Two-Day Field Trip Fall 2017
Saturday 30 September
Our group departs from Siena and we follow the traces of the Via Francigena.
After Siena, the Via Francigena enters the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO-listed region of outstanding natural beauty. Peaceful farm houses lined by cypress trees, hilltop castles, medieval villages and the ever-stretching vineyards dot this historic and idyllic countryside.
The Via Francigena is the common name of an ancient road and pilgrims’ route as they made their way from France to the the Terra Santa, Rome.
Our first stop is Montalcino, famous for its Brunello di Montalcino wine and its Fortress.
Next stop, the picturesque Pienza. Palazzo Piccolomini and the Duomo (Cathedral) are two of our stops. Pienza is also well-known for its pecorino cheese.
A church, the Pieve dei Santi Vito e Modesto a Corsignano, is also really interesting. It is located less than 1 km from Pienza.
Then Bagno Vignoni, a popular tourist destination and well known for its hot springs. At the heart of the village is the "Square of sources," a rectangular tank of sixteenth-century origins, which contains the original source of water.
Final stop of the day is Bolsena with the beautiful lake. There we have the opportunity to enjoy a unique sunset and drink a glass of wine in the old village.
Sunday 01 October
The day begins with a filling breakfast so we get the necessary energy for the second day of the trip.
First, we arrive at Montefiascone to observe the Lake from a significant height. The view, again, is amazing.
Now leaving the Via Francigena we are heading to the sea and the Mediterranean waters.
Last stop of the trip is the Tarot Garden (Italian: Il Giardino dei Tarocchi). A sculpture garden based on the esoteric tarot, created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle in Pescia Fiorentina. This project started in the late seventies and ended when Niki passed away in 2002. The park was opened to the public in 1998. The Garden contains twenty-two monumental figures constructed of reinforced concrete and covered with mirrors and ceramic mosaic.
After our visit in the park, we drive back to Siena.
The topography of Tuscany really reminds me of the Greek countryside, and this fact makes this place more familiar to me. But the people who live in this place are mostly responsible for this feeling. Kind and pleasant people with a permanent smile, saying “Ciao!” even if they don’t know you. A place isn’t made only by the historical facts, the monuments, and the sights. Above all are the ones that live in this place, and so far the Tuscans know how to live. Many times I feel like an intruder in their everyday life, but they make me feel like I am a part of it.
A small bit of advice: Every trip is much better when you are accompanied by good friends.
Thank you, friends!
Siena Art Institute student