Posts Tagged ‘siena’
Siena is a land of wine and this value is recognized all over the world. Chianti and Brunello’s wineries open their doors to public for tours and tastings on May 26th.
If your intention is to taste many wines remember that there is the possibility of transfers from Siena downtown and for a small rate it will allow you to taste the nectar of Bacchus without worrying about driving.
Do you know the lavender scent in full bloom? That particular fragrance that smell like summer liquorice and clean? I notice the same smell now, opening my closet door where I keep neatly placed my home linen. At this time, though here it is a gray and rainy afternoon, my thought takes off and brings me back to the summer, to the long sunny days, balmy nights at Borgo Grondaie.
Borgo Grondaie is a small, family run hotel and apartments of charm (and I mean the real charm that makes you live and love a territory in all its nuances and not the fictitious furniture from glossy magazines and completed by a punctual as much as cold and impersonal service!). Borgo Grondaie is strategically located at the entrance of the city of Siena, whose center is just a few minutes from here by car but in the Tuscan countryside. As I get some free days off from my work I love to come back to the Borgo, pick up the thread of my life and feel in peace with the world and myself. The welcome is as warm as professional. Gaia and Amina have become real friends for many of their guests: the atmosphere here is relaxed and serene, and it is easy to feel at home, among friends.
And the lavender, you say!?
Lavender has to do with my story, because Borgo Grondaie is not simply a group of comfortable rooms and airy apartments: the Borgo is also everything that surrounds him, from the little squares with tables and chairs where you stop to have a coffee or a good glass of wine, the flowerbeds, trees and bushes always well maintained, to large lawns that all year long have retained that dazzling shade of green, typical of this part of Tuscany.
The lavender bushes frame some meadows and the pool area of Borgo Grondaie, which is situated in a slightly elevated position just far enough from apartments and rooms. Here, during the day you spend quiet hours sunbathing and swimming in the cool,clear and salt water even if the real magic comes at sunset. It is when the sun starts setting on the horizon that many guests leave their sunbeds and the atmosphere becomes even quietier. The pool water, made warmer by the long hours of sun, it’s tinged with shades of orange and purple, while the birds singing intensifies. At that moment I love to dive and swim slowly, leaving me wrap by water: my body relaxes in water embrace and tensions accumulated during months of work are softened in the golden light of sunset. At that time it becomes easier to feel at one with the wonder that surrounds you. Sometimes you are alone but other someone is eager to enjoy those moments of peace … then you swim slowly, basking in the water and greetings each other just with a brief mention of eyes, in order not to interrupt the magic of that moment.
When the sun disappears I’m ready to go back in my apartment, where a hot shower expect me with olive oil bath products that Gaia and Amina never forget to let me find in the apartment and that, with its delicate aroma, completes the sensory path of the day.
Day is not complete without a visit to one of the many small osterie (restautants) in Siena downtown or in the country area, because Tuscan traditional cuisine is appreciated as one of the most exquisite on earth. Personally, when I stop in the city, I love to dine at Trattoria Da Cecco, a small restaurant in Via Cecco Angiolieri, a side street of Via Banchi di Sopra, the main road leading to Piazza del Campo and the Duomo. The restaurant is small and not easy to find availability but on summers they have more space as they place tables outside: don’t miss Pici in all the different toppings, but I also remember their chicken with lemon and all their pastries, including the tiramisu of the house.
But when we decide to drive to the country area the village that I love more in the summer season is Monticchiello. I leave Borgo Grondaie with direction Asciano, an area famous all over the world for its hilly road surrounded by Cipress trees. Here the landscape enchants you with ever-changing shapes and colors at any time of day and every season. It’s quite surreal to drive along this lunar landscape that recall memories of Medieval time when knights crossed this land and stop to quench the thirst in one of the small lakes and plunged into the breathtaking landscape that varies at every bend of the road. The direction to take is to Pienza then, once you reach the location, to San Quirico d’Orcia valley and then to La Foce from which you drive uphill to Montichiello. The small village, situated on the brow of a hill, for years has become popular not only for its unquestionable charm but for its “poor theatre” that every year turns streets and squares into a open-air theatre and the population into a real theater company.
From Monticchiello you can admire the entire valley and hills all around and their alternation is like the waves of a green and quiet ocean . Once in Montichiello sight has no barriers and can range as far as the eyes make it possible: here, at sunset, while sky is getting red, it is time to sit a on the terrace of “La Porta “wine bar, located right next to the gate of Monticchiello.
