8 tips you need to know about Italy

If you are planning a trip to our country, here are 8 tips you need to know about Italy.

1- Italian body language and gestures

Italian Body Language - 8 tips about Italy

Italian Body Language – 8 tips about Italy

Since your arrival in Italy, there is something you will be astonished by: the gestures. Everyone, in Italy, use the body language to reinforce what he wants to say. Since it is really easy to misunderstand this way to communicate, we suggest you watching this funny video, helpful to understand the most commonly used gestures.


2- City tax

City tax - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

City tax – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Don’t worry if the tax changes from town to town. Yes, it sounds a bit odd, but every city has its own tax depending on its needs: by the way, we are talking about a few euros tax.

3- Parking

Parkings' colours - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Parkings’ colours – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

In Italy the parking system includes a variety of stripes.

Looking for a free slot you will mainly find 3 different colours:

  • White – This one means the parking is free
  • Blue – If you find the blue strips you will have to pay a small fee (depending on the hours of stay)
  • Yellow – This slot Is not available unless you are disabled or you are carrying one.

4- Roads’ colours and rules

Roads' colours - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Roads’ colours – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Like as the parking lots, even the roads (in particular the road signs) have different colours and different speed limits.

  • Urban streets – The common streets, where you will drive every day in each town or city. They are absolutely free and the colour you will find is white. Inside the town the speed limit is 50 km/h
  • Suburban roads – While you exit from the town and decide to move to another one, you will drive in this free streets, where the limit is 90 km/h (55 mph) and the signs’ colour is white
  • Motorways– These are such as a middle way between suburban roads and motorways. Even if they are completely free, here you will not find any pedestrian, cyclist or small motors. If you don’t want to pay any toll, this would be the best choice; the speed limit is 110 km/h (68 mph) and their signposts are blue
  • Toll roads – These are the fastest roads you will find in Italy, with its 130 km/h (80 mph) limit, but here you will need to pay a toll. The colour of their signs is green.

5- Italian breakfast

Italian breakfast - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Italian breakfast – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Italy, as you know, is famous all around the world for its food. Therefore, in our culture every meal is important, starting from the breakfast. Nonetheless, while you are going to have a breakfast in a café, you will not find any bacon or eggs, because our traditional breakfast is composed by a pastry and an Espresso or a Cappuccino. However, nowadays, many hotels and residences prepare a “continental breakfast”, which includes even bacon, eggs and cold cuts.

6- Taxi

Taximeter - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Taximeter – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

If you are planning a dinner out with some friends or family and you prefer not driving back to your hotel or residence, don’t worry, there are a lot of taxi services, that will carry you wherever you want. Don’t be surprised by the taximeter, which generally starts from 6€ during the day and 8€ at night. That’s because you have to pay the call

7- Tips

Tips - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Tips – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

In the Italian restaurants, waiters are not supposed to be paid for their service. Instead, you will pay the “Coperto”, a standard fee always added to your bill: its price’s range is usually between 1€ and 3€. Therefore, you will not have to pay the tip, unless you want to reward the waiter.

8- Noises at lunch/dinner

Noises at lunch/dinner - 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Noises at lunch/dinner – 8 tips you need to know about Italy

Somewhere, around the world, burping is considered a way to show your appreciation for the meal. In Italy, it’s quite the opposite: a burp is a sign of a bad education. So, unless you want to be considered a boor, remember not to burp in front of your tablemates!

These are just a few practical tips. So, if you want to visit Italy, join us and… remember to print this leaflet!


Borgo Grondaie closer to the city center. In November 7th the new bus terminal in Viale Lombardi in Siena, was finally inaugurated thanks to the underpass which connects directly to Piazzale Rosselli in front of the Train Station of Siena. It makes easier to reach the city center of Siena.


Entrace- Piazzale Rosselli


From the new bus terminal you can get all the blue buses that lead you to Buonconvento-Torrenieri-Montalcino, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Chianciano Terme, Pienza-Montepulciano, Villa a Sesta-San Gusmè, Asciano, Gaiole in Chianti-Pianella-Pievasciata, Montevarchi and Pitigliano. Moreover from there, you can also get all the orange traditional urban buses.

