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 tel. 0577 281834 oppure Ferrovia Val d’Orcia 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

Lucca Comics&Games 2015. There is an event you can’t miss! We are talking about Lucca Comics&Games that will take place in Lucca from 29th of October till 1st of November. This is a fair for all comics lovers, but not only! Everybody can partecipate to this event which is considered the most important of this field, the first one in Europe and second in the world after the Comiket in Tokyo. Everything happens in Lucca, a beautiful city 135 km far from Siena that you can reach in two hours by car.

Lucca Comics and Games 2015

At Lucca Comics you can find the most important operators in the sector, lots of stores and associations. During this fair it’s also possible to assist concerts, projections, meetings and various shows.The two main important areas are Comics Area and Games Area. The first one is the most important olf the entire fair and here you can find everything linked to comics and international animation. Every year several publishing companies want to partecipate, as well as a lot of stores, divided in stands.

Lucca Comics

In particular Comics area is divided in a lot of zones: Napoleone square, Giglio square, San Giovanni square, San Martino square and Garibaldi street. In Collegio square you can find The Japan Palace and in 2013 another section has been introduced: the Comic Artist Area. You can find also an area which is dedicated completely at live performaces. There are a lot of musical groups and singers as Cristina D’Avena, Giorgio Vanni, Enzo Draghi and Superbots.

Cristina D’Avena at Lucca Comics

From 2007 it is also possible to visit a new area which is dedicated at Japan world: we are talking about “Japan Town”. Another one founded in 2011 is Lucca Movie, Comics and Games linked to cinema.

Lucca Comics&Games

Lucca Comics is also known thanks to its guests. According the tradition in every edition there are three honored guests. They could be writers, editors, artists and so on. All the activities during the days of the fair concern exhibitions, meetings, interviews and seminars.
For any further information we suggest you to visit the official website of Lucca Comics and Games:

We hope you enjoy it!

Ilaria Simi

Published by hotel Borgo Grondaie

Chianti, a sip of culture! Today we leave from Borgo Grondaie to explore one of the most famous areas of Tuscany, Chianti. Especially known for the production of the wine of the same name, the Chianti hills are located in a vast area between the towns of Siena, Florence and Arezzo. Gaiole in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti are the “historical” municipalities of the region. These three villages were the ancient terzieri (subdivision of several towns) of the Chianti League, set up as a defensive community under the auspices of the Florentine republic in fourteenth century. The coat of arms of the League was a Black Cock on a gold background, an image that became the symbol of Chianti Classico.


Emblem for the Chianti League

Emblem for the Chianti League


Let’s start our virtual tour with the town of Gaiole in Chianti located between Chianti and Valdarno, near the Massellone stream. Thanks to its strategic position, the country has always been a commercial center for the surrounding villages and castles, and because of this function, it was never fortified. What makes Gaiole a magical place is the presence of castles and ancient churches such as the church of Santa Maria of Spaltenna and Meleto and Brolio Castels. Meleto Castle was an ancient property of a feudal family. Its structure still has a military setting, with the presence of two cylindrical towers placed at the edge of the southern ramparts. Inside there are several furnished rooms decorated in eighteenth-century style and a theater with a stage and an original set design. Various medieval festivals and gala dinners are held in the Castle. Brolio Castle, of Lombard origin, since Middle Ages is the property of the Florentine noble family Ricasoli, which meant the building of a massive fortification due to the danger of its strategic location. Since the twelfth century, Ricasoli Family began production of the famous Chianti Classico and today it is the most ancient and long-lived winery in the world.


Meleto Castle  - Gaiole in Chianti

Meleto Castle – Gaiole in Chianti


Brolio Castle - Gaiole in Chianti

Brolio Castle – Gaiole in Chianti


castello di Brolio wine

Castello di Brolio wine


Radda in Chianti is a village near Siena surrounded by walls. Between an alley and other, it is not difficult to find many restaurants and wine bars to taste excellent local wines. Noteworthy is the Podestà Palace, headquarters of the Chianti League. You can visit the Museum of Sacred Art that houses several masterpieces of the fifteenth century. Those who were in the proximity of this picturesque medieval village in late May, can’t miss the opportunity to attend the event named Radda in the Glass, which this year will take place on 30 and 31 May 2015. During the event you can taste with producer best wines of Radda in Chianti with producers. Also in the days of Radda in Glass will be held an exhibition of Renaissance clothing in the ancient prisons of the Podestà Palace.


