The red-colored Arbia
The Barriera di San Lorenzo in Siena, better known as “Le Lupe”, is an opening in the city walls, in the mid-XIX Century to connect the historic center with the first railway station. The reference to San Lorenzo is due to a church, no longer existing, which from the XI Century welcomed pilgrims, while the term “barriera” refers to the gate where the duty to enter the city was paid, with the sides two wolves that can be admired on the remains of the walls.
The railway station was inaugurated on October 14, 1849, and on the following Sunday, to celebrate the event, an extraordinary Palio was held at the presence of the Grand Ducal Family. Everything had been “prepared” for victory to go to Contrada della Tartuca or Aquila that had colors and coats of arms appreciated by the pro -Lorraine aristocrats who attended the race but the Goose won, thus exalting the liberals who saw in its colors green, red and white- the symbol of Italian unity and independence.
The Basilica dell’Osservanza, of simple and austere style on the outside, appears elegant and harmonious inside, it is a real wealth of art, of Renaissance imprint.
It was San Bernardino, a minor Franciscan preacher friar, a provocateur who wanted to build a convent on this hill dominated by quiet and silence, as established by the Observants’ rule.
Almost destroyed by the bombings of 23 January 1944, just five years later, the Basilica was rebuilt faithfully following the original project and reusing the original materials as much as possible.
In Montaperti we are in the site of the famous battle between the Ghibelline army of Siena and the Guelf army of Florence, so much mentioned, exalted and celebrated in Siena for the victory over the historical Florentine enemies. The site is remembered by a pyramidal memorial stone that rises surrounded by cypresses.
In the area we suggest visiting the church of Sant’Ansano in Santa Maria a Dofana and the thermo mineral source of Acqua Borra
The Romanesque church of Sant’Ansano seems to date back to the VII Century and since 1107 it kept the left arm of Ansano in a precious reliquary.
Sant’Ansano was the Patron of Siena who, according to tradition, was martyred nearby.
The thermo-mineral source of Acqua Borra, already known by the Etruscan and Romans, was eulogize as water with prodigious effects in various treatises by doctors and philosophers; the place suggestive, is located just off the course of the Malena stream and can be identified thanks to an isolated farmhouse leaning against a travertine wall, next to which the thermal waters gush out which feed a square basin.
Di Siena e della sua armoniosa bellezza, hanno scritto in tanti, in tutti i tempi, ed è difficile inventarsi parole nuove per descriverne il fascino, soprattutto se non si è poeti. L’UNESCO l’ha dichiarata nel 1995 Patrimonio Mondiale dell’Umanità.
Many have written about Siena and its harmonious beauty, in all times, and it is difficult to invent new words to describe its charm, especially if you are not poets. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1995.
José Saramago, a Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner, was in love with the city and dedicated words that describe it with brushstrokes of deep emotion and passion.
“And here is Siena, the beloved, the city where my heart is truly pleased”. “The three hills on which it is built make it a city where there are no two equal roads, all contrary to submit to any geometry”. “This wonderful color, the color of the body browned by the sun, but that is also the color of the crust of the corn bread, this wonderful color goes from the stones to the road and to the roofs, softens the sunlight and erases the anxieties and fears from the face”.
“There can be nothing more beautiful than this city”. Piazza del Campo “a square inclined and curved like a shell, which the builders did not want to pave and remained so, as if it were a lap”.
“I look at the old palaces of Siena, ancient houses where I wish I could live one day, with a window of my own, overlooking the clay-colored roofs, the green shutters of the windows, as in the attempt to decipher where this secret comes from that Siena murmurs and that I will continue to hear, although I do not understand it, until the end of life”.
The Chianti countryside has become an icon for an almost ideal landscape: alternating hills covered with dense woods, rows of vines and some silver brushstrokes of olive groves. In the replicated design, the ‘farmhouses’, cottages with lodge and dovecotes peek over the top of hills and meandering dirt tracks, bordered by low walls and towering cypress trees. Imposing villas, castles, abbeys and parish churches, small villages inspired by centuries of people who lived in these places and made history.
From the Middle Ages to today this landscape, known and recognized throughout the world, has been shaped by humanity’s blood, sweat and tears, creating a place tailored to its needs, without squeezing or exploiting the earth, but indulging generosity and refining the production of its most precious fruits with skill and ingenuity: grapes and olives.
The resulting robust wines with a round and intense flavour, and a flavoured and sour oil that enhances the flavour of savoury dishes of a cuisine still rich in vegetable products, the courtyard and hunting dishes, as it has always taken place in the peasant tradition, being the creator of a still recognizable and unique culture rooted in this land.
The Crete Senesi are a land landscape. Rain and wind have shaped and designed the hills of clay as the passing of time on a face wrinkles: bitterness and sweetness, roundness and edges, deep furrows and light slopes, the signs of a very long life lived intensely.
The Crete Senesi are a sea landscape when, green of the grass, brushed by the wind, the expanse of hills seems to move: waves, as far as the eye can see, up to the horizon. An illusion of infinity, a crystallized and immobile space that extracts the soul. Then…. A stronger wind rises and the clouds run changing the colors to the landscape, a flock moves, the sun is reflected on the window of an isolated farm next to a cypress, and dirt roads open up like scars in the green.
Ideal places if you try to get away from the world, as did Giovanni Tolomei, of an important and wealthy Sienese family, who in 1313 found his place in the “Accona desert”, where he founded the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, not far from the route of the Via Francigena that wound further downstream, where the water moved mills and gave man the means to overcome nature.