Bus station

Bus terminal

A beautiful work that will surely be appreciated from all the guests of Borgo Grondaie. It is an important change that allows Borgo Grondaie to be closer to the city center of Siena. Thanks to the underpass connecting with the Train Station of Siena, you can make a pedestrian path only, completely covered in case of rain, leading you to the city centre of Siena through the escalator from Piazza Rosselli that leads you till the Antiportoof Camollia.
From Borgo Grondaie you will reach the new bus terminal in Viale Lombardi (in front of Chianti Bank) and from there, once you have done the underpass, inside you will find escalators which take you directly into the shopping center Porta Siena (which is located in front of the train station); continuing with the mechanized lifts you will exit at Antiporto of Camollia.


Once you have reached Porta Camollia, a medieval gate of Siena, with a short walk you can easily reach Campo Square.

From Borgo Grondaie you can reach the city centre in only 20 minutes through completely covered path which is and heated during the winter months and air-conditioned in summer.


It is important to say thanks to those who designed this work that will certainly appreciated by the Siena people, but also by tourists who decide to stay in Siena.

percorso mappa

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

The Market in Campo Square. On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of December 6 the traditional winter meeting of “The Market in Campo Square” come back in Siena. A real dive in the fourteenth century among history and culinary excellences and craftsmanship. This year the event is dedicated to “Siena, the capital city of Italian Culture“. As in the fourteenth century, the Campo Square will be the place of business and social life of the city.

The Market in Campo Square

Two days to relive the atmosphere of the historic “Great Market” which took place once a week in Siena during the fourteenth century: over 140 stands will showcase the best products of food, agriculture, crafts and manufacturing stuff to give life to a unique event aimed at reviving what happened in the Middle Ages.

The Market in Campo Square

The program also includes guided tours, children’s activities, a rich program of tastings and live entertainment.
The Podestà courtyard inside the Public Palace, in Campo Square, will host “Vinarte” where you can taste our best wines acquiring your own cup, and a book of taste. Here you can also watch the shows of the Siena Jazz Foundation.
Do not miss theatrical improvisations in medieval style of Aresteatro with Francesco Ravines.

Another interesting initiative is the “Market of Ideas“, a literary salon with some books presentations and their authors from five cities that have shared with Siena the title for Italian Capital of Culture 2015, Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia-Assisi and Ravenna.

Things to buy- Market in Campo Square

Among the events “format baby” we must remember the laboratory directed by Podere Forte of Castiglione d’Orcia whit the intention of get new flavors to little tasters, and always dedicated to babies and youngers, there will be the Francigena path on Saturday, December 5th departing at 15.00 from Piazza Salimbeni to know the history and stories of the pilgrims with Gino! You can book within Thursday, December 3th at 17:00 at Centro Guide Siena, number 0577 43273 or by e-mail to info@guidesiena.it. The route will make a stop in the Public Palace in Campo Square and will end with a snack inside Orto de ‘Pecci. Moreover you can find lots of thematic workshops and cooking food shows in collaboration with the High School Artusi of Chianciano Terme that will bring its students directly in the Campo Square.

The invitation also comes from a lot of restaurants of the city of Siena will offer special menus with typical Tuscan flavors in order to appreciate so much more Siena.
The restaurants that will be present are: Antica Trattoria Botteganova, Fori Porta, Grotta del Gallo Nero, Grotta di Santa Caterina “Bagoga” The Bandierino, The Brewery, Millevini, Osteria Babazuf, Restaurant Window, Te Ke you.
The Market in the Campo Square is part of the program of events “All the Christmas of Siena“, promoted by the Municipality of Siena with the support of Monte Paschi Bank.

A unique event that we recommend to all our guests in Borgo Grondaie and those who will arrive in the next days.

