Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sorry for the lack of post.  My internet on my laptop does not work anymore, so I have to rely on other sources to get on which also means, no pictures! I am having a blast and do not want to leave Italy (only to see my family) and then come back!  

We went to the winery and it was such a cool experience.  He taught us how to smell what kind of wine that we are drinking and also the proper way of holding the glass.  The owner talking to us has had family since the 1700s making wine from the same exact spot that we have visited.  We also tried some balsamic vinegard and that was THE BEST balsalmic I have every put in my mouth! Sadly, it was £50 (75 dollars!)

As a group, we went to Florence and it was HOT! It made me miss Siena terribly! I went to the Uffizi and saw so many incredible works of art by Leonardo di Vinci, Boticelli, and many more. Including the Birth of Venus. It was a nice experience and I just don't have anything else to say about it!

For pictures, visit my facebook page! here and here!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

First off, this new blogger has got me all confused! I haven't been on in a while and I was like whoa!
Anyways. I just finished my last language class and I am kind of sad.  I want to keep learning Italian, but I do love that I don't have a set schedule every day!

This weeks has been someone busy but somewhat not! On tuesday, we went to St. Catherine's House and San Domenico for history class.

Her House has been turned into a pilgrimage.
via Google Images

San Domenico
via Google Images

Inside of San Domenico
via Google images

St. Catherine's actual head in San Domenico. Consider a relic. Almost 700 years old. Creepy Right?
via Google images

Wednesday was out cooking class and we made yummy different pizzas and grilled veggies. 
All pictures are mine. (SamiM Photography)

Thursday, we did the Duomo, which is the cathedral here in Siena. Its gorgeous. Black and White Marble stripes, huge paintings and amazing domes!
All pictures are mine! (SamiM Photography)

This weekend is going to be a relaxing one! Tomorrow I am touring Chianti and possibly a winery/vineyard! :]

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Il Palio

Yesterday, Siena was in mass chaos with the famous Palio race! It was such a intense experience and I am so glad that I got to be here to witness and experience it. 

 For those of you who don't know, the Palio is a horse race that dates back to medieval times.  Its a race between 10 of the 17 contradas (neighborhoods) chosen randomly.  Actually, the whole race is random.  The horses that are raced are chosen randomly, the jockeys are from Sicily and are random, and the starting place is chosen at random.  Back to the jockeys, they are pretty much disposable in the Sienese people's eyes.  Its all about the horses.  The reason is that a jockey can be payed off to lose, and also, in order to win the race, your horse has to cross the line (with or without the jockey.)

Everyone is packed into the Piazza del Campo, whether its in the middle which is