco the Vault of the Chapel. He started his masterpiece in 1508 working on a scaffold 20 meters(65 feet) high. He painted a 40 meters(131 feet) long and 13 meters(42 feet) wide surface always having his head facing upward. On October, 31st 1512 Michelangelo “gave his work back” to the Pope Giulio II who inaugurated the Chapel during the Vespers dedicated to the All Saints Day. All the frescoes painted by Michelangelo reproduce stories from the Old Testament as the “Genesis” , the “Creation of Adam and Eve”, the “Original Sin”, the “Fall fromParadise”. The most famous is without doubt the Creation of Adam (who does not have in mind the image of the hand of God that lets the Adam’s one going of ?). From 1536 to 1541 Michelangelo also completed the decoration of the wall behind the Altar representing the “Last Judgement”. The Sistina Chapel has undergone an important renovation completed in 1994 which has brought to light very bright colours so much to completely change the idea (which once thought) that Michelangelo was interested in drawing than in colours.

 Mr. Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, reminds us that this place so full of charm, both for the magnificence and for what it represents ( it’s the place where cardinals elect Pope), is nevertheless exposed to hazards such as dusts, temperature and the carbon dioxide emitted by the millions of visitors. That’s the reason why it is hoped that in 2013 the dream of using a new air conditioning system (that allows to break down polluting agents, dusts and controls humidity)  becomes reality.        

 We really hope so…..at least for the next 500 years!!!

 

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“PUER NATUS”: JESUS CHILDHOOD RAPRESENTADED ON THE PRECIOUS ILLUMINATED ANTHEM BOOKS. CATHEDRAL OF SIENA

 PUER NATUS: JESUS CHILDHOOD RAPRESENTADED ON THE PRECIOUS ILLUMINATED ANTHEM BOOKS. CATHEDRAL OF SIENA

(from December, 1st  2012 to January, 27th 2013).

Siena Crypt and  Piccolomini Library will host “Puer Natus”, an unusual exhibition dedicated to the magnificent illuminated parchments inspired by the history of Jesus childhood as the “Annunciation”, the “Nativity”, the” Adoration of the Magi” (Three Wise Men) and the” Introduction of Jesus at the Temple”.

For the first time the anthems of the Piccolomini Library will be open on a paper (page) that differs from that on display at the permanent exhibition, while in the Crypt  Jesus’childhood will be represented through precious anthem books belonging to the end of the thirteenth century and coming from the Archive of  the Museum of the Duomo (the Cathedral).
The visit to the Crypt will be accompanied by listening to Gregorian chants linked to the Liturgy of Christmas.
The anthems will also be virtually browsed (to better admire the valuable features) thanks to touch-screen reproductions.

All inclusive ticket € 8.00 (Puer Natus, Crypt, Piccolomini Library, Cathedral, Baptistery  and Opera Museum). Free entry for residents and children under 11 years.

For information, reservations and guided tours: +39 0577 286300

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ONEGLASS: INNOVATIVE POUCH-CONCEPT FOR WINE

Oneglass4 ONEGLASS: INNOVATIVE POUCH CONCEPT FOR WINE

Oneglass is an Italian company that has had a wonderful idea: a single-dose pocket size pack of wine (100 ml).

Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie was intrigued and wanted to know more about this novelty.

 

For the first time a 100 ml  innovative packaging: lightweight, unbreakable and pocket-size…easy to use and to carry wherever you go.

This kind of packaging, that maintains all the organoleptic characteristics of the wine, is made of paper (75%), polyethylene (20%) and aluminium (5%); that’s why it can be entirely recycled after use.

Considering the lower weight and reduced risk of breaking compared to a classic bottle, there are many possibilities of use: large shipments, special occasions such as day-trips or picnic; lunch break, canteen, self-service, wine tasting.

It also avoids waste because 100 ml is the right amount for tasting wine without having to open a bottle.

Oneglass sells four kinds of wine: two types of white ( Pinot Grigio and Vermentino) and two types of red ( Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese ).

 At the Wine Business Summit ( platform for the exchange of new ideas and business for people in the wine industry coming from different backgrounds)  at the Palais du Vin in Bruxelles on January 19th, 2013, Oneglass is in competition for the best innovative company in the wine industry. The winners will have the opportunity to raise their profile and give more visibility to their product.

If you want to express your preference you can do it by voting on: http://wbis.eu/application-vote/

 

 

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MARCHESI ANTINORI: A NEW WINE CELLAR

antinori MARCHESI ANTINORI: A NEW WINE CELLAR 

Along the freeway Florence-Siena, one wonders what that new and futuristic building, that we find in Bargino village (near San Casciano Val di Pesa), could be.
It’s the new Antinori’s winary, the result of an ambitious project strongly wanted by Antinori’s Family, who produces wine from 26 generations and, after five centuries, moves its headquarters from the center of Florence to the heart of “Chianti Classico”.The cellar was built excavating in a hill and then covering the building with the ground.
On the roof, for didactic purposes, a vineyard was planted that brings together all the varieties of the Chianti vineyards, even those almost forgotten.
Inside the building there are three aisles 75 meters long, where, at a constant temperature of 17 degrees, barriques and barrels rest for a potential production of two and a half million bottles per year.

In addition to the winery and bottling area, the building consists of a museum, wine tasting areas, one restaurant, 250-seat auditorium, offices, and one wine store.

The project of the new winery (that has great respect for the Tuscan environment and landscape) is unique because combines architectural innovations and modern technologies of wine making with the Antinori’s family tradition.

Opening is scheduled for February 2013.

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ALLEGORY AND EFFECTS OF THE GOOD AND THE BAD GOVERNMENT. PALAZZO PUBBLICO. SIENA.