A pleasure accessible to everybody is to enjoy the sunset with a delicious bruschetta with extra virgin olive oil and garlic, with a plate of pecorino from Pienza of different agings, all combined with a glass of Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano , excellent wines of this area. It’s difficult to say if it’s the wine inside your glass that is asborbing the sunset nuances or if it’s the sunset that becomes more and more similar to the wine. Certainly it’s in this moment that you feel grateful to life.
A stop that I want to suggest you leaving Montichiello is Bagno Vignoni. It doesn’t matter in which time of the year you are there, it’s worth stopping and walk along the perimeter of the marvelous square-thermal swimming pool built by the Romans. Generous nature and human talent seem to have found here the perfect agreement in the construction of this incredible square-caldarium, Bagno Vignoni historic heart . While leaving Bagno Vignoni to return to Borgo Grondaie, I like to stop on the banks of the little stream of hot water that rises to the surface just outside the village, and then dive down forming pools of clear water. Soak your feet in this warm water it is possible at any season of the year, and it’s great to do it at night when, raising your eyes up to heaven you get lost in the myriad of stars that shine undisturbed, away from the cities’ light pollution .
Back at Borgo Grondaie, you are welcomed by the chorus of crickets and cicadas while the stinging scent of lavender rises from the bushes soaked with dew.
I hesitate a moment while closing my wardrobe and forward my mind to reality; just a breath of lavender (of course kept in bags purchased in Tuscany!) to relive the unique sensations that only this land can offer. And I smile thinking about my Borgo , a magical corner to stop and from which leave to discover this enchanted land that always welcome you with its heart and open yours where it will stay forever.
One thing that we always say to our clients is to follow their instinct because they are their best guide for their holidays in Tuscany. At Borgo Grondaie we love to give suggestions but to those who seem most curious and not at all frightened by the Italian roads and by our reckless way of driving, we suggest to become discoverers. This is because the beauty of a trip is the surprise, not all can be planned and written by others. You need to create your personal holiday in order to make it more emotional.
It may happen that suggestions comes from guests after their experience and discoveries as David, an Australian guest & friend, who suggested a tour in the Brunello area for a visit to Máté winery.
So my partner, my son and I enjoyed a day out in the wonderful Montalcino land. Paul, who knows wines from a professional point of view, would have been judge for what we were going to taste. I confess that I love wines and I love to drink wines but my palate is not so improved to the harmonious mechanisms of wine.
At the arrival at Máté we met Candice, owner and painter who bought the property twenty years ago together with her husband-writer, transforming their shelter-inspiration in beautiful winery.
I have written the word harmony in the title because this was the first impression entering the property. Their beautiful home surrounded by greenery and well-groomed gardens harmoniously blend into Tuscan ambiance, shows owners’ respect to the place that has hosted them. Candice seems born here as she is at ease with the property. She showed us their little cellar, we spent time talking about their vineyards and how the various types of soil presented inside their borders have influenced the choice of the various varieties apart from San Sangiovese grosso used for the production of Brunello.
Candice organized the tasting in her kitchen. The table ready with bottles, the fireplace, brick walls and the marble kitchen sink made the atmosphere surreal! Candice had prepared five of their wines. I was immediately struck by the beauty of the artistic labels while wine perfumes filled our glasses.
All wines tasted were of the highest level. They were harmonious, extremely pleasant with complex aromas, very attractive, surely loved by connoisseurs as by simple wine lovers.
Do you want to discover more? … Máté waits for you!
Yes! In Siena, we celebrate the New Year also on March 25!
The modern calendar comes from Pope Gregory XIII ‘s will who adopted a single rule for measuring time. Think about how it could be to use a different calendar in our world! Before 1582 in Siena, the New Year was celebrated on March 25 because it matched the day of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. On same date it took place the Feast of the ancient Hospital and of its church which was dedicated to the Virgin of the Annunciation. For that day Siena municipality donated votive candles, presented barn workers and expose religious relics in the Chapel of the Vow.
This year Siena celebrates “his” New Year on March 25 with the following program:
4.30 pm meeting of the historical parade and city authorities in the church of SS. Annunziata
5 pm procession from the church of SS. Announced to the Public Palace in Piazza del Campo
5.30 inside the Public Palace LECTIO MAGISTRALIS proclaimed by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.
posted by www.hotelsienaborgogrondaie.com
A special greeting to all daddies in the world from Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie!
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!
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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!
Recently we talked about the Majesty painted by Simone Martini, a magnificent fresco located at Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. Today we are going to speak about the other wonderful Majesty located in Siena, the one 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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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” ,by 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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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.
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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