Siena is one of the most artistic of Italy, with important and well-known monuments, palaces and piazzas, including Piazza del Campo, one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Italy. Located 322 meters. above sea level in the heart of Tuscany, this town is built on three hills, maintaining intact its medieval appearance characterized by narrow winding streets and noble buildings of history. The origin is Etruscan, and was a Roman colony under the name of Julia Saena, its importance grew in the Middle Ages, first by the Lombards and then passed under the Carolingian domination. After a long period of episcopal dominion (9th-'11th century) the city reached its peak after becoming a municipality (1147), adopting a policy of expansion towards the neighboring territories. Confrontation with Florence was inevitable and the struggle lasted, with various vicissitudes, until 1555, when after a long siege, Siena was conquered by the Florentines, losing its autonomy and becoming part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, sharing its fortunes until ' unification of Italy (1861).
The Palio of Contrade is one of the most famous, beautiful and deeply felt among the popular Italian manifestations, which combines and maximizes the potential characteristics of a party with religious and civil, a fascinating spectacle, a revival of historical, cultural and culminates in a wild horse race in which you realize and enhance the pride and ardent spirit of competition of Contrade. These are unique institutions whose origin dates back to centuries. XV, which are currently the seventeen districts of the city according to the territorial boundaries established by a notice issued January 7, 1730 by Violante of Bavaria governor of Siena.
Each of them has its own headquarters, its own church (distinct and independent from the parish), a museum with Palios won and rich in ancient and modern memorabilia, and is governed by a "seat" (Council) chaired by popular election a Prior and flanked by a Captain who assumes full powers of the progress of the race. The Contrade, located in three neighborhoods of the city, are distinguished by their emblems and their colors. The Palio is over two times a 'year on July 2 "Palio in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano' and August 16" Palio of the 'Assumption ". The phases of the Palio start four days before, with the "treats" selection of ten horses eligible to race and win 'assignment to draw districts to ten participants, followed by the six tests that are ran in the morning and evening.
The territory of the Chianti region stretches between the provinces of Florence and Siena, west of Val di Pesa and Val d'Elsa. Characteristic of this part of Tuscany is the fascinating succession of villages, vineyards and hills, in a medieval setting. Here there are the historic centers of production of the most famous Italian wines and every road leads to a cellar, a castle and a farm whose name appears on a wine label together with the famous brand of Chianti Gallo Nero indicating the d 'excellence Chianti has no boundaries clearly identifiable on the basis of morphological, geological or climatic. Only unifying element of the region since the XII century the production of a high-quality wine, while the name, derived from the Etruscan Clante-i, is mentioned for the first time in documents of the eighth century to define the territories of 'old league, administrative district comprising the present-day towns of Radda, Gaiole and Castellina. In the nineteenth century, the region began to extend towards Val di Greve, the valleys of the Pesa and Arbia, these territories also producers of wine very valuable. The "Association for the defense of the typical wine of Chianti and his brand of origin", which was formed in 1924, adopting the black rooster emblem on a gold ancient League, marked precisely the area production officially recognized: it covers 73,043 hectares, of which 30,412 form the Chianti Classico Florentine, Sienese 42,631
A trip to the Tuscan tradition can only start from the hills of Chianti, where in the course of history, the food, which traditionally kitchens fed the poor, have been ennobled to such an extent as to become delicious ingredients of the nouvelle cuisine internationally. Just think tipicissimi dishes such as Ribollita, neck, stuffing, chicken livers, the noble tripe.
The image of Monteriggioni is printed indelibly in the mind of anyone who has seen her once. From there, our thoughts fly to the jewel that is San Gimignano, until lost in the plains and hills of unparalleled sinuosity, to find himself in the castle of Colle Val D'Elsa. It 'a paradise of cultural sites known throughout the world and a land rich in local products. The Val d'Elsa is a labyrinth in which to play in search of ruins and monuments unknown, but certainly no less fascinating. Also Val d'Elsa is crossed by the Via Francigena and roads leading to landscapes and charming villages. Not far away are the hills, wild places, unknown to most people, rich woods, fumaroles and sulfur waters. Natural beauty and new business perspectives coexist in Val D'Elsa, land dotted with medieval villages that are close to the reality of high arts and crafts, such as crystal exported all over the world, or the furnishing of the interior with a design that is already school . Casole D'Elsa, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Monteriggioni, Poggibonsi, Radicondoli, San Gimignano.
The Val d'Orcia is a territorial unit, environmental, historical and cultural heritage of rare beauty and singularity, where the combination of the works of man stratified over the centuries and the realities of life in a natural and historical landscape with beautiful and well-preserved . The natural beauty combines the charm of a great heritage of history and art: all five towns in the Valley (San Quirico, Castiglione d'Orcia, Radicofani, Pienza and Montalcino) are in fact characterized by urban structures, furniture, architectural and artistic extremely valuable. In addition to the cultural value of its major centers, the singularity of the Val d'Orcia is the presence of villages, sometimes fortified, which form a reference grid and artistic environment of enormous value.
