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

Who sows virtue collects fame! said Leonardo da Vinci

Like every morning, for work and for pleasure, I have opened my page on social networks and my attention has been caught by a small post and praise dedicated to Brunello Cucinelli.

The great manger of cashmere, famous throughout the world, and unfortunately for me a big lack in my low-budget wardrobe, has always been a model of great entrepreneurship. Surely the most scenic shot was having given an extra reward of five million to his employees three years ago, just over 6000 euro each distributed on Christmas Eve. This does credit to an entrepreneur who recognizes the added value of its “arms”, but it is not what struck me the most.

Brunello Cucinelli

The fact that it has given new life to the medieval village of Solomeo, not only creating the company headquarter there but completely renovating the old village, makes me think of the vision that this man has. A vision of the work that goes far beyond the mere pursuit of material wealth but the opportunity to make the difference.



And he certainly is doing this. Talking about the foundation he created (on site he says: ” If art – whether figurative, conceptual, musical, theatrical or in any other form falls fully within the objectives of the Brunello Cucinelli Foundation, no less important is the study and research of modern artisan based humanism that restores the importance of everyday activities when at work, with the family and during leisure. What’s more, sport is not secondary to art. The Foundation considers sport a foundation of society and intends to promote and focus on amateur rather than professional sports. Every contribution of men and women who identify with these ideals is a rich resource that embodies the cultural identityof the Brunello Cucinelli Foundation.”
The vision and mission of Cucinelli is a global and sharing vision of good and beauty with no time, as a contract with humanity, from mortal to immortality. His daughters will enjoy their father’s patrimony but only on the condition “that you continue to follow my example: to protect the company and the Foundation, to preserve the medieval village of Solomeo, continue what the entrepreneur calls -our philosophy -. ”
The School of Arts and Crafts created within the village of Solomeo embodies Brunello Cucinelli new vision of capitalist. Create a place where ancient crafts become the future, a virtuous process that honors what made Italy a great country. The discipline of mending , tailoring, horticulture and gardening and masonry.
Thanks Mr. Cucinelli. This is an extraordinary example of how is possible to built CULTURE nowadays!


Siena European Capital of Culture 2019

SIENA EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2019! Siena is one of the candidates for European Capital of Culture 2019. But what does the title mean and how can it become the capital? The CEC was born in 1985 thanks to the  proposal of the Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri in order to better integrate the various European cultures. Over the years, the CEC has become a real moment of economic and social revival of the territories and in 2008 took on a competitive value. Each year, two European Union countries are hosting the event. All cities in these countries can participate in the competition by bringing forward a proposal for their revival and development of culture. At  the end a jury will choose only one city per country. 2019 will be the year of Italy and Bugaria. The Italian cities are: Cagliari, Lecce, Matera, Perugia, Ravenna and of course Siena. September 8 Siena has delivered the second program file. Inside a deepening of the  project of Siena Capital of Culture whose aim is  to become a center of cultural production and a scientific and technological accomplishment at an international level. The CEC is above all an opportunity to revive tourism industry and  the ability to create a  more aware economic future. Before the end of October we will know if Siena will have the honor of representing Italy and be the voice of European culture in Europe and all over the world, creating a new model of a “city of citizens”. We look forward the verdict anxiously, keeping  fingers crossed,  praying  and screaming  all together  HURRAY SIENA.



Have you ever wondered, why wine bottles are not all equal? There are bottles of different colors, texture and even size. Borgo Grondaie  wants to share with you our discover.

 Before, let’s take a step back in history, to know when and where the people began to store wine in bottles.

 Studies say that storing wine in glass bottles dates back to the XVIII century, when in France began producing the first bottles of blown glass.

Nowadays,  bottles are presenting with different shapes, colors  and sizes. The bottle color and shape can play a role in how the wine ages, because the air will come in contact with the wine in different areas depending on the bottle.

The main purpose of the bottle is to minimize the passage of light coming through the glass. The ray of sunshine will make the wine fake and it’s for this reason that especially for wines that will not be consumed young and red wines, dark glass bottles are preferred.

In a commercial context the size of the bottle more used is (0,750 liters), the ideal container for quality wines suitable for aging allow a harmonious and practical for the commercial operations of storage and shipping, also if there are any various sizes (from 0.1875 l up to 130 l).

In addition to the classic standard size, there are larger sizes, the Magnum from a liter and a half, the three-liter Jeroboam, etc.. and half a bottle of 0,375 or 0,500

Here are the namesand sizes of thepopular formats



40 BOTT.



20 BOTT.



16 BOTT.



12 BOTT.



















0,375 LITERS





Let us look atthe different types:


BORDOLESE (1):The Bordeaux, originally from the Bordeaux region, the bottle is more prevalent in the market. It is usually dark red wines while generally transparent or light green to white ones.

