Italy

Italy Day Nine: Tiramisu


 
After a week exploring the beauty that is Tuscany day nine of our Italian holiday was a wonderful cooking class with Serena in her lovely home in Gambassi Terme. I had been looking forward to this all week, particularly as we were enjoying Tiramisu desserts everywhere we went. Now we were going to learn how to make it together with so many other delicious dishes. If anything justifies the term transformation it’s converting mascarpone cheese, eggs, biscotti, sugar and vinsanto wine into a dessert to die for.
 

 
The class was a great success as you can see and lunch with the products of our hard labour! was simply delicious. Grazie molto to Serena of Serena Tuscan Holidays who made it all possible, both for the cooking class and for arranging the lovely country home where we stayed with our dear friends who shared the adventure with us. A special thank you to them also for such happy memories.

I should add that the cooking class was such a great success that before leaving England for Vancouver we made Tiramisu for our farewell dinner and all I can say is that I think Serena would have been very proud of us.  The blueberries were our embellishment and one that I can highly recommend.


 
The photos for the cooking class were previously posted on October 20th on my Instagram site.

Italy Day Eight: Chianti country

Our day exploring Chianti was all about the landscape as we visited Panzano, Greve in Chianti and Badia A Passignano and everywhere in between.

 

 

 

Sending Happy Thanksgiving wishes to family and friends across the border.

WPC: Transformation


 

Transformation using the gift of the four treasures in the studio today.

Piazza San Marco, Study I

Italy Day Seven: Montalcino and Sant’Antimo


 
Our last visit to Montalcino and Sant’Antimo was in April 2000. At that time we took the bus from Siena to Montalcino and then walked the final 10 kilometers to the Abbey. We returned again this year the day after our visit to Volterra and San Gimignano, and seventeen years later the journey and destination were as memorable as ever.
 

 

 
In March 2016 I posted Tuscan Reverie for the Daily Post’s inaugural Discover Challenge: Blogging the Senses in which I included a video of photos taken from our walk to Sant’Antimo in 2000. I thought I would re-post the video today so that you can enjoy once again the Gregorian chant “Haec Dies” from “Mysterium” a recording made in the Abbey in April 1995 by the five fathers of the Communita die Canonici Regolari di Sant’Antimo.

Italy Day Six: Volterra and San Gimignano

After Siena the Tuscan landscape en route to the ancient hilltop town of Volterra.

       

Two of the best reasons for visiting Volterra can be found in the Pinacoteca e Museo Civico.

Rosso Fiorentino. Deposition 1521

Luca Signorelli, Annunciazione, 1491

Volterra is also renowned as Italy’s capital of alabaster and visiting the Rossi Alabaster gallery and workshop on Piazza della Pescheria it is clear why.

      

One particular piece caught my eye as it’s beauty seemed to reflect those wonderful faces in the Fiorentino Deposition.

     

After Volterra it was on to San Gimignano.

The towers of this iconic hilltop town dominate the horizon for miles around.

      

The surrounding Tuscan landscape shimmering in the evening light.

Italy Day Five: Siena

Piazza del Campo in Siena, home of the Palio and one of the great public spaces of the world.

Those of you who follow The Changing Palette will know that there was a gap in the posting of our Italian travels due to poor internet connection but now back at home I’ll catch up over the next few days beginning with Day Five in my favourite Italian City, Siena, a city that I have featured a number of times before.

     

We began the day by climbing the over four hundred steps of the Torre del Mangia of the Palazzo Publico to enjoy, somewhat out of breath, the spectacular 360 degree view of the city.

Then it was time to explore the rooms of  the Palazzo Publico with its magnificent frescoes by so many great Renaissance Sienese artists.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of the Good Government.

A naval battle scene by Spinello Aretino

     

After gelato in the Campo, an experience not to be missed, it was on to the Duomo…

…and a visit to the Libreria Piccolomini and its breathtaking frescos by Pinturicchio.

 

From the Duomo we crossed the plaza to the 13th century hospital Santa Maria della Scala to see the moving frescoes in Pilgrims Hall by Domenico di Bartolo.  Visit the Web Gallery of Art to see all of these remarkable frescoes and read the history of the hospital in this excellent paper by J H Baron published in the British Medical Journal in 1990.

  

Finally one of the highlights of the day seen in the Cathedral’s Museum, the magnificent Maesta by Duccio de Buoninsegna.  

The painting was installed in the cathedral on 9 June 1311 and one person who witnessed the event wrote:

And on that day when it was brought into the cathedral, all workshops remained closed, and the bishop commanded a great host of devoted priests and monks to file past in solemn procession. This was accompanied by all the high officers of the Commune and by all the people; all honorable citizens of Siena surrounded said panel with candles held in their hands, and women and children followed humbly behind. They accompanied the panel amidst the glorious pealing of bells after a solemn procession on the Piazza del Campo into the very cathedral…

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I have to admit I ❤️ Siena

P.S. Where’s Waldo is somewhere in the post – can you find him?

WPC: Peek


 
The tower of the Duomo in Siena peeking through on Day Five of our Italian holiday. More of Siena and Day Five to come.