Think Montichiello Corsignano, Castelluccio and Spedaletto, in the territory of Pienza, in Rocca d'Orcia, Campiglia and I live in the territory of Castiglione, in Vignoni and Ripa d'Orcia, in the territory of San Quirico. The idea of the Val d'Orcia, which includes the five communes, is born primarily on the willingness of local authorities to ensure the conservation of natural and artistic in this valley, while at the same time to ensure the man - with which his work has contributed to the genesis of an extraordinary heritage - a real economic improvement. The landscape of the Val d'Orcia is the expression of a charming nature, but it is also the result and the testimony of the people who live there and for the most part is linked to the traditions and rural culture. The visitor is immersed in the context of the Park will include and appreciate the strong bond that is established between agriculture and the environment, the result of which can only be the production of high quality wine, cheese, olive oil, honey, meat , cold cuts, cereals, homemade products.
Val di Chiana
For those who wish to combine culture and well-being of the Val di Chiana is a kind of paradise. Surrounded by gentle hills, is one of the most important thermal basins Italians. About the pleasure and the need for cures want to combine the curiosity to explore a territory, is able to take Paleolithic archaeological sites, Etruscan and Roman and medieval monuments and Renaissance. For those who love nature and sports the Val di Chiana offers the opportunity to experience the spaces around the lakes of Chiusi and Montepulciano. Of additional interest in certain periods of the year a series of festival and cultural event of national importance. The Val di Chiana is a way to live itineraries health and culture in different ways and always new. As in all of Tuscany in Valdichiana the tradition of "eating well and healthy" is still intact. For example, the famous steak should have that type of meat, oil, the embers of chestnut wood, to be truly "Florentine".
Delicious are the pecorino cheese, produced with the same procedure in use since the Middle Ages. Ham, savory biscuits and spleen and liver, the pansanto (slice topped with boiled cauliflower, vinegar and oil), the "bruschetta" with bread Abbruscato open fire, with the new oil and a clove of garlic rubbed on , panzanella (bread soaked, seasoned with tomato, olive oil, onion, basil and other herbs), a plate of white beans sprayed raw oil, already constitute a good meal, but you must try the pici, a kind of handmade spaghetti, topped with meat sauce. Pici were prepared once the peasants who could not afford too often the meat or other dishes "noble." With the pici, consider a Rosso di Montepulciano DOC that is fine for starters crostini with the spleen and cold cuts Siena. The Chianina is one of the oldest and most important breeds of Italy, and owes its name to the area of breeding: Val di Chiana. The Tuscany lies between the hills of Umbria and the range of hills and mountains, which rises in the direction parallel separating the Val di Chiana from the Val d'Orcia. The current landscape is the result of changes in natural and man-made changes tend to make maximum use of the land for agricultural activities.
Val di Merse
The Val di Merse is the area south of Siena and includes the basin of the river Merse and Farma its tributary.
Important since the Middle Ages to the large number of rivers and mills, it had become essential to the production of flour Siena. Today the Val di Merse is almost entirely a nature reserve, perfect for a relaxing holiday in Tuscany in nature. It includes the municipalities of Chiusdino, Monticiano, Murlo Sovicille, where you can admire the beautiful villages such as Brenna, Orgy, Towers and many more. The Abbey of San Galgano is one of the most famous and sought the Val di Merse, with its famous "sword in the stone." Historically and architecturally is one of the most important religious buildings in the Siena area, making it one of the most influential in Italy the Gothic-Cistercian style.
Geographically at the center of the Val di Merse, Monticiano is a village rich in history and charm of which the first settlements are to be traced back to the end of eleven hundred. The village of Torri is an extraordinarily well preserved example of a medieval castle. Brenna is a small town on the bank of the river Merse. Near Brenna there are coves for swimming and sunbathing. The Pia Bridge is a medieval bridge is located near Rosia leading to the hermitage of Saint Lucia, situated along the Massetana. Montieri: its territory is dominated by large wooded areas turned into parks. Medieval Festival in Torri, every year in August, Chigiana summer music concerts in the beautiful setting of San Galgano, Palio dei Rioni, Monticiano, which takes place the first week of June at the village festival, Waltz of Noodle in September to Iesa, you can taste the typical Tuscan cuisine.
The landscape of the Crete Senesi is the triumph of essentiality and harmony, is a timeless image, a picture that blends the forms of a graphite Etruscan and a sign of modern art. The Crete clayey soils are very brittle and thus not subject to the phenomenon of erosion. Wind and rain, men and flocks, over the centuries have designed a landscape that takes the form of sensations and communicates with the strength of emotions. A trip in Crete Senesi has the feel of a dream with a watchful eye and down to earth, yes, because the clays are "anatomically" impalpable soul of a fascinating body that is sometimes expressed with the sculpted shape of a Greek statue, sometimes with the curves of a siren temptress.
The Crete Senesi are one of the most significant examples where you can learn about the world of the sharecropping system, consisting of farms, villages, farms, by "granges" characteristic features of buildings with warehouse and granary in the area Buonconvento, where you can visit a museum dedicated to this, the Museum of Sharecropping. A visit by the aristocratic rural land. Water is one of the great protagonists of the Crete Senesi, both as a decorative element of the landscape, both as an important method of treatment, using the spas offering treatments of the skin and respiratory equipment and engines. The flavors of a cuisine of the past survive and are enhanced by a kitchen that does not betray its roots. To talk about the traditional cuisine should be clarified that the power peasant was essentially a matter of survival.