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

Let’s go hunt mushrooms. Mushrooms are among the ingrediets of tasty recipes and we find them in many dishes from around the world.
In addition to being delicious, mushrooms are able to make us feel better, not only for their nutrients but also because hunt mushrooms is a very nice way to spend a relaxing daywalking in the woods and mountains which Tuscany and in particulary the area around Siena, is rich.

risotto funghi

Risotto with porcini mushrooms

Pizza with mushrooms

Depending on the period of growth, we can say that we can find mushrooms almost everywhere. Despite their adaptability, their ideal habitat remains the woods. Their growth is also linked to seasonal cycles; as a general rule it can be said that in order to hunt mushrooms it is necessary that there are certain atmospheric conditions and temperature, generally between 15 and 25 degrees and that these are accompanied by a certain degree of humidity of the soil. It is known that for their development, the mushrooms require a hot, humid climate, provided that it has between mid-August and mid-October.
The stormy days, as well as wind and drought determine the contrary unfavorable conditions for their growth. Not necessarily the plant, or the “spawn”, dies; it can simply stop its activity and it went into “hibernation”.

funghi 1


For all those who want to experiment with this new hobby and look for mushrooms, remember that their recognition is an art that you learn with a bit of study and a lot of experience!
In general you have to keep in mind that the best time to devote to research runs from early August to late September. Moreover, according to people with some experience, the hours of the day most suitable “to hunt mushrooms“, are those of the afternoon with two advantages, the best lighting conditions and terrain. In fact, in the afternoon is the grass that the undergrowth have lost the dew, the soil is drier and the same fungi are in better condition to be collected.

With regard to the method, remember that you’ll need a stick of wood that will be used to move the leaves, a wicker basket or other material that allows air to circulate inside, however, and the spores fall in order to ensure the rebirth in the future, and a knife. When you found a mushroom is important not to touch it with your hands if you do not know the species. In case you’re sure that this is a non-poisonous mushroom, helping you pick it up with a knife, clean thoroughly the stem so that the earth, the mycelium can fall on the ground. It is important to gather mushrooms that we are sure of their edibility.

The best-known mushrooms are definitely the following: porcini, champignons and the most poisonous, amanita falloide.

funghi si


amanita falloide

Amanita Falloide

funghi 2

Amanita Falloide

Mushrooms are then linked to legends and curiosity. It is said for example that the greek hero Perseus, after a long journey, managed to find comfort thanks to water which was contained in the cap of a mushroom. To show his gratitude, then he founded a colony called Mycenae, whose name derives from the greek word for mushrooms. In the Middle Ages it was believed instead that mushrooms grow in circles after a Sabbath, a meeting between witches and wizards, or after a dance of gnomes and elves.
Mushrooms are moreover valuable allies of man: in agriculture, for example, are  they are useful in order to recultivate the land precisely because they absorb pesticides and pollutants. So pay attention where you collect them!


Mushrooms variety

A very particular and less known mushroom is the Reishi or Lingzhi, used for teas and liqueurs. It is considered by the Chinese medicine “the mushroom of immortality”.
Then we have a curiosity that we hope will make you smile! It may sound incredible, but it seems that Viagra accelerates mushrooms’ growth. The reaction was discovered in Switzerland and has been published in the prestigious journal Annals of Improbable Research.
At this point we wish you to have fun! Let’s go hunt mushrooms and and good luck from Borgo Grondaie!

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie


Be Tuscan! It’s not an hard work…for us. Today Borgo Grondaie has decided to surprise you with an unusual article! We hope you will enjoy it!


Be Tuscan

We are going to talk about most common linguistic mistakes of our fantastic guests! It could happen to hear from an English-speaking person the word “Grazi” istead of “Grazie” (thanks). They don’t pronunciate that final “e” because in English that sound is “i” and not “e” as in Italian.

Another word which is very difficult for English people is “San Gimignano” because the diphtong “gn” does not exist in English! So you hear perople say “San Gimignino”, “San Gimgggnano” …..