Podestà Palace .- Radda in Chianti

Podestà Palace – Radda in Chianti


Radda in the Glass event poster

Radda in the Glass event poster


Third and last village of “Historical Chianti” is Castellina in Chianti, of Etruscan origin, surrounded by crenellated walls. Thanks to its strategic location, since the Middle Ages it has been the center of historical events and battles. The old town has a medieval structure, as it is shown by the countless alleys and Via delle Volte, a covered road set against the ancient walls. Among the places of interest we find the Medieval Fortress and the crenellated tower of the Church of San Salvatore that overlook the town square. The fortress now houses the town hall but was an ancient fortress of the fifteenth century. The neo-Romanesque church of San Salvatore dates from the sixteenth century. Inside we can admire an important fresco representing the Madonna Enthroned, ascribed to Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452), a wooden statue of the Renaissance of St. Barnabas, former patron of Castellina. Castellina in Chianti is also the center of the Tuscan gastronomic culture thanks to the presence of numerous wineries where you can taste the famous Chianti wine. In May there is the Pentecost in Castellina with wine tastings, traditional performances, street food and craft markets.


View of Castellina in Chianti

View of Castellina in Chianti


San Salvatore Church in Castellina in Chianti

San Salvatore Church in Castellina in Chianti


Via delle Volte - Castellina in Chianti

Via delle Volte – Castellina in Chianti


medieval Fortress - Castellina in Chianti

Medieval Fortress – Castellina in Chianti






Journey between nature and art at the Chianti Sculpture Park of Pievasciate, in the province of Siena. On the way to this little village, arriving from neighboring towns such as Ponte a Bozzone, Pianella, Vagliagli and Gaiole, visitors will be amazed to find strange and bizarre sculptures such as giants peppers, red telephone boxes and statues that are spaced out with cypresses, presaging the arrival to the Chianti Sculpture Park. The park was born from the idea of spouses Giadrossi who decided to use an area of seven acres of a pristine forest of oak trees the creation of a permanent outdoor exhibition of contemporary artwork.


Yu Zhao Yang - Struzzi Metropolitani - Chianti Sculpture Park

Yu Zhao Yang – Metropolitan Ostriches – Chianti Sculpture Park


Peperoni - Parco Sculture Chianti

Peppers – Chianti sculpture park


Cabine telefoniche - Parco sculture del chianti

Telephone boxes- Chianti sculpture park


The sculptures were made by great contemporary artists from twenty-six countries. After a thorough inspection of the area where their work would be exposed, they tried to create sculptures fully integrated with the surrounding nature. The presence of sculptors from different countries helps to make the park a multicultural place. Each artist has brought something new to the exhibition through the use of different materials: marble, granite, glass or modern installations like neon lights and sounds.


Energia - Costa Varatsos - Parco Sculture del Chianti

Energy – Costa Varatsos – Chianti sculpture park

Labirinto -  Jeff Sawar - Parco Sculture del Chianti

Labyrinth – Jeff Sawar – Chianti sculpture park



Through their sculptures, artists want to convey some messages: in the park there are works with aesthetic purposes and other that are about social issues. Among them, there are the “Rainbow” made by Italian Federica Marangoni which symbolize the fragility of nature and the “Faith and Illusion” from Dolorosa Sinaga, representing the disillusionment towards progress. Very popular is the “Labyrinth” of English Jeff Saward with interactive installations and the sculpture of The “Leapfrog” of Dominic Benhura, one of the best-known exponents of the African tribe art of the Shona, that presents a game played by children.

Fede e Illusione- Dolorosa Sinaga- Parco delle Sculture del Chianti

Faith and Illusion- Dolorosa Sinaga- Chianti sculpture park


The leapfrog – Domenic Benhura – Chianti sculpture park


Arcobaleno - Federica Marangoni - Parco sculture del Chianti

Rainbow – Federica Marangoni – Chianti sculpture park


The park is also important for its Amphitheater surrounded by nature, that enjoys an excellent acoustics. The steps can accommodate up to 250 spectators. Outdoor events are often held, mostly in the months of July and August, with concerts of jazz, opera, tango and many other entertainments. This year the concert season will start on July 14th and will end on August 18th. Chianti Sculpture Park is opened daily from 10:00 am to sunset. The cost of ticket is € 10.00 Adults, € 5.00 children under 16 years.


Anfiteatro - Parco  Sculture

Amphitheatre – Chianti sculpture park




Arthurian splendours at San Galgano. The British legend of King Arthur and his famous Sword in the Stone are known all over the world. But few people know that you can find the same grandeur of Matter in the British in the province of Siena, to be more precise in Chiusdino. Right here, surrounded by Valley of Merse river, there are the ancient Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano and the chapel, which houses the famous sword that Saint Galgan dug into the rock as a sign of abandonment of worldly life to devote himself to prayer and meditation.
The story of San Galgano is shrouded in mystery and it has been the subject of several rewrites. The most accepted story is that of a young man named Galgano Guidotti, born into an aristocratic family of Chiusdino. After a dissolute youth dedicated to luxury, Galgano converted himself after seeing the Archangel Michael in a dream that predicted his conversion. The hermit built a hermitage in Monte Siepi where he lived until his death at the age of thirty-three years. The chapel, which houses the tomb of San Galgano, is also called La Rotonda ( the Rotunda) because of its circular shape and the presence of a hemispherical dome in alternating bands of color. Inside visitors remain fascinated by the alternation of concentric circles of bricks and travertine and the precious frescos of Ambrogio Lorenzetti.



