Pay attention to the colors
In Palio season the city is decked out in flags from the 17 neighborhoods and many people will be seen whereing bandanas. From what I saw they are hapy to see tourists bick a flag and support it but don't forget that they take the race very seriously and tensions and rivalries exist that you know nothing about. Be carefull or you cold end up being the guy in the Red Sax jersey in the Yankee Stadum bleachers.
TUSCANY's EXCALIBUR - THE REAL THING?
Rory Carroll reported in The Observer, Sunday, September 16, 2001, that the sword of St. Galgano Guidotti, a noble from Chiusdano, near Siena, said to have been plunged into a rock around 1180 by the medieval Tuscan knight when he became a hermit, has been authenticated, bolstering Italy's version of the Excalibur legend. For centuries the sword was assumed to be a fake; but research revealed last week by Luigi Garlaschelli, of the University of Pavia, has dated its metal to the twelfth century. Only the hilt, wooden grip and a few inches of the 3ft blade poke from the hill Montesiepi, a hill near Chiusdano, which still draws pilgrims and tourists to the ruins of the chapel built around it. Ground-penetrating radar has also revealed that beneath the sword there is a cavity, 2m by 1m, which is thought to be a burial recess, possibly containing the knight's body. Carbon-dating also confirmed that two mummified hands at Montesiepi were also from the twelfth century. Legend has it that anyone who tried to remove the sword had their arms ripped out.
One may wonder if this event predated or post-dated the stories of Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone.
I don't know if Da Roberto is still in operation. Ask around, and if it is, then definitely set aside some time to eat there. The surroundings of this trattoria are nothing to write home about, but the food is genuine, delicious down home family style Italian cooking. I loved the rabbit and the tuscan white bean soup! This was our big treat when I lived in Siena, cause I was a poor just out of college kid.
Too late! The exhibition last only until January 11th 2004. It was a great exhibition, with an overview of Duccio's work, as well as work from his precursories and contemporaries and artists who were influenced by Duccio.
Duccio di Buoninsegna was the leader of the Sienese pictorial school in the 13th-14th century. Some of the works are rarely seen, as they are hidden away in cloisters and such. So this exhibition is a great opportunity to see different works by his hand in one go.
The pulpit located to the left of the high altar is a little gem of gothic creativity. The pulpit was constructed by Nicola Pisano between 1265 and 1268. It is octagonal in shape and four of the eight outer columns rest upon lionesses; the base of the central column reposes on allegorical statues personifying the liberal arts. The columns meet to form trefoil arches (graphic form composed of the outline of three overlapping rings as often found on gothic windows) and the platform, or pulpit itself contains marble panels depicting the life of Christ. It certainly is an extraordinary piece of stone-work which would have been well suited to a reading from the Gospels and magnanimous medieval homily!