The best of the winter – Christmas is coming! Probably in your city you can see it all around. So do I, here in Siena. The history center’s streets are decorated with lights and with a big Christmas tree. This makes a great and unique atmosphere that attracts us to leave our houses in the evening! With pleasure!
And as I wrote last year good moments are passing so fast! But the most important is that they are coming again. Saturday 6th December and Sunday 7th December since 8 am till 8 pm, Siena hosted: Mercato nel Campo. Weather was really good and center of Siena in the incredible crowded! It was hard to move.
As you already know (from last year :)) Mercato nel Campo is a modern market of tradition and excellence of Siena.
On Piazza del Campo were located over 140 sales counters. We had again a great possibility to admire arts of the local artisans that performed their work live and buy handmade goods and unique Christmas decorations.
However we are in Italy and the most important here is of course food and eating. So the most occupied were food’s stalls. Sellers encouraged us to taste and purchase their products! It wasn’t hard because after tasting it was hard not to buy to taste more! Also amazing smell in the air made you for sure hungry! Typical products that is of course cheese (with pecorino ahead); wines; virgin olive oil; huge choice of honey; meats; sweets; pasta; marmalade . . .
After food (couldn’t be inversely of course) we could pass the other part . . . of stalls. There mostly Christmas decorations so this what we need now the most! I wasn’t able to take my eyes off stalls! So we could get something that will remind us that Christmas is so close or something that will be a very nice gift!
Have a nice and sunny week ! :)
It is another piece of history in Siena – was built in the 14th century into the walls near the early medieval church of San Donato by expanding an existing castle of the Salimbeni family. The rear of the building shows signs of its most striking medieval building. Of the two original towers it has remained one and it is preserved the original Fondaco Salimbeni.
In 1419 it was confiscated by the Republic of Siena and partly used as a Dogana del Sale and ufficio di Gabella and after also as a seat of il Monte Pio (Monte di Pietà). In 1866 the building was purchased by the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena and became its seat. The Palazzo Salimbeni faces a square with a statue of the local religious figure Sallustio Bandini.
Do you know that the Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank is considered the oldest bank in the world? Today is the one of leading banks in Italy, at the head of the group that puts it among the largest financial institutions in terms of market quota.
The Monte was founded in 1472, at the behest of the Republic of Siena. In an ideal senese, it was the heir of the mercantile and banking traditions of medieval Siena, and developed an affective system of credit to the advantage of the local economy. The public character of the bank was confirmed by the reform of 1624. In 1995, by a Ministry of the Treasury decree, the bank became a public company with the name Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
What this historical and interesting building has to offer you? It has for sure rich Art collection.
What is more the collection belonging to the Monte dei Paschi di Siena is the product of layers of history, of commissions and purchases that slowly, over time, took on the shape of an actual collection.
The major expansion of the collection began in the 1980s, when space was specifically set aside and designed for a museum inside the Bank’s historic Palace in Siena.
The most important are: the fresco of Madonna della Misericordia (Benvenuto di Giovanni); the fresco della Vergine; statues of Santi Bernardino, Caterina of Siena, Antonio and Maria Maddalena (Bernardino Fungai); Madonna con bambino (Giovanni di Paolo); la Rocca Salimbeni e la scala (Pierluigi Spadolini).
If you are lucky you can enter and get guide tour for free. When ? Every year on first Sutarday of October as well as 2.07 and 16.08 – Palio’s days.
So don’t forget about another must see in Siena – Palazzo Salimbeni when you are in Siena. It is really worth to enter and see!
Let’s say it . . . an autumn came to Siena. However lucky we, it is a very sunny autumn.
This so picturesque city is situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is famous with Renaissance-era city walls (dated from the early 1500s) that will for sure attract your attention at the beginning. Do you know that the walls remained intact ? ! Now they are the best place to make a walk through a pathway surrounded by lots of trees and greenery. There are more than four kilometers of walls.
