Make the most of your time in Tuscany, search for authentic and unparalleled experiences, meet the locals, best artisans and producers, live moments you will never forget.
The Archidado was officially created in 1397 to celebrate the wedding of Francesco Casali, the Lord of Cortona, and Antonia Salimbeni, a noble woman from Siena. The Joust itself takes place on the second Sunday of June and is always anticipated by the Offer of Candles to S. Margherita (that with S. Marco is the patron saints of Cortona) that this year will take place on April 29 and 30.
It's from June the 2nd until the 12th the Cortona is officially turned into a medieval wonderland, starting with the Medieval Market during wich you can taste delicious old flavours, be enchanted watching craftsmen shaping copper or making basketry, satisfy your shopping cravings with medieval jewels paying with florins of Cortona, which are used as currency of exchange. A time of fun for all ages!
Things start to be more serious during the Saturday preceeding the joust (that actually is a competion!): during the Tratta delle Verrette infact the moment of deciding the shooting order of the joust come and tension is visible on crossbowmen's eyes! They are the primary protagonist of the Archidado, on Sunday, when they will show their ability, trying to hit the centre of the target, a slightly imperceptible dot to most of the people, but perfectly visible to them and their arrows. It's a true emotion, staring at them while a crowded Piazza Signorelli is completely silent.
Courious to know who will win this year and celebrate during the conclusive Medieval Costume Dinner?
Live these emotions in your home right in the heart of Cortona, have a look at our proposals here and start planning your experience.
Find the complete calendar here: http://www.giostraarchidado.com/en/the-programm.aspx
Informations: click here
Organizers: http://www.giostraarchidado.com/en/the-protagonists/consiglio-dei-terzieri.aspx and http://www.sbandieratoricortona.com/
A Valentine's Day is not perfect until you find your next vacation perfect getaway with your loved one. Wheter you prefer an heavy on romance private villa with indoor pool immersed on Tuscan rolling hills or a cozy and modern apartment in vibrant city center, we have compiled a list of the top 5 accommodations to enjoy an unforgettable one-on-one time with your sweetheart.
Villa Lavanda - Cortona, Tuscany
Beautiful property located in one of the most evocative sceneries of Tuscany. The villa dominates the Valdichiana from an elevated position that will give you a breathtaking view surrounded by nature in complete tranquility, the property is fully fenced and surrounded by a park of 5 hectares planted with olive trees.
See more here
Villa Desiderio - Pienza, Tuscany
Dating back to the 18th century, Villa Desiderio, is a beautiful farmhouse, lovingly restored by the owners with taste and elegance in order to give their guests a rich environment of comfort and design but at the same time leaving the characteristics of these typical houses of the past intact. The villa is located within a property of five acres in the heart of Val d’Orcia, just minutes from Pienza and all the main tourist resorts and spas of the area.
Want to learn more? Here all the details
Casa Bellavista - Cortona, Tuscany
Get away from the stress of everyday life and enjoy a moment of relax immersed in the green and quiet of the Tuscan hills. The house is a lovely rustic, beautifully decorated and extremely well cared for inside and outside, surrounded by a garden full of flowers and plants. It is situated in the beautiful hills surrounding the ancient Etruscan town of Cortona, about 3 km from the historic center, along an old Roman road that linked the Valdichiana with the Valtiberina. From the house there are many paths and trails ideal for hiking and mountain biking, suitable for both sports enthusiasts and nature lovers or those who want to go to the research and discovery of Cortona’s territory in peace.
Casa la Fonte - Cortona, Tuscany
Casa La Fonte will become a place to spend an unforgettable vacation and come back year after year, immersing yourself in the colors and scents of the Tuscan countryside. The hill on which it’s situated is one of the most exclusive and well-known areas in the district of Cortona, a small shelter suspended between hills, mountains and plains, rich in olive groves and cypresses and oaks that surround the property.
The original structure of the house dates back to the 1600, but it is only in 2004 that the owners rediscover the ancient abandoned foundations and decide to give birth to a major restructuring, aimed at a careful use and recovery of the original materials.
Find more informations here
Apartment il Teatro - Cortona, Tuscany
The apartment Il Teatro is located in the heart of the old town of Cortona, overlooking one of the most beautiful squares of the city, Piazza Signorelli which, with its beautiful scenery theater and museum Maec, gives the location a unique and fascinating atmosphere.
Comfortable thanks to its central location, the apartment is situated on the first floor of an ancient building, which will allow you to enjoy all the conveniences of the city and at the same time have a secluded and quiet place to relax and enjoy your holiday.
Se details here
In italy the Police can stop you any time and you must have with you your driving license and an identity document (passport, id card). If you fail to show them to the officers, you could be required to report to the police station for id check and/or be fined.
Seat belts are compulsory in Italy and in additional is compulsory for children until from 4 to 12 yo to be seated in the back of cars and wearing a seat belt.