400px Lorenzetti ambrogio bad govern. det ALLEGORY AND EFFECTS OF THE GOOD AND THE BAD GOVERNMENT. PALAZZO PUBBLICO. SIENA.buongoverno ALLEGORY AND EFFECTS OF THE GOOD AND THE BAD GOVERNMENT. PALAZZO PUBBLICO. SIENA.

Who knows what would the great Ambrogio Lorenzetti have thought if he had miraculously come back to visit us nowadays, even if just for  one day? Surely he would have seen  that we had tried hard not to realize the idea of just and peaceful  society represented  in his fresco cycle “ Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government”.

To see this wonderful  Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s work, dated  1337/1340, you have to come to Siena and visit Palazzo Pubblico in the beautiful  Piazza del Campo (Campo Square). The cycle of frescoes, that had to inspire the city rulers, is located in a rectangular hall known as the” Peace” or the” Council of Nine “ Room; in fact, the work was ordered by the Government of Siena that was , at that time, ruled by 9 residents who remained in office just for a short period to leave the place with nine other people.Observing the Allegory Of Good Government and the benefits that this brings to the city life and the  surrounding countryside, it’s inferred that the common good should inspire all the governors’ actions and that where order and justice are there are peace, employment, welfare, too. The Allegory of Good Government  is on the bottom of the room. On the left of the painting , there is “Justice”,  holding in balance the scales supported by “ Divine Wisdom” which is holding a book. On the scales there are two angels: one, on the left, represents “ Distributive Justice” who gives goods and penalties and the second one, on the right, represents “ Commutative Justice” that governs trade. From balance two strings hang down ,they ‘re-collected by ”Harmony” (Concordia) who has in her lap a plane (symbol of  equality of all citizens). The same strings are taken up by the 24 governors (the old government before the Nine) that deliver the rope to the “City of Siena” represented by an old man dressed in black and white (colors the represent the town of  Siena). The City is protected and inspired by three  winged theological ” Virtues”: Faith”, “Hope” and “Charity” . On the sides of the Old Man the ”Four Cardinal Virtues”: “Justice” (with the sword, the crown and a severed head), “Temperance” (with the hourglass, a symbol of wise use of time), “Prudence” ( represented with a mirror to interpret the past, read the present and tell the future),and “Force”( with the mace and shield). In addition there are two unconventional Virtues : “Peace” (comfortably lying on a pile of weapons and with an olive branch in her hand) and  “Magnanimity” (dispensing crowns and diamonds). The effects of good government can be seen in the city populated by hard-working people, builders, students, artisans, dancers and even a young girl (on horseback ) getting ready for her marriage. In a just society the countryside is essential to the  city and here you can see the beneficial effects , in fact the country , over which the personification of “ Security” flies free, is rich and full of life: farmers who sow and hoe, young hunters among vineyards and olive trees ( and……if you are keen observers……you will see a nice Cinta Senese Pig).

On the left side wall of the room is the Allegory of Bad Government  where sitting on the throne you see the personification of  “Tyranny” , a demonic monster above which three winged “Vices” fly, namely “Greed” (with a long hook to spear riches), “Pride” (with a sword and a yoke) and “Vainglory”(with a mirror to admire her beauty and a dry branch,  symbol  of volubility). At the sides of “Tyranny “there are “Cruelty” ( intent to show a snake to a baby),” Betrayal ” (with a little lamb having a scorpion’s tale), “Fraud” (with wings and clawed feet) ,“Fury”(with boar’s head, human trunk and horse’s body, symbol of beastly wrath), “Division” (with a sow) and the ”War” ( with sword, shield and black robe). Under “Tyranny” , “Justice” lies chained and despised. Obviously the effect of Bad Government are devastating the city and the country where citizens destroy rather than build, places where murders and  injustice reign and all activities are miserable. The countryside is on fire and the armies are marching towards the walls. Grimm “ Terror ” flies in the sky.

This paintings , so far away from us in time but so contemporary in contents, have an incomparable charm…not to be missed!

 

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Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena (National Art Gallery of Siena)

 Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena (National Art Gallery of Siena)sodoma(1) Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena (National Art Gallery of Siena) Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena (National Art Gallery of Siena)

The Museum was inaugurated inside Buonsignori Brigidi Palace  in 1932 with the  scientific sort of  Cesare Brandi, who published the catalog in 1933.  The original nucleus of the gallery came to the passionate work of two sienese abbots,  Giuseppe Ciaccheri and Luigi de Angelis.They were able to collect  the most significant paintings of the Sienese painters between 1750 and 1810. The National Art Gallery of Siena is one of the most important Italian museums especially for its collection of paintings of  senese fourteenth and fifteenth centuries  The great art of Siena from Duccio to Lorenzetti, Simone Martini to Sassetta, from Francesco di Giorgio to Matteo di Giovanni toward Sodoma and Beccafumi,  find among this museums walls a  chronological development nearly complete, from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century.

The museum begins on the second floor where the paintings are exhibited by the beginnings of Sienese painting until the second half of the fifteenth century: Duccio, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti (fourteenth century), Sano di Pietro, Giovanni di Paolo, Sassetta, Matteo Giovanni and Francesco di Giorgio (fifteenth century),  only to name the most famous. The first floor houses the works of the sixteenth century, Sodoma and Beccafumi, the most important exponents of Sienese Mannerism . A recent development shows the collection of works by Sienese artists active between the end of the 500 and the following century (Francesco Vanni, Alessandro Casolari, Rutilio Manetti, Bernardino Mei).

Where: via San Pietro,29 SIENA

Opening times: Monday, Sunday and holidays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m./ from Tuesday to Saturday from 8.15 a.m. to 7.15 p.m.

For information and reservation contact: +39 0577 286143

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