Skip to main content

VALENTINE'S DAY IN ITALY - OR RATHER NOT?

Cultural and culinary options abound if you need to spoil somebody for Valentine's Day in Italy. You're not in love? It may be worth pretending you are, even if you happen to travel in company of your grandma or a gay friend. This year, Italy's state museums will open their doors for love birds interested in Renaissance art and archaeological finds by offering one free entree for every two visitors. The two tickets for one initiative is valid on the 13th and 14th of February for the national museums all through Italy. Should you want to take advantage of the deal in Siena, visit the biggest collection of Sienese art at the PINACOTECA NAZIONALE. In case you're not in the city of the Palio on Valentine's day, check the Beni Culturali  (the ministry of culture website) for a complete list of museums adhering to the initiative in Tuscany and the rest of Italy. 



Restaurant Mille Vini in Siena's Medici fortress
Waiting for the love birds:
Restaurant Mille Vini in Siena's Medici fortress



Once you've renewed your wedding vows in front of a Duccio or Lorenzetti painting, move on to the more down-to-earth aspect of love with the Valentines' program at Siena's medieval fortress. Entrance is for free, so access is no issue even if you just had a major argument over breakfast and decided to split up for the day. The impressive wine shop in the fortress hosts an exhibition on the history of wine in Tuscany, which provides a lot of interesting info between two glasses of Tuscan red. To deepen your understanding of the show you may want to stay on for the candle light dinner at the fortress' beautiful Mille Vini restaurant. The menu starts off in best medieval tradition with some honeyed wine, and is further accompanied by San Gimignano's white Vernaccia and a red wine produced by the monks at Southern Tuscany's stunning Monte Oliveto abbey (that should do for the blessing). Check the Mille Vini restaurant website for menu and pricing.  

The 14th of February being a Thursday this year, vegetarians looking for a stylish Valentine's Day option should check out restaurant Tre Cristi's gourmet dinners for vegetable lovers which are a new entree in Siena's night life (not in town on the 14th? Check them out any other Thursday night of the year).  

You really don't care about Valentine's day? Skiing on Mount Amiata may be an option for you then. I don't know of a better place in Italy to escape heart shaped pizzas and pink desserts. It's where I can be found on the 14th of February - which happens to be the date of my birthday. Because honestly, would you want to celebrate your big day in the company of starry-eyed couples, who exchange romantic gifts and really just want to be back in their hotel room? I am much better off with downhill skiing in a sleepy Tuscan winter resort. 


Popular posts from this blog

SHOPPING IN SIENA: A FASHIONISTA AND FOOD LOVERS MAP

Even if you came to Siena for art not shopping - it will be hard to resist all the leather bags, Italian shoes and designer sunglasses on via Montanini, Banchi di Sopra and Via di Città - the main roads making up Siena's corso or high street.  Pilgrims, merchants and the clergy travelling to Rome already did their shopping and money changing on these roads 800 years ago, so just follow in their footsteps for a break from the best museums  in town.  CLOTHES - ITALIAN FASHION A GOGO Many of the brand names and stores won't be new to you. Most of them can be found in every bigger Italian town, and some of them all over the world.  BENETTON: a must. No other Benetton store is looking anything like the one in Siena. Think  Renaissance building and frescoed ceilings .  TEZENIS, INTIMISSIMI, CALZEDONIA, YAMAMAY are Italy's main underwear chains for reduced budgets. If you travel with a teenager don't miss out on Tezenis (I'm far beyond

BEST RESTAURANTS IN SIENA: MICHELIN STARRED OR NOT

Planning to dine in style or just thinking of a panino on piazza del Campo? There is great food in Siena for every budget. Try the Tuscan delicacies prepared  with fresh local  ingredients by nice people in great locations and splash out on the wine list. SIENA'S BEST RESTAURANTS - Tuscan fine dine Tre Cristi Siena's oldest restaurant is also one of its best. Founded in 1830, restaurant Tre Cristi has kept its beautifully frescoed interiors but applies a light contemporary approach to ( otherwise often heavy)  Tuscan cooking. Some of the best seafood in town, Tre Cristi is also happy to cater to vegetarians .  Closed on Sundays. Vicolo Provenzano 1/7. Phone: +39 0577 280608 Email: info@trecristi.com Osteria Le Logge Even though Le Logge holds on to the osteria in its name, the restaurant off piazza del Campo in Siena's former ghetto is far from simple. Its elgeant location and refined makes of it one of  the most famous restaurants in Siena (Gianni Nannini is

BEST PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES IN SIENA

Siena sports some of the most photographed sights in the world and you won't need a map to find them. But apart of piazza del Campo and the famous cathedral you'll be able to hunt down  countless lesser known  churches, museums and sunset spots which are off  the main tourist track. BEST PANORAMA VIEWS OF SIENA A nice sight in its own right, the walls of Siena's Medici fortress are also a great location for panorama shots which include the  San Domenico church, the cathedral and a big slice of Siena. For a close-up of the same panorama walk on to the rear side of  the  San Domenico  church, which is  de dicated to  Saint Catherine . Even without a fancy wide angle you'll be able to pack the cathedral its never finished extension and Torre del Mangia into one pick.