Chapel of Saint Galgano in Monte Siepi

Chapel of Saint Galgano in Monte Siepi



Here it is kept the famous sword embedded in a rock which forms a cross with the stump outside. Several historical reconstructions have found that the sword is from twelfth century. It was also found that the rock was not hollow inside to allow the easy insertion of the sword, but the blade seems to have perfectly past the stone.



Stone in the Stone of San Galgano

Sword in the Stone of San Galgano



Near the chapel there is the Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano, of Romanesque style with Latin cross. It was built around 1218 and after a period of splendor, was abandoned by the few monks who lived there because of the plague of the sixteenth century. He was later robbed and fell into disrepair. Today it is lacking of the floor and the roof, and it is located in a charming and mysterious area.


San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey

San Galgano Abbey




However the Abbey of San Galgano is a tourist and cultural destination as well as a place of leisure. Every year is held in the month of July, the Festival of San Galgano, a series of classical and light music. This year Festival 2015 will be held from July 3rd to 26th, and will provide for light music (New Trolls and Black Tunes Martina Salsedo with Ricky Portera. The two evenings will be preceded by performances of some bands, ethnic music (Celtic Night with music and dances), Opera (The Barber of Seville and Rigoletto and the Gran Gala ‘of opera), classical music (with the two concerts of the plan and the performance of Soai Youth Orchestra, Osaka) and, finally operetta (The Widow Allegra).


Locandina Festival  di San Galgano 2015



Comparison of food and wine at Borgo Grondaie. This is Giorgia, Sicilian by birth and Tuscan by adoption , student and new entry at Hotel Borgo Grondaie. I’ve moved to Siena for study reasons but as food addicted I’ve got the chance to enjoy the Tuscan gastronomy. Comparing food and wine traditions of Tuscany to those of my native land Sicily, I could see that there are more similarities than differences. After all, Tuscans and Sicilians are not really that different : they love good food , good wines and good company. Both regions boast delicious dishes, famous all over the world and I realized that there are common passions: one of these is that for almonds.


Frutta di martorana

Cantuccini of Siena


Everyone knows cantuccini and ricciarelli, typical products of Siena which contain among their ingredients almond paste. Cantuccini are biscuits obtained  slicing the loaf of dough still warm; ricciarelli are sweets of Siena made with almonds, sugar, egg whites, made with a paste similar to  marzipan. The almond paste is also used in Sicily to prepare cookies and the famous frutta di martorana , the shape of which perfectly reproduces the appearance of real fruits and sometimes, of vegetables and fishes.




Tuscan fried vegetables


Sicilian Arancini


“Fritta è bona anche una ciabatta” (fried is good even a slipper)  a Tuscan motto says. In fact there are many recipes based on this type of cooking which involves mainly vegetables and meat , creating tasty fried mix . The Sicilian tradition imitates the Tuscan one with fried fish and vegetable or typical dishes like panelle and arancini.


tuscan tagliatelle


sicilian Cavatelli


Another common habit for both regions is fresh homemade pasta , which in Sicily has its roots at Roman time: cavateddi, causuneddi,  maccaruna , lazzitedda , virmiceddi , capiddi d’ ancilu , lasagna and cannelloni . In Tuscany there are  gnocchi, maltagliati , ravioli , tagliatelle of various types and pici .



Vinsanto and Cantuccini


Passito of Pantelleria


And the wine? A Sicilian proverb says: ” u vinu è bonu pi ccu su sapi viviri “( wine is good for those who can drink it). Tuscans and Sicilians are masters and connoisseurs in this field . In both regions we find  variety of Passito Wines : the famous Vin Santo is a traditional Tuscan wine made ​​from white grapes . In Sicily are very famous the  dessert liqueurs or wines made from dried grapes. The most famous Sicilian sweet liqueur is certainly the Passito of Pantelleria .

Discovering  another region perfumes and flavors that I thought to have set aside for a while , made ​​me realize that no matter where you are, food always has the ability to take you to faraway places in time and space , feeling at home again, and why not, considering ” home ” a new region that welcomed you. And as Anthelme Brillant- Savarin says : “The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star”.


Giorgia Brancato