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

 

 

GIORGIA BRANCATO

 

 

THE EXPO are trade fair characterized by a specific theme. It is also a term adopted by the BIE, Bureau International des Expositions.
The B.I.E. Bureau International des Expositions is an international society, signed by an agreement with many countries and was born in Paris in 1928. It currently has 168 member states and organizations. Non-members countries may participate at the exhibitions organized by the BIE and numerous international associations are invited to participate in the Expo, too.
The BIE controls, regulates, coordinates and follows the different phases that will bring EXPO: from control to the selection of candidates to the programming of the final event. B.I.E.’s goals are: to work for the environment, strengthen the relations between the different countries, share cultures and education, foster development, experiment with the future.
The Expo may be UNIVERSAL or INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS. The purpose of the universal exhibitions is to promote technological progress and industrial worldwide, presenting the latest innovations that somehow can improve the conditions of social and economic life of the planet.
Many are the Universal Exhibitions Specialized and officially recognized by the BIE that have followed from 1933 to today, but some of them, even prior to this date, made history.
Down below we present some of the monuments that were created for the presentation of the Universal Exhibition, which have been built for the occasion. Some of these installations have proven much more than temporary facilities and have become real monuments.
Crystal Palace- London 1851
Crystal Palace London Expo 1851
The Crystal Palace was built during the first World Exhibition in London in 1851 and is a huge iron and glass building, spread over 84,000 square meters. It was built in only four months, was installed and then be dismantled and relocated elsewhere at the end of the event. But in 1936, the Crystal Palace was completely destroyed by fire, remained up only the two side towres damaged by fire and later demolished during World War II for safety reasons. Even today, the Crystal Palace is present in all the history books and is a source of inspiration of ‘modern architecture.
Tour Eiffel- Paris 1889
Tour Eiffel Paris Expo 1889
Most famous monument in Paris, was built in more than two years for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 and dedicated to the centenary of the French Revolution. The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of the French capital. Three years, 300 workers, 18,000 pieces of forged iron, half a million nails and 324 meters high. Born from the engineering genius of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.
Civic Aquarium – Milan 1906
Civic Aquarium Milan 1906
The Civic Aquarium of Milan was built for the Universal Exhibition is the construction of Milan in 1906, dedicated to the theme of transport, and it was the only pavilion not to be dismantled after the event. The Civic Aquarium is the third oldest aquarium in Europe.
Atomium – Brussels 1958
Atomium Brussels Expo 1958
The Atomium is a monument built on the occasion of ‘World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958. It is located in Heysel Park, was built entirely of steel that represents the nine atoms of an iron crystal. It has a total height of 102 meters and 18 meters of spheres that are connected by escalators.
Space Needle – Seattle USA 1962
Space Needle Seattle USA Expo 1962
The Space Needle is a tower 184 feet high, designed by John Graham for the Universal Exposition in Seattle in 1962. You can visit the tower with a breathtaking panoramic view, and in 1962. You can visit the tower with a breathtaking panoramic view, and where at 152 metres a restaurant is located.
Aquarium – Genoa 1992

L ‘Aquarium of Genoa is the largest aquarium in Italy and second in Europe. The Aquarium was built for the Specialized Exposition in 1992 celebrating the Five Hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America. The site located in Ponte Spinola spread over 5 floors with a total area of 9,700 square meters.

posted by Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

The Tarot Garden is an art park developed in the late seventies by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, populated by statues inspired by the shapes of the Tarots. Definitely inspired by the beautiful park Guell in Barcelona, Niki de Saint Phalle, with this fantastic garden, realizes the magical and spiritual dream of her life, to create giant sculptures, high around 12/15 meters, full of symbolic and esoteric meanings. Glittering sculptures, which seem to come from a storybook, built of steel and concrete, covered with mosaics in fine glass and ceramics. Many, from all over the world have already traveled this path of imagination, a place where not only nature and art meet, but that also remains suspended without space or time … ..
The Tarot Garden  is located on the southern side of the Garavicchio hill near Pescia Fiorentina, an hamlet close to Capalbio (GR). It is about 1 ½ hours from Siena and being located between the coastal road  and inland hills, it is perfect solution for those who want to spend a pleasant day taking a nice break from the beach.
Tarot Garden is open every day until October 15th  from 2:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m. For reservation email to tarotg@tin.it

We visited this wonderful park and here same photos:

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

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Tarot Garden Capalbio Italy

 
For more information contact Hotel Borgo Grondaie

 

Posted by: www.hotelsienaborgogrondaie.com

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

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

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

 

Posted by: www.hotelsienaborgogrondaie.com

 

If you have already been at Borgo Grondaie you know that at the Hall, near the internet point, there is a bookrack with a book entitled ‘Toscana, Places of harmony’ which was given us by Antonella and Caterina, the instructors of Nordic Walking.