San Gimignano

The list with linguistic mistakes made by foreigners that try to speak Italian could be endless and so we prefer focus on what a Tuscan person is, all his characteristics that made him DOC like the wine!

First of all, everybody knows that Tuscan people love to laugh, make fun and are very ironic and self-ironic people. They love have fun and share with friends their free time. They use a lot nicknames to take joke of friends (and not only) calling them “nasone” (big nose)” if he/her has a big one, “Kojak” (from the TV series of the famous detective) if he’s bald, “secco” (thin) for who is tall and thin and the exclamation “che scemo” (what a dummy) is a regular way to say to a friend when he/her makes something funny or unusual.

We use a lot our hands while speaking and we demostrate our affection for someone giving him/her strong pat on their shoulders.

What are the most important characteristics of a true Doc Tuscan?

First of all the right knowledge of Tuscan language. In Tuscany people don’t speak a dialect like in other Italian regions. In Siena and Firenze we are fomous for how we pronounce the “C”. Coca Cola for us is HOHA HOLA, “casa” (home) is HASA and “cannuccia” (straw) HANNUCCIA. Remember that Tuscany is the cradle of Italian language and we are very proud of that!

A symbol is represented by the film “Il Ciclone” by Leonardo Pieraccioni. It is a MUST for all Tuscan people! We suggest you to watch it!

Il Ciclone

Everybody knows Roberto Benigni, the symbol of Tuscan person. Does anyone remember his Oscar award in 1999 for the fim “La vita è bella”? A mix of happiness, spontaneity and exuberance!

Roberto Benigni- Oscar 1999

Roberto Benigni- Oscar 1999

Another characteristic of Tuscan people is their love and passion for good food and wines like Brunello or Chianti. We are proud of our recipes.

First of all we must remember the so-called “Ribollita” which is a soup of bread and vegetatables. The most important ingredient is the borecole. Ribollita means “boiled twice” because you must boil vegetables and bread two times!


So, in order to win over a Tuscan you must be ironic, make him/her laugh and love wine and food!

And you, what do you think about Tuscan people???

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

Tuscan Pecorino. One of the most popular products of our region is without any doubt Pecorino cheese. Tuscan Pecorino is cheese with a PDO, or Protected Designation of Origin. It obtained this prestigious acknowledgment from the European Commission in 1996, after 10 years from that one obtained by the Italian State.

Pecorino is a general word used to indicate every kind of cheese made of ewe’s milk. In Italy it is possible to find a huge variety of Pecorino cheese. It depends on their origin arereas. In Tuscany you can find productions in Cortona, Barga, Pietrasanta, in Maremma, Casentino and Valdichiana areas. Closer to us don’t forget Chianti and Crete Senesi. A little curiosity: Pecorino cheese, produced in Crete Senesi was really appreciated by the Pope Pio II, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was born in Pienza in 1405.

The earliest historical references regarding Pecorino cheese get back Roman period, in particular in Naturalis Historia written by Plinio Il Vecchio. In reality it’s thought that the production was started even before, dating back to the Etruscan period. In XV century Pecorino cheese was known as “cacio marzolino” because of the period of producion (marzolino: marzo=March) that started in March and continue still all the Spring.

As regards its characteristics everybody knows that the basic element is milk, wich must be exclusively ewe’s milk. All the sheeps must be raised inside the territory under the PDO. In particular sheeps can belong to various breeds: Appenninica, Sopravvissana, Massese, Comisana or Sarda.

The Tuscan Pecorino PDO is kept in special natural places of fridges until it reaches the right ripeness. The Tuscan Pecorino PDO is consumed primarily as a dessert cheese. When it becomes very mature, it can also be used as a cheese for grating. The ripeness can last from 40 days till 6 months. It can be produced with ewe’s milk of two varietis: fresh or matured. The fresher type has a rind that varies in colour from yellow to straw yellow; the cheese is white or light yellow. It has a fragrant taste. The mature cheese has has a yellow to deep yellow rind, but depending on the daubs (tomato, ash, oil). The cheese inside is straw-yellow; its flavour is fragrant but never strong. Marking is done on the side of the cheese with ink on soft cheeses and with heat on semi-hard chesees. Among the most recommended wines with fresh Tuscan Pecorino there are Vernaccia of San Gimignano and Bianco of Pitigliano. With mature Tuscan Pecorino there are Brunello of Montalcino and Morellino of Scansano.

