Siena and its history… Siena and its tidy and comforting countryside: a piece of “beautiful” Italy, to rediscover riding a two-wheeler, from the walls up to the most secluded corners of the province… Here’s a perfect eco week end idea, between history, nature and great food.
Saddle up with us!
A weekend in Val di Merse
You can start the weekend with a welcome dinner at the workshop of Stigliano, which welcomes visitors inside a project of active citizenship and direct participation in the exchange and mutual enrichment through the experiences that each of the patrons can use to create a network of relationships and knowledge of the area.
The main word is sustainability: the use of local products, the creation of a network responsible for sales and consistent, a careful selection of organic foods, all from the surrounding areas and the presence of a shop where you can just buy the ingredients tasted. The first day will be concluded between the reflections of glasses and informal chats on the future geometry of responsible tourism entertained at the table , driven by a compelling positive spirit.
In the blink of an eye it is already morning and you will wake up in an enchanted land : village Barigianino is the “headquarters” for the true lovers of green: a series of apartments in stone that creates a circle of dancing reminiscent of another era. From the ” village ” you can start your trip to the beautiful Siena, within the ancient city walls.
To welcome newbies wayfarers (or rather, the cycle going people) a dozen of two-wheelers s and two exceptional guides of Siena.
The first steps can be moved from the Church of San Domenico, a typically Romanesque marvel, expanded in 1300 in the classic gothic fashion that we can still admire. The vertical momentum will not be abandoned even after the reconstruction that took place in the late 1800s, after which the church drastically changed the internal aspect.
The church is famous for the small private chapel at St. Catherine of Siena, which contains his relics.
The cathedral is the ideal second stage of the bike trip, here you can see the breathtaking views that this intersection of streets and walls jealously conceals. In a few minutes, through the narrow and shady lanes of the beautiful Siena, yuo can arrive at the magnificent cathedral. Nestled in the square, winks at her “twin” of Pisa. The composition and structure of the cathedrals of Tuscany was affected, in fact, by the obvious influence of local materials (colored marbles).
A few more meters of cobblestones separate you from the heart of the city: Piazza del Campo, the huge shell architecture in which every year takes place the much-discussed Palio of Siena. It contains the so-called Third Siena, ideals partitions of the town. The singular form allowed the stormwater to runoff in the area. An interesting thing: the tuff used to cushion falls during the Palio gives its name to the famous “Terra di Siena”, a gradation of brown pigment used by artists of all time .
The heart of Siena: the quarters and the good food
Walking the streets swept by the incipient pale autumn sun you can warm up in one of the typical restaurants of the district: ” La Taverna di San Giuseppe “, in the district (contrada) of the Wave, a few steps from the profane font in which babyies receives the initiation to the Contrada once born. Set in a background of the 1100s, the tavern looks warm and informal, despite the exclusivity and sophistication in its dishes. Ingredients are typically Tuscan, wholesome and homemade. Very special spicy salami, combinations with fruits and vegetables.
A beautiful biking Sunday
You can conclude the weekend riding in the Val di Merse. You can choose, for starters, a 30 km trip, so called ” Wandering of Sovicille.”
It starts from Stigliano, it crosses the Marshes, San Rocco a Pilli, Sovicille and than gets you to Torri. The roads are secondary roads, just a little frequented by motorists. The surrounding countryside almost reminds Scotland. You can also choose to lengthen the path along the river Rosia, which gives its name to the adjacent village. In this case, feast for the eyes, the “Ponte della Pia” it may surprise you .
Pia de ‘ Tolomei is the Tuscan noblewoman immortalized by Dante in Pugatorio. Unjustly murdered by her husband and forced into exile in the Maremma, she is said to have the habit of retracing recur in the eyes of mortals, suspended, the jumper on the Rosia .
Siena represents a tangible and intangible heritage of true sustainability: products with a short chain, unspoiled nature, stone buildings, stone and wood. A world to discover, and why don’t you try to discover it through the spokes of a bicycle?
Info: Terre di Siena, Bike trips: AlicedeGregorio@yahoo.it
Cover photo: San Galgano abbey, val di Merse, Siena, ph. by candido33, via flickr