For the holiday season this year, the Crypt under the Duomo in Siena hosts one of the most important masterpieces of European Medieval art, Ambrogio Lorenzetti‘s Lactating Madonna.
The painting is generally housed in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art at the Oratory of San Bernardino which is closed during the winter, so the masterpiece will be on special display in the crypt below the Duomo until January 31, 2014.
Florence’s Baptistery’s Northern Doors are currently under restoration. Last March, as we reported here, the doors were taken off and transported to the laboratories of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure to initiate the restoration process.
While many stand and admire the Baptistery’s golden Eastern Door, known as the Door to Paradise, by Lorenzo Ghiberti, not many know that these northern doors were also done by Ghiberti and before, in 1400. The mastery he showed in the creation of these doors were what won him the commission to create the second set of doors to the Baptistery. Keep reading »
Christmas is knocking at our door and there will be no street, house or shop that isn’t already dressing up with the season’s decorations and lights, bringing an irresistible and overwhelming joy everywhere.
Christmas has always stood for holidays, traveling, taking part in family traditions and events, organizing dinners with family and friends and going to the traditional Christmas markets that every year in December (mostly) bring life to the squares of towns and cities everywhere in Tuscany.
You’ll find some markets that last up from a few days to several weekends, as well as some others that take place in just one day, but all offer you a taste of the genuine flavors of local Christmas traditions.
Below I’m focusing on markets in Lucca and its province, but wherever you go, you’re likely to find typical Tuscan festivals and events surrounded by a joyful and infectiously spicy atmosphere.
This weekend brings us officially into December and brings along a bit of cold across the entire region (the first snow fell this week!) and several Christmas events. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting.
This is the last weekend for Chianti d’Autunno, dedicated to local products and cuisine across all of the major towns in Chianti, both in the provinces of Florence as well as in Siena. Anyone who loves good food should go check it out!
If you would love to head out to a food related festival, such as a sagra, then check out this article on the flavors of fall in Tuscany which indicates those available in November.
In Florence and surroundings
This weekend is the monthly appointment with MIBAC’s “Night at the Museum“. For the occasion, the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery and the Medici Chapels will be open at night. You can find more details in our past post here. Read more »
The Prime Minister of Italy, Enrico Letta, recently traveled to the US to meet with President Obama. During comments to the press, President Obama mentions that PM Letta, who is from Pisa in Tuscany, invited him to come visit and enjoy some very good food. He says he’ll gladly return since he remembers how spectacular and wonderful it is!
Since we cannot but agree with this valuation, how about you – when is your trip to spectacular Tuscany planned?
President Obama might not have the time to come visit while he’s still president – he says so in the extract we took from the meeting above – but you can certainly start planning your trip now to visit Pisa, Siena, Florence and more. Hope to see you soon!
Here’s the transcript of the video:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The last point I want to make is that the Prime Minister is from Tuscany, from Pisa, and he has extended an invitation to me to come visit and eat some very good food. (Laughter.) I don’t know whether I’m going to be able to take as much time as I want while I’m still President, but Michelle and I, having been to Tuscany before I was President and seeing how spectacular and wonderful it is, I told the Prime Minister that he will not have to twist my arm to try to get me to come to Tuscany again sometime in the near future. So thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER LETTA: Thank you very much. Of course, the invitation to Tuscany is for now, for the future, for whenever you want — Florence, Pisa, Siena.
Complete video of the meeting we extracted this from is found on the White Houses’ website here. You can also watch the comments during the press conference here:
While the entire pavement of the cathedral in Siena is no longer viewable, if you’re in Siena this November and December there is still plenty to see! First, we highly recommend you still visit the Duomo to admire its incredible beauty. And you still have the opportunity to climb to the top for an incredible view, inside and outside!
San Gimignano celebrates autumn and the palates of all of its visitors this November with delicios food and wine! Head to the Loggia del Comune in Piazza del Duomo where the members of the local non-profit community group “I Cavalieri di Santa Fina” offers warm, roasted chestnuts and “vino novello”, the newly pressed wine of the season, from morning to late afternoon on these dates:
The event is also on social media, so share your photos or thoughts on the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram using the hashtag #castagnevinonovo. You will then see your pictures shared on all of their profiles (website: www.cavalieridisantafina.it).
On Sunday, November 3 you can head to the town of Gambassi Terme to join in the fun of celebrating folklore and tradition, artisans and food in the first edition of the Grape Stomping Contest and Festival.
Teams from Gambassi Terme and the nearby towns of San Gimignano, Poggibonsi and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa will challenge each other in the ancient game of stomping on the grapes to make wine, directly in the wood barrels.
Head to Piazza Roma in Gambassi Terme from 10am to 8pm to join in the celebration. Aside from the contests, there will be an artisan and crafts markets, local products, music and free tastings of the season’s just pressed wine throughout the day.
This is a great occasion to discover or rediscover local Tuscan traditions during your holiday!
From November 30th to December 8th, Florence won’t be just the “cradle of the Renaissance” but also capital of contemporary art thanks to the Florence Biennale, an international arts event dedicated to contemporary art which brings artists from all over the world to Florence’s splendid Fortezza da Basso.
The 9th edition of Florence Biennale, entitled “Ethics: DNA of Art” and headed by Art Director Rolando Bellini, will focus on giving artists under 30 special attention to share the visions and dreams of the new generation of artists. Keep reading more »
This past weekend we went back to Scarperia, a small town in the Mugello valley to the north of Florence just a short drive away.
Scarperia is part of the “Borgi piu’ belli d’Italia“, or “most beautiful villages in Italy” network and, despite the drizzle we had on Saturday morning, we once again fell under the spell of the town’s charm as we park and walk toward the tower that is our destination.