In this book there are wonderful pictures taken by Andrea Bonfanti.
Every day I had a look at this book when I was at work looking for some new places to visit in Tuscany and… every time I was impressed by a picture of a Medieval bridge situated in a village called Borgo a Mozzano that is a little bit far from Siena, about two hours and half but… just a week ago I had the opportunity to go there and verify if this bridge was so beautiful like in the picture and it is indeed.

I went there with Mauro, a friend of Borgo Grondaie who every year come from Adria, a town in Veneto, to visit us.

Before to leave we checked directions on Google maps but at the end of our trip we realized that they were not so good. On Michelin there were better directions.
Anyway….
We took the freeway from Siena to Florence, then took the 3rd exit onto the E35 ramp to Firenze/Bologna/A11/Pisa Nord, merged onto A1 /E35, took the exit onto A11/E76 toward E80/Genova/Pisa Nord/A12/Livorno and took the exit Capannori BUT we suggest you to take exit Lucca and then the SP12 toward Borgo a Mozzano.

 When we arrived we left the car at the beginning of the village, went downtown by walk till the end of that where on the right side we found the Bridge of the Maddalena, probably dating from the 14th century.

 

Re-christened by popular fantasy the Devil’s Bridge, it spans the Serchio with four arches of different breadth and height. According to legend, it was the devil who complited its construction in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross it.
It worth a visit, believe me!

In the village there is nothing special to see but the Bridge is really suggestive. We went over that, bought some snacks at the Bar near the Restaurant located at the bottom of the Bridge and sat down in the garden seats to admire the scenic view all around.

Looking in the map for another place to visit nearby Borgo a Mozzano, Mauro saw that we were very close to Barga, a village well known to the italians because a famous italian poet of the last century, Giovanni Pascoli, was inspired by the sound of the clock tower of the cathedral bell in writing the poem ‘L’ora a Barga’ (the hour at Barga).
To reach this village from Borgo a Mozzano we took again the SP12.

It is a Medieval town clinging to a terrace on the left of the Serchio. It is a picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets and lanes called ‘carraie’ (because they are like tiers) converging toward the broad grassy square of Ardingo, at the top of the village, on which rises the Duomo, of late Medieval origin but continuously renovated over the centuries.

I liked very much this village. We walked all around, took some pictures and then stopped for dinner at a restaurant located outside the walls and called ‘Il Ponte’.

I definitively suggest this trip to those who stay at Borgo Grondaie for more days and decide to visit Lucca and its countryside or also to those who stop in Lucca.

 

Lucca is a wonderful town, famous for its square-shaped ellipse, its walls and its churchs including that of San Martino where you can admire the sculpture of Ilaria del Carretto made by Jacopo della Quercia.

posted by www.hotelsienaborgogrondaie.com

 

We want to share an experience occured to our guests in a parking lot in a village in the Chianti area.
They parked their car, paid at the machine and went to visit the area by walk.
When they returned what a surprise!!!They found a tickey (fee) at their car. The reason was because they didn’t pay for parking.
They tried to explain to a local policeman that they had paid and showed the ticket.
No way to cancel the fee…..the reason? They didn’t leave the ticket inside the windscreen in order that the parking controllers could see the payment.
My advice for everybody visiting our country. In all parking lots where you have to pay in advance please leave the ticket inside the windscreen
Why our guests didn’t understand it? Because on the ticket it is written only in Italian.
 

How to get there Borgo Grondaie

TRAIN
This is the ideal means of transport to get to the Cinque Terre. Trains are very frequent, particularly in summer. The terminus is La Spezia on the Pisa – Genova line, where trains stop as all along the way. Train travel enables visitors to organise lots of trips to the villages or along the paths of the Cinque Terre without problems of time or tight itineraries.

BOAT
In spring-summer there are daily sea connections to the Cinque Terre from La Spezia, Lerici and Porto Venere. Internal navigation companies service Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore continuously throughout the day with terminus in Monterosso

posted by www.hotelsienaborgogrondaie.com