Eroica – the vintage bike race is back


L’Eroica is a vintage bike event which takes place every year in October in the Chianti countryside around Gaiole in Chianti on the famous ‘white roads’, the dirt ones. This year will be its 20th edition and it’s being held on the 2nd October.


There are various routes for various cyclists, ranging from the 46 km Leisure Route to the 209 km Long Route, just as long as a vintage bicycle is used. To be considered ‘vintage’ the bicycle must have been made before the 1980s and have a metal frame with gears on it and cage pedals.


Not a competitive race, the participants and the volunteers along the route, who offer local food products at the various stations, are dressed in historical outfits turning the whole event into something very picturesque.


It might not seem comfortable but the routes cover some of the most beautiful roads of the Chianti, Valdarbia and Val d’Orcia area. Cyclists will have the opportunity to admire the striking landscape surrounding the Brolio Castle, the Chianti Classico vineyards, the quaint streets of Radda in Chianti, the medieval walled village of Buonconvento and obviously Siena. So what are you waiting for? Grab a bike, your vintage jersey and goggles and sign up.


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Salvador Dalí – The Classic Dream, at Pisa


Opening on October 1st at Palazzo Blu in Pisa is the exhibition “Dalí. Il sogno del classico” organized together with the Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí and MondoMostre, curated by Montse Aguer, director of the Dalí Museums.


On until February 5th 2017, the show is meant to offer a large selection of the works of the Spanish artist which were greatly inspired by the Italian artistic traditions, especially the great masters of the Renaissance, such as Raffaello, Michelangelo and Benvenuto Cellini.


Over 150 major works from the Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres and the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg in Florida, the two most important world institutions to treasure the artist’s works, but also from the Vatican Museums.


Among the masterpieces on display there is a selection of extraordinary oil paintings, of which four are completely unknown and belong to his last creations painted in the eighties. There will also be the woodblocks with which Dalí represented the Divine Comedy as well as numerous illustrations and drawings.


Opening hours: Monday-Friday from 10 am to 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm. Full price ticket costs 12 Euros.


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Palazzo Strozzi, Florence hosts Ai WeiWei. Libero.

01 Ai Weiwei. Libero

Opening on September 23rd at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, is Italy’s first major retrospective of one of the world’s most renowned and prominent contemporary artists: Ai WeiWei. Libero (‘Free’)

02 Palazzo Strozzi

Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei , also well-known around the world for his political activism, will be the first artist to ever exhibit all over the spaces of Palazzo Strozzi. From the building façade to the courtyard, from the piano nobile to the Strozzina gallery, Weiwei presents a series of new and major works which mirror his relationship between tradition and modernity in this magnificent 15th-century palace.

03 @Large, 2014, Alcatraz Prison

On show will be monumental installations, sculptures and objects, as well as photographs and videos produced during the length of Weiwei’s career. These range from his New York years, the 1980s, to his recent controversial works on political dissidents with LEGO bricks and his projects on migration in the Mediterranean region.

04 Bang, 2013, Venice

Open every day from 10 am to 8 pm, except Thursdays open until 11 pm. The exhibition will end on January 22nd 2017,

05 Safe Passage, 2016, Berlin

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Siena Cathedral uncovers its mosaic floor

SIENA, ITALY - APRIL 05:  A view of the nave from the balcony under the roof  seen during the press preview of "La Porta del Cielo" at Duomo on April 5, 2013 in Siena, Italy. The newly launched "Door to Heaven" from April 6th will allow visitors to enjoy a spectacular new view of the Duomo and the city of Siena.  (Photo by Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

Every year the Cathedral of Siena unveils its magnificent inlaid marble mosaic floor for a short period. Generally to preserve these treasures the floor is covered and only a few are on display. This year, a Jubilee year, it was already exceptionally uncovered in July, now, as by tradition, it will occur from August 18 to October 26.


Siena’s Romanesque-Gothic Duomo is without doubt the hub of this wonderful city, attracting over one million visitors every year. Yet  not to be forgotten are also the Crypt, the Baptistery and the Opera Museum, this entire complex contains some of the most important monuments of the European artistic panorama.

03 Pinturicchio, The Allegory of the Hill of Virtue, 1505

Of the numerous works of art enclosed in the Cathedral of Siena, one of the most exceptional is certainly its floor. The works on this inlaid marble mosaic masterpiece were carried on from the 14th to the 16th centuries and saw the contribution of about 40 important artists, all from Siena except for the Umbrian painter Bernardino di Betto, better known as Pinturicchio. Described by Giorgio Vasari as “the most beautiful … largest and most magnificent … that ever was made”, the floor consists of 56 panels in different sizes.

04 Siena Cathedral

Most of the panels have a rectangular shape, but the later ones, to be found in the transept, are hexagons or rhombuses. They represent the sibyls, scenes from the Old Testament, allegories and virtues. The earliest scenes are made by graffito technique, where scratched lines and tiny drilled holes on the white marble are filled with black stucco. This usually simple technique here reaches a surprising degree of perfection. Later the marble intarsia was adopted, employing coloured marble in much the same manner as wood inlaying. The effect of the black, white, green, blue and red marble results in a vigorous contrast of light and dark.

05 The She-Wolf panel, 1373

Amongst the various panels one depicts Hermes Trismegistus (1488), the founder of human wisdom. Beyond the Hermes panel in the nave one encounters the She-Wolf nursing the twin brothers, within a circle connected to other 8 smaller ones representing the emblems of cities in Central Italy. Another panel in the nave was designed by Pinturicchio in 1504. It represents the story of Fortune, or Hill of Virtue. The hexagon beneath the dome (Scenes from the Life of Elijah and Ahab), and other panels near the altar (Moses Striking Water from the Rock; Moses on Mount Sinai, and The Sacrifice of Isaac) present works by mannerist painter Domenico Beccafumi, the most renowned Sienese artist of his time, who would perfect the technique of marble intarsia to the point of attaining chiaroscuro effects.

06 The Wheel of Fortune, 1372

Portrayed in the aisles are the 10 Sibyls (1482-83), five for each aisle, named after their geographic location: the Persian, Hellespontine (by Neroccio di Bartolomeo de’ Landi), Erythraean (by Antonio Federighi), Phrygian, Samian (by Matteo di Giovanni), and Delphic Sibyls for the Eastern and Greek world; the Libyan Sibyl for Africa (by Guidoccio Cozzarelli); and then those of the West (with reference to Italy), the Cumaean or Cimmerian Sibyl, the Cumaean Sibyl (of Virgil) and the Tiburtine Sibyl.

07 Domenico Beccafumi, detail of Moses Striking Water from the Rock 1524-1525

Undoubtedly a magnificent masterpiece the unveiling of this floor is certainly not to be missed.

Posted in Culture in Tuscany, Events in Siena, Siena, Tuscan churches and cathedrals, Tuscany | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Calici di Stelle 2016

01 ©Shutterstock

Wine parties galore this period. It’s Calici di Stelle, goblets full of stars, and they’re waiting all over Italy to toast to the night of shooting stars. From the Val d’Aosta to Sicily, town squares and wineries will be organizing events to pair to good wine.

02 Calici di Stelle, Tuscany ©TuscanyPeople

In Tuscany the events on August 10 are countless. Here’s just to name a few.

03 Pratomagno

In the Upper Valdarno, at the foot of Pratomagno,  the village of Campogialli, Arezzo, has programmed a wonderful evening for the 10th. The tasting of a hundred different wines paired to local food produce. There will also be music while visitors sip, eat and observe the stars.

04 Campiglia Marittima ©TuscanyPeople

In the streets and squares of Campiglia Marittima, Livorno, in Maremma, sommeliers will be guiding visitors on an itinerary to discover the tastes and scents of the prestigious wines of the Val di Cornia and its local products. The main sights of town, Palazzo Pretorio, the fortress, the Museum of Sacred Art, the mineralogical museum and the, Centro Civico Mannelli, will be open until late.

05 Castiglione d'Orcia

Val d’Orcia kicks off earlier than others with Castiglione d’Orcia, Siena, hosting concerts from 3 pm. There will also be a handicraft and antiques market and a vintage car plus Piaggio vespas show while visitors taste their Orcia Doc wines under the stars.

06 Terricciola

Jazz music and Etruscans are the ingredients to add to the local wine event at Terricciola, Pisa. These will be paired to a delicious wild boar dinner under the shooting stars.

07 Carmignano. Calice di Stelle alla Rocca, ©BernaNasca

Carmignano, near Prato, is opening the gates of its Rocca for four days. On August 6-7, and again 9-10, this beautiful fortress on the Medicean hills invites visitors to try its excellent local wine under the shade of the olive trees and with a breathtaking view over the plain of Florence. There will also be live music on every evening.

08 Pitigliano

Awe-inspiring Pitigliano, Grosseto, the medieval town perched on top of a tufa ridge, will be hosting in its streets the local wine and food produce. The Archaeological Civic Museum of Etruscan Civilisation will be opened also in the evening.

09 Montespertoli FI chianti-3

Montespertoli, Florence, is offering  a tasting of its excellent Chianti wines, together with musical shows and a mobile planetarium from the town’s Astronomical Observatory. An opportunity not to miss.

10 Calici di Stelle

For a complete list of events in Tuscany, in Italian, please take a look here.



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