But this beautiful city has much more to offer. You will see many medieval basilica-form churches in Lucca with rich arcaded façades and campaniles. For sure the most important are:
-Romanesque church of San Giusto;
-Basilica di San Frediano which facade is decorated with an amazing 13th century Byzantine-style mosaic. Can you imagine that the church was originally built in the 6th century, however after was remodeled in the 12th;
-Church of Sant’Alessandro;
-Church of San Michele.
As every Tuscany city also Lucca has a big Piazza – Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro that was the site of a Roman amphitheater. Picturesque buildings all around were built during the middle ages. As you can easily guess it is a great place to take a break, relax and of course to drink a coffee. After this you can check many souvenirs shops.
Don’t miss also Piazza Napoleone that is one of the biggest squares in Lucca and was designed by the sister of Napoleon in 1806.
What is more and what you should know Lucca is a city of the famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini. That is why his home is now a museum with his piano, musical scores, and more Puccini memorabilia (Puccini House Museum).
If you like shopping you will be absolutely not disappointed. The historic city center of Lucca has many shops. A main shopping street is via Fillungo. Here you’ll find all kinds of shops, from food and wine to clothing and household items.
As you can see it is impossible to get bored in Lucca – city that has a lot to offer for everyone.
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Since today 15th October till 19th October (10 to 19 o’clock) you have an unique possibility to see and to buy traditional arts of Siena’s artisans. This small market of the excellent craftsmanship you can visit in Cortile del Podestà in Piazza del Campo.
The initiative is part of the project “Mestieri d ‘ Autore” made by the Camera di Commercio di Siena. The project as well as a competition for crafts valuable Senese held an exhibition that will be open until 19th October in the hall of Palazzo Comunale (sala Costumi).
Just look below to realize that is really worth to be there.
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Exactly! No doubt for me that fountain is one of the symbols of Siena.
You can be sure that during your sightseeing you will find all around beautiful fontane – large or small, mostly medieval.
Everything is because of history of our city. When Siena didn’t have natural water sources, were built around the city aqueducts and developed complex irrigation systems.
In addition to the fountains and the most important historic monuments like the Fonte Gaia in Piazza Del Campo, each Contrada has its own fountain, which bears the symbol of that part of town and it is used every year to celebrate Contrada’s baptisms.
So let’s start . . .
Fonte Gaia for sure is considered the “queen of the fountains of Siena”. And it is because of location of course – Piazza del Campo as well as because of for the artwork. What is more this fountain was first competed in 1342. However was later replaced in 1419 by that of Jacopo della Quercia and then again by a copy of Tito Sarrocchi in 1858.
The Gaia Fountain of Jacopo della Quercia is one of the most important works of the Italian 1400s and is both Gothic and Renaissance in style.
The fountain is named Fonte Gaia on account of the great celebrations that took place when the inhabitants of Siena saw the water gushing out from the fountain for the first time.
You can easily notice that is possibile to find some episodes from Genesis: the creation of Adam and the Leaving from the Garden of Eden. What is more wolves spouting water represent the mother-wolf of Remus and Romulus. The long section of the fountain is adorned at the centre with a Madonna and Child, surrounded by allegories of the Virtues.
La Fonte Nuova d’Ovile was constructed between 1296 and 1303 in the Gothic style. Your attention will attract the robustness of its elegant arches, in sharp contrast with the top long since demolished.
It was built to bring water to Vallerozzi for handicrafts and agricultural uses.
Certainly the view here is impressive, in the background of the charming landscape of Siena.
Fonte di San Francesco
If you will be on your way to Basilica di San Francesco (http://justvisitsiena.com/category/basilica-of-san-francesco/ ) you can’t avoid Fonte di San Francsesco.
This small source, embedded in the basement floor of Via dei Rossi, is located in a bit hidden location with respect to the main path, which ends after a few tens of meters in the beautiful square in the Franciscan convent.
It was connected to the source of Fonte Gaia and supplied water to this area of town where silk weavers and wool workers carried out their activities.
Today this small and original fountain belongs to Contrada del Bruco and is used for baptism.
And at the end if you are close to Fortezza Medicea you shouldn’t miss two fountains. . .
However as I told you Siena can be considered as a city of fountains. That is why . . .
TO BE CONTINUED SOON . . . :)
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