Papesse Palace and Galileo Galilei

A short walk from Piazza del Campo is Piccolomi Palace also known as the Papesse Palace in honor of Caterina Piccolomini, the sister of Pope Pius Il, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini, founder of Pienza. Following the project of Bernardo Rossellino, the favorite architect of the Pope, the work began in 1469. The project was to build a three floor harmonious and elegant palace of Renaissance architecture. The ground floor is characterized by the embossing technique, while the upper floors are characterized by large mullioned windows divided with stringcourse. (more…)

The Crete Senesi: lunar landscapes in the land of Brunello

If you close your eyes and imagine a Tuscan landscape, what immediately comes to mind are the lush rolling hills, perhaps dotted with proud cypress trees all in a row, an explosion of yellow sunflowers in the fields and majestic farmhouses that rule the countryside. The southeast area of Tuscany is decidedly out of the ordinary. Winding roads, clay deserts, badlands and "biancane" land formations make for a landscape that is often described as lunar or desert-like. (more…)

The Crete Senesi Truffle

Before getting to the real description of the truffle and its legends, I would like to debunk some myths, which continue to be diffused despite the popularity of this exceptional delicacy. Truffle is NOT a tuber, NOR a relative of the potato, NOR a disease of the soil. It is NOT EVEN a parasite fungus, but IT IS a symbiont fungus (definition below). (more…)

Symbols of power: Arrigo Vll and Buonconvento

Henry Vll (Valenciennes 1275 Buonconvento, August 24, 1313) was the son of Count Henry VI of Luxembourg and Beatrice of Avesnes. He was raised in the French court and was connected to it because of cultural and political bonds. In 1292, he married Margaret of Brabant with whom he had three children. He was elected King of Germany in 1308, in spite of opposition by the King of France, Phillip the Fair, who hoped to crown his own brother Charles of Valois. Henry Vll, commonly known as Arrigo (more…)

From the enchanted “Giardino delle Esperidi di Botticelli” to the Italian garden

The gardens depicted in Botticelli's paintings, especially the one accurately depicted in the painting thus named by Vasari "Allegoria di Primavera", painted in tempera on wood (203x314 cm) and datable to about 1482, seem to have an important symbolic meaning. The 9 characters represented in the picture would seem to be in fact, in the "Giardino delle Esperidi". In this legendary garden grew a tree with golden apples, a gift from "Gea" for the wedding of "Zeus" with "Hera", and was guarded by the three nymphs "Esperidi" considered therefore the guardians of magical objects. (more…)

Where Simonetta Vespucci rests the venus of Sandro Botticelli?

Sandro Botticelli was one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance. Born in Florence in March of 1445 in the area of Via del Porcellana and died in Florence in 1510. He trained in the workshop of Filippo Lippi with whom he worked in Prato in the frescoes of the main chapel of the Duomo. When Filippo Lippi moved to Spoleto the Botticelli frequented the shops of Antonio del Pollaiolo and of Andrea del Verrocchio. (more…)