Autostrada Motorway, marked by green signs
Superstrada Fast dual carriageway marked by blue signs
Strada Statale/Nazionale Marked SS and SN, these are secondary roads also marked by blue signs
Strada bianca Local road, generally signed and marked in white. These are usual in countryside or in the mountains
Motorways/Autostrade 130 Km/h
Superstrada 90 Km/h
Built up areas/town 50 Km/h
Good to know : Police speed checks and speed cameras have become more frequent in recent years; when cameras are in place there are signs warning that you are entering into a monitored area.
ROAD SIGNS AND REGULATIONS
Italian road signs are standardised to European norms. Circular signs are used to announce restrictions and the end of them. Most road signs are self-explanatory however below is a glossary of some less familiar terms:
Accendere i fari in galleria Switch lights in on a tunnel
Caduta massi Falling stones
Divieto di accesso No entry
Divieto di sorpasso No overtaking
Divieto di transito No right of way
Rallentare Slow down
Senso unico One way street
There are few secrets to Tuscan cooking. Most dishes need no adorment or special seasoning but rely on the quality of the primary ingredients: fresh fruits and vegetables, green olive oil, meat, game, mushrooms, just to name a few.
Some of these ingredients are prized and expensive but several of the best known and tasties dishes are based on leftovers, memory of a time when Tuscan housewives couldn't afford to let anything go wasted.
Consider for example the ingenious use of stale bread:
Bruschetta, for example, is sliced stale bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic and doused with extravirgin olive oil. Crostini Neri, too, slices of toasted bread with chicken liver patè flavoured with capers. Panzanella, typical poor summer dish that combines stale bread soaked in water and crumbled with fresh red tomatoes, onions, cucumber and basil, dressed with extravifìrgin olive oil.
Maybe the most famous of all leftovers meal is Ribollita : a vegetable soup with delicious Tuscan black cabbage, carrots, beans, pieces of bread. It is a typical "poor " dish of peasant origin , whose name comes from the time when Tuscan women at the beginning of the week cooked a lot of vegetable soup reinforced with bread and then, the following days, it was "stewed " in the pan, from here it takes the name of reboiled (ribollita), because the real soup is heated and boiled twice, (otherwise it would be a trivial soup of bread and vegetables !).
Pappa al pomodoro is based on the same concept except that fresh tomatoes are used in place of the other vegetables.
Yummy, isnt't it?
It's start to feel like Christmas all around Tuscany!
It's a time of good cheer, streets are full of lights, houses are decorated, kids are writing ( still?) letters to Santa and we, people from Cortona, want all togheter to send our greetings to everybody that lives, came or is planning to come in our lovely Cortona.
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmas be White!
It happens that our daily routine time is the thing that lacks the most. In our week days we end up making grocery 10 minutes before dinner time, we buy whatever, we spend much money and finally back home.
People like me think that cooking, preparing dinner and the table, eating togheter is a form of love for ourselves and for the relatives and friends with whom we share the table with. In front of a table and a well cooked food we talk, we laugh, we savour, we share opinions, we relax. In a sense it's also inspiring and stimulating: think about how many times you tasted a new ingredient and started thinking about pairings with other foods or wine.
All these emotions and feelings related to food and eating, make me suddendly think about WHAT we eat.
Have you ever enjoyed a dinner with a bad cooked meal or terrible choice of ingredients? Me, never.
I never buy a "product" without knowing its provenience, how it was processed, who produced it. It's a sort of nice and fascinating ritual for me getting to know the origin and the makers of an olive oil, meeting the cheese maker that is capable of make that amazing Ricotta, buying seasonal ans savoury fruits and vegetables at the Saturday market where the farmers of Valdichiana come.
It's local food, sustainable, it's surely fresher and full of nutrients, tastier and has an history to share. Do we need any other reason?
The last Gelato class we organized was really fun, fun, fun! Our 4 guests enjoyed a theorethical lesson held by one of the English speaking Gelatieri in Cortona, Tuscany and after that they were ready to prepare their first Gelato flavour
The Gelatiere Alessandro helped the girls and followed the boys in preparing Strawberry, Chocolate, Ricotta and Figues, Hazelnuts, and others flavours they decided togheter. After the class they served to guests and Cortonesi people their creations!
More than a wine tasting and a simple cooking class. The experience we lived together with Paola , proud wife and mother of the Baldetti's clan had something unique and truly unforgettable. Some of us made their first hand made Pasta all' Uovo with Ragu' sauce , following chef's secrets and instructions and suddendly cooking from an hidden art known by a few élite became somenthing easy! And what about pairing wine with the proper food? I know that many of us have always wandered: can I pair this wine with this pasta I prepared? Can I serve Rosè with a steak? Gianluca helped us with his suggestions, while some of us where tasting Crano wine, others grabbed in their hands a slice of Tuscan bread to check the Ragù that was simmering. and others went to the garden to choose some tomatoes and basil for bruschetta. Cooking in winery is celebration of all 5 senses, a top thing to do while exploring Tuscany!