BORDOLESE A SPALLA ALTA (2):deriving from above, this form gives greater elegance and is then used to fine details and red wines.

CHAMPAGNOTTA (3):indicated for classic method sparkling wines or champagne, the glass of this bottle, has a greater thickness since it must withstand the pressure exerted by the wine.

CHAMPAGNE CUVEE (4):derived from the previous one, it has a wider base and a longer neck.

RENANA O ALSAZIANA (5):perfect for storage of white wines, this bottle comes with a cylinder-conical shape more stretched tapered. This type of bottle is coming from the cellar of the Rhine, Germany.

MARSALESE (6):as his name indicates, this is the bottle used for storage of Marsala. The glass is dark brown or black.

ALBEISA (7):is generally used for the preservation of red wines of Piemonte. The bottle is dark to allow a better refinement of the product.

BORGOGNA O BORGOGNOTTA (8):this bottle green color is often used for the preservation of the great wines of Burgundy. Characterized by a cylindrical-conical, in the past it was used interchangeably for white and red wines.

BOCKSBEUTEL O PULCIANELLA (9):rounded in shape and green in color. Used for storage of red wines of Franconia.

PORTO (10):generally used for fortified Iberian wines such as Port or Sherry, it often presents with different shades of green or brown.

ANFORA (11):  is generally used in France for the bottling of the wines of Provence. Some Italian companies use it for storage of Verdicchio

Almost all the bottles are used, as well as in the format of the capacity of 750 cl., In size from 375 cl., Said “half“, and in size from 1,500 cl. Called “Magnum”.
The color of the glass used ranges from white to amber, brown, green, shades lighter to darker. Especially for wines intended for aging more or less long in the bottle, it is preferable to use glass very dark, and recent studies have produced compounds that allow to obtain a filtered light for optimum wine storage.


Here a photo of Borgo Grondaie Wine Cellar.


Every year, during the month of February, very close to Siena takes place the beautiful Carnival of Foiano with the participation of adults and children coming from all the province.

If the departure is from Siena, you’ll have to go in the direction of Perugia and exit at Foiano della Chiana.

Few days ago the first parades began after noon and the party was further enhanced by the organization of traditional dances of Ecuador. Who is writing this post is Gabriela, the new entry in Borgo Grondaie team. My origins are from Ecuador that is why this event make me feel proud and closer to my country.

Fonte: pagina Facebook Carnevale Foiano

The protagonists of the Carnival are the 4 groups: AZZURRI, BOMBOLO, NOTTAMBULI & RUSTICI.

To discover the origin of these Carnival groups we have to come back to the last century. During the year, each group works hard to build a parade float, they choose a float design and with an allegorical theme (freely chosen by each group).

To avoid wrong behaviour and external aid, the float construction takes place in the same building.

Fonte:  Carnevale Foiano

The artisans work with passion without receiving any compensation.

The floats parades are judged by a jury composed of 5 professionals: a designer, a painter, an art critic, a sculptor and a journalist.


An atmosphere of joy and happiness as the floats parades are passing by, many smiles and lots of confetti! An experience not to be missed!

Last Sunday of Carnival , the verdict will be read following the funeral of King Giocondo: the King of Carnival.

At this point of King Giocondo’s Testament will be read in the Piazza: it was reading in rhyme by the President of the Carnival all positive and negative passed year events

Upcoming events: sunday 2nd & 9th of march 2014

Ticket Prices:

Ordinary: Euro 8,00

Children under 12: Free

Discount Family: 2 adults + 1 child = Euro 13,00

Group discount of more than 30 people: Euro 7,00

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Turisti per casa is the name of the guided themed  tours  that every second and fourth Sunday of the month, until February  2014 will take place in the Pinacoteca di Siena at 11 am, just before lunch . Why not to tale advantage from 20% discount that some restaurants  recognize if you show the Pinacoteca ticket



Borgo Grondaie has a special love for  this museum ,  that is why we have  chosen it as the venue for the 2013 edition of the Digital Invasions  Event. In this regard there is this very interesting  post written by Dominique Papi Cipriani, a professional photographer known  at the time of the  Digital Invasion, who recounts with sincere gratitude the experience of that day.

We join with enthusiasm  this initiative, which has allowed us to investigate the origins of the  Pinacoteca collection  and become aware of curiosities related to certain works such as the Santa Petronilla Altarpiece by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and the dramatic story of the beautiful Ghismunda from Bernardino Mei .
The event is organized by the guides of Siena (Federagit) with the support of Confesercenti of Siena.
Therefore it’s a pleasure to  share with you  the calendar of next visits,  time and topics and invite you to participate because it is really worth it.