And now I write you two recipes in order to taste this amazing tuscan cheese!

Pasta with eggplant and Tuscan Pecorino

Ingredients for 4 people

2 eggplants
1 garlic clove
2 tomatoes
2 slices of pecorino
Oregano, olive oil, pasta

Wash your eggplants, dice and put them in a skillet with olive oil for 10 minutes. Put in garlic, oregano and tomatoes.
Meanwhile boil the pasta and dice Pecorino. When pasta is ready put all together and serve with olive oil and grated pecorino.

Grilled pecorino


Pecorino 400 gr
Olive oil
Slice the pecorino and put all the slices inside a mixture of olive oil peppermint and oregano. After 1 hour grill them and serve when they are still hot.

And now… Enjoy your meal!!!!

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

Florence is one of the most beautiful city in Italy, popular all over the world thanks to its monuments, Uffizi museum and Ponte Vecchio. For anyone who wants leave aside for one moment historical and artistic aspect and focus the attention on culinary aspects linked to Tuscan tradition, Borgo Grondaie suggest you a visit to the Central Market in Florence. This is a project concerning one of the most important places of Florence, which is the first floor of San Lorenzo Market. Here you can find a lot of traditional shops, all manage by artisans traders, lovers of their work and good Tuscan tradition.

Central Market in Florence

At the Central Market it is possible to do your shopping and buy groceries. You can also eat something directly there and sit down in one of the 500 seats available. The timetable is from 10.00 a.m till midnight. It is important to notice that dishes and food you can buy inside the market are genuine, healthy and authentic because all the traders have to sign a quality disciplinary. Every shop you find inside is the ideal place to buy or eat something special and…Italian!!

Central Market

Among the events organized inside the Central Market we must remember the “Mercamercatino” on Sunday 25th of October, 22th of November and 13th of December. Here you will find typical Tuscan products, tours, tastings and meetings. Another event available from 2nd to 23 October is the so-called “Merktoberfest”. Starting from 19, stewards and hostess will welcome you! You will be able to taste german food and Erdinger beer. Moreover every Wednesday it is possible to join the “Mercaledì” with street band and street food. Next meeting for 14 October starting from 8.00 pm.

Central Market in Florence

What are you waiting for????

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

Dit’Unto in Villa a Sesta.  Next Sunday, 11th of October, don’t miss the event “Dit’Unto” in Villa a Sesta near Castelnuovo Berardenga and not far from Siena! It’s a festival where you must eat…but with hands! The expression “Dit’Unto” is abbreviation for Dita Unte in italian that means dirty fingers with oil, sauces or somenthing else which is soil.

Dit’Unto- Villa a Sesta

This is a festival dedicated to street food, very popular in this period. There will be 43 stands that will present typical tuscan dishes and products. The festival will take place in Villa a Sesta from 11 a.m till 22.00 p.m You can taste good food and admire the real poor tuscan cuisine and every kind of tuscan street food like lampredotto and all the typical Siena desserts.

Villa a Sesta


Among the most important guests we must remember Valeria Piccini from Caino Restaurant in Montemerano, Enzo Parri, chef and owner of Enzo restaurant in Siena, Gaetano Trovato, chef of Arnolfo restaurant in Colle Val d’Elsa and Mauro Uliassi, chef of the Uliassi restaurant in Senigallia. Everything will be organized, as usual, by Circolo di Villa a Sesta.

Are you ready to mess your fingers up? :)

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

Autumn of festivals.Octber is officially arrived at Borgo Grondaie. During this period of the year is possible to find a lot of festivals, all dedicated to tuscan tradition.


Last Sunday of October in Montalcino you can assist at the so-called “Sagra del Tordo”. This is the most expected event of the year. The festival is preceded by the opening of the hunting which is held the second Sunday of August.
In particular the districts challenge twice a year and they are: Borghetto, Pianello, Travaglio and Ruga. The challenge is an archery competion.
This festival has medieval origins. In October a lots of birds, especially thrushes, migrate from north to south. During the Middle Ages, after the hunting lots of festivals and banquets were organized.

Sagra del Tordo- Historacal Parade

Sagra del Tordo

The actual reenactment is characterized by an historical parade which pass through the city centre of Montalcino, the fortess and the public palace. From the tower the crier declare the opening of Tordo Festival and some thrushed are realesed. During the afternoon the archery completion takes place. Here you find 2 archers for each districts picked by lottery. At the end the competition is won by the archers who get the highest score. The winner district can receive the award, a silver arrow.

Archery competition

Another event which is very interesting concern the area around Crete Senesi that you can pass and visit by the so-called Treno natura, a steam locomotive that starts from Siena and arrive in Asciano. There you can visit the Autumn Market and some museums. For further information contact Agenzia Viaggi Visione del mondo info@visionedelmondo.com/ tel. 0577 281834 oppure Ferrovia Val d’Orcia treninvaldorcia@ferrovieturistiche.it tel. 0577 207413 / 338 8992577.

Nature Train- Il Treno Natura

And during this period don’t forget the Polenta Festival in Sovicille on Octber 25th. You can have lunch start at 12.30 for 15 Euro per person or dinner from 18.00.

Polenta Festival- Sagra della Polenta

Which is your favorite autumn festival???

Ilaria Simi

Published by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

Chianti Ecomarathon 2015. Borgo Grondaie has decided today to talk about a really interessant event which can join the passionates of nature, sport, good Tuscan food and running. We are talking about the Chianti Ecomarathon which will take place next 17th and 18th October. All the runners who will participate to this initiative, the will have the occasion of cross over and run through the beautiful tuscan nature in one of the better known area of this region: Chianti.

Chianti Ecomarathon 2015

In particular, the availables trails for the Chianti Ecomarathon are six in total and they are divided into: Ecomarathon of 42 km, Chianti Classic Trail of 21 km, Luca Trail of 14 km, the Ecopromenade of 10 km, the Wineries walk of 8 km and the Nordic Walking of 11 km.

How about the Ecomarathon of 42 km, it is important to notice that there are not so many climbs but it is rather a run throght the Siennese hills. The highest point is about 627 meters and the lowest is of 206. Her you find most white streets next to the vineyards. The arrival is in Piazza Marconi in Castelnuovo Berardenga.

Chianti Ecomarathon 2015

The Classic Chianti Trail of 21 km is the new of this year. The trail was extended of 3 km through which it will be possible to admire a unique landscape of Siena, Val d’Orcia and the Chianti area.

The Luca Trail of 14 km was confirmed also this year and this one was extended of 3 km. The departure is from san Gusmè on Sunday, 18th at 9.30. This is a rather simple trail.

Moreover on Sunday 18th October you can partecupate to teh 9th Edition of Eco-Promenade of 10 km. The departure is in Piazza Marconi in Castelnuovo Berardenga. It is adressed to all people who love have a walk through the vineyards, cypresses and olive trees.

Chianti Ecomarathon 2015

Another initiative is the Wineries Walk; it seems to be created for food and wine lovers! The appointment is for Saturday 17th of October in Castelnuovo Berardenga where you can participate at this tour of 8 km in order to discover the most important agricultural holdings of Chianti. You can also taste wine and some traditional Tuscan dishes and food. At the end of the tour, in the centre of the village there will be a market rich in typical products.

The last choice is the famous Nordic Walking with his trail of 11 km.

And you, which kind of trail do you prefer?


Published by Hotel Borgo Grondaie