Le Mille Miglia

1000 Miglia in Siena – Ph. Franco Vannini

“The Thousand Miles” is a classic and vintage car time-speed-distance (TSD) race which generally takes place in Italy during the month of May.

Maggi, Mazzotti, Canestrini and Castagneto – Ph Museo 1000 Miglia Brescia

It was established in 1927 by Counts Aymo Maggi and Francesco Mazzotti, sports manager Renzo Castagneto and motoring journalist Giovanni Canestrini, apparently to contest the fact that the Italian Grand Prix had been moved from their home town of Brescia to Monza.

Driving through Emilia Romagna – Ph. Città di Parma

Since 1977 it is limited to cars produced no later than 1957, which have attended the original race. The route is a round trip of Brescia and Rome, roughly 1500 km, a thousand Roman miles, and sees the cars cross various Italian regions.

Winner of 1000 Miglia 1955, Denis Jenkinson and Stirling Moss on Mercedes Benz 300 SLR
-Ph Museo 1000 Miglia Brescia

The event has seen the likes of Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Caracciola, Enzo Ferrari, Huschke von Hanstein, Karl Kling, Juan Manuel Fangio, Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips and Stirling Moss.

In San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany -Ph. 1000 Miglia

Running across Italy, the race travels along the coast, over the mountains, through the countryside, in front of ancient castles, through medieval villages, past famous landmarks, through famous cities and also around racing circuits.

In Siena – Ph. Franco Vannini

Along the way, small crowds of cheering people wave at the drivers as they race by. As Enzo Ferrari stated on the “world’s most beautiful race”: “It is the race of the people. One may say that the whole of Italy leans forward with her eyes on the tarred strip of road somewhere along the course on Mille Miglia day. It is a day when I feel my life is useful.”

Pubblicato in Cars and engines, Events in Italy, Not Only Tuscany, Sports | Contrassegnato , | Lascia un commento

The Archidado Joust of Cortona

Cortona is not only film and photography festivals, antique fairs or flower shows. This beautiful gem of the Val di Chiana also celebrates its medieval past with a very special event.

Every year, on the second weekend of June, all the inhabitants of Cortona are involved in the historical re-enactment of the celebrations of the wedding between Antonia Salimbeni, a noblewoman from Siena, and Francesco Casali, the Lord of the city. The original event took place in 1397.

Today this historical event is called the Archidado Joust. The streets of Cortona are decorated in medieval style and the townspeople don fine costumes representing ladies, knights, pages, civilians, religious authorities and soldiers. The whole city centre is livened up with flag wavers and musicians performing before the wedding procession.

On the Sunday the Joust is held, which consists of a crossbow competition between the 5 quarters of Cortona: the red-blue Santa Maria, the yellow-blue San Vincenzo, the white-yellow Peccioverardi, the green-yellow Sant’Andrea and the red-green Poggio. Held in the central Piazza Signorelli, the target is a dice set within a shield with various symbols, all grading negative scores. Best to hit the centre!

After the winner has been declared and awarded the prize by the newly-wed lady, the inhabitants gather together in their quarters and celebrate with a medieval dinner and much music.

Pubblicato in Cortona, Events in Valdichiana, Festivals and feasts in Tuscany, Folklore in Tuscany, Senza categoria, Tuscan traditions, Tuscany, Valdichiana | Contrassegnato , | Lascia un commento

Bagno Vignoni, the heart of the Val d’Orcia

Set in the heart of the breathtaking Val d’Orcia, the ancient spa village of Bagno Vignoni, and its unique main square occupied by a gigantic thermal pool, is amongst the most photographed sites of Tuscany.

Bagno Vignoni @weroad_en

Visited since Roman times, thanks to its proximity to the historical Via Francigena, the pilgrims’ road leading down to Rome, the first houses and inns started to rise around this main attraction, today called Piazza delle Sorgenti, ‘Springs Square’. And yet the village has succeeded in remaining small.

Walking around the square and its steaming basin you’ll be immersed in a unique atmosphere taking you back in time. In fact, this square has been the background of various films, from Zeffirelli’s “Romeo & Juliet” to the recent “Medicis”, while its magnificent surroundings, the Val d’Orcia, have been the backdrop of movies such as “The English Patient” and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator.

Parco dei Mulini, credits Parco della Val d’Orcia

You might not be able to dip into the pool in the square, however you can choose between various private spas within the village or follow the water flowing from the square down to the Parco dei Mulini, a park with 12th-century mills, to the free thermal pools studding the stream and waterfalls.

If you’re looking for an accommodation with a view, we recommend this B&B which sits on the main square with view over the pool and the loggia as shelter from the summer heat. Bagno Vignoni is an excellent location where to stay and visit the surroundings. Castiglione d’Orcia is just 4 km south, medieval San Quirico d’Orcia 5 km north, beautiful Renaissance Pienza at 13 km and the wine capitals of Montalcino and Montepulciano lie at 20 km.

Pubblicato in Accommodations in Valdorcia, Pienza, Tuscan towns and cities, Tuscany, Valdorcia Val d'Orcia | Contrassegnato | Lascia un commento

Montaione, a natural terrace over Tuscany

The village of Montaione is a natural terrace over Tuscany, in particular the breathtaking Elsa Valley. The poetry of this spectacular scenery always manages to infuse a deep sense of peace with its undeniable beauty.

Walking around Montaione

Immersed in the heart of Tuscany, Montaione originally was protected by a strong town wall reinforced with eleven towers and was accessible only through two main doors which were destroyed during WWII. Despite these changes, the medieval layout of the oval-shaped castle with three parallel rows of streets, connected by narrow alleys all converging into the central square, can still be admired today.  A walk along the village’s streets disclose picturesque nooks and old stone houses, all infused with the atmosphere of bygone days.

The Church of San Regolo @sailko

In the main square you can admire the Church of San Regolo and its adjoining bell tower. Nearby the Palazzo Pretorio shows off its façade still bearing the old stone and glazed terracotta coat of arms dating back to the period of the podestà, medieval mayors. Today this building houses the Archaeological Museum.

Detail of Palazzo Pretorio’s façade @sailko

Surrounding the village are hectares of vineyards, olive groves and woodland with natural springs. Here they produce an excellent Chianti wine, a strong-flavoured extra virgin olive oil, fragrant white truffles and pick chestnuts.

Undoubtedly what makes your visit here memorable is the beautiful landscape of the Elsa Valley which you can admire since Montaione sits at a height of 342 metres. Its green rolling hills, its endless rows of vines and cypress trees neatly lined up, its olive groves and woods, confer together the undeniable triumph of nature in this little corner of paradise.

The view from Montaione @GeertSteyaert

Pubblicato in Chianti, Discovery, Tuscan towns and cities, Tuscany, Valdelsa, World Tourism | Contrassegnato | Lascia un commento

San Godenzo between the Mugello and Casentino valleys

If you’re looking for a location far from the unbearable heat of Florence in the summer months then San Godenzo is exactly what you are looking for. At 404 metres above sea level, this little town nestles on the side of the mountains between the Mugello and Casentino valleys surrounded by acres of woodland.

The Benedictine Abbey of San Gaudenzio @sailko

Here the Florentines choose to spend their summers and weekends in the same peace and tranquillity which attracted the hermit Godenzo in the 7th century. A beautiful Benedictine abbey was built in 1028 over the grave of the holy Godenzo. Inside you can admire the 1090-1100 capitals within the crypt and many works of arts of great interest such as the extraordinary mosaic of Giuseppe Cassioli. When the Germans razed the village in 1944, because it was on the Gothic Line, they spared the abbey in consideration of the Bavarian origins of Bishop Jacob who had it built.

National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna @flaviobianche

In the territory of San Godenzo, Castagno d’Andrea sits at the foot of Mount Falterona and is one of the gateways to the magnificent National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna. This park covers an area of about 368 square kilometres on the two sides of the Apennines between Romagna and Tuscany. Well worth a visit this park has a wide selection of flora and fauna, amongst these the Apennine wolves, various species of deer and the common buzzard, just to mention a few.

The National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna
Pubblicato in Mugello, Tuscan churches and cathedrals, Tuscan gardens and parks, Tuscan towns and cities, Tuscany, World Tourism | Contrassegnato , | Lascia un commento