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Showing posts from August, 2013

THE WINNERS OF THE 2013 PALIO DI SIENA HORSE RACES

Blue and white, the colors of contrada dell'Onda (during a trial race of the July Palio) After the Palio on the 2nd of July 2013, which has been won by the neighborhood of the Goose the  second Palio in 2013, the August race called   Il Palio dell'Assunta,  has been won by contrada dell'Onda, the neighborhood of the Wave, which is based to the South of piazza del Campo.  This is bad news for la Torre - the Tower neighborhood lying behind Torre del Mangia - which is the only contrada in Siena to have two enemies: Oca and Onda, the two winners of the July and August Palios 2013. Both races have been won by Giovanni Atzeni, the jockey known as Tittia in Siena. Giovanni Atzeni participated in the Palio di Provenzano in J uly for contrada dell'Oca and won on the horse Guess , whereas the Palio dell'Assunta saw him racing for L'Onda on top of Morosita Prima.  Palio dell'Assunta, 16th of August 2013 It's a special feat for a jockey to win b

SIENA CATHEDRAL'S MARBLE FLOOR UNCOVERED: August 18 to October 27, 2014

No doubt Siena's social highlight in August is the Palio horse race ( Palio dell'Assunta on August 16 ), which is shortly followed by a cultural highlight - the uncovering of the entire intarsia marble floor of Siena's cathedral.  As every year the spectacular marble floor will remain uncovered for two months until the end of October . For the remaining ten months the art works which are lining the surface of Siena's cathedral are mostly covered up to protect them from wear and tear.  Siena's marble floor seen from above during the Gate to Heaven visit A special add on in 2013 are the night time visits to the cathedral each Saturday (book ahead for a guided visit between 8 pm and midnight), and the possibility to combine the visit with the guided tours to the cathedral's roof, which will allow you to see the whole of the uncovered floor from above. A first time ever!  Whether you love Wagner or not, in the year the music world is celebrating his

AUGUST PALIO 2013: PARTICIPATING CONTRADE

It isn't easy to remember the names of Siena's 17 neighborhoods let alone their colors and symbols. But if you want to get into the Palio spirit, there's no way around knowing them. Luckily only 10 out of the 17 contrade can participate at each Palio race, so for starters just have a look at the 10 neighborhoods that participate in the race you attend.  To prepare for the Palio on the 16th of August 2013, these are the colors and symbols you need to get familiar with: Lupa (shewolf): Black and white with orange. Torre (tower): Symbol, an elephant with a tower on its back. Bordeaux with white and blue. Bruco (caterpillar): Yellow and green with blue. Chiocciola (snail): Red and yellow with blue.   Aquila (eagle): Yellow and black with blue. Nicchio (seashell): Blue and and yellow with red.  Oca (goose): Green and white with red. Onda (wave), s ymbol a dolphin : Blue and white.  Tartuca (turtle): Yellow and blue.  Selva (forest). A rhino with a tree on its back:

WINE TASTING AND NIGHT TIME MUSEUM VISITS: Saturday, 10th of August 2013

No better night for some serious Tuscan wine tasting in Siena than the 10th of August, the night of San Lorenzo when  Siena's best museums will stay open from 9 pm to midnight.  For an Italian wide yearly wine event called Calici di Stelle , wine tastings are organized inside the museums by the city's sommelier association.   Start with a visit to the civic museum in piazza del Campo and admire the works of Simone Martini and Lorenzo Ambrogetti. Entrance is only 5€ (normally 8€) and you'll get a glass of wine included in that price! Or do some  wine tasting and a night time art exploration at the Santa Maria della Scala museum, whilst listening to live music organized by the Siena Jazz foundation (free entrance, tasting 5 €). And as you're there don't miss out on the current show by American photographer Steve McCurry, which will stay open till midnight too (tickets 10€ including audio guide).  Visit the Mangia tower by night and see piazza del Campo from

WHAT IS THE PALIO DI SIENA? TWO INTRODUCTORY VIDEOS

Two short documentaries in English make for good introductions to the Palio, if you'd rather watch then read your way into Siena's fascinating horse race. A video on Guardian Travel gives a first idea of the dynamics behind Siena's longstanding and world famous event. The short film concentrates on the strong connection of Siena's population to their respective contrada (neighborhood) and the intense emotions the contradaioli (the people from a specific neighborhood) live through during the four days around the July and August palios.   The Guardian video also features a short interview with Luigi Bruschelli (called Trecciolino), who is one of the most successful jockeys of all times (he has won 13 Palios so far and is still going strong).   Click through to the Guardian Travel website  to watch the film.  Another introductory video to the Palio has been made by American Kenny Mayne of Wider World of Sports . It provides sound insight into the historic ba

PIANO RECITAL WITH LYLIA ZILBERMAN IN SIENA: August 6, 2013

Born in Moscow the Lylia Zilberstein holds each summer a master class at l'Accademia Chigiana, Siena's prestigious music academy. The Russian pianist won the Busoni competition in Bolzano in 1987, and has since then played in the world's foremost concert houses.   Lilya Zilbersteins plays early works of Chopin ESTATE MUSICALE CHIGIANA  - SANT'AGOSTINO CHURCH, TUESDAY AUGUST 6, 21.15 PM Lylia  Zilberstein plays Chopin and Rachmaninov Tickets 18 € (reduced 10€). Ticket office opens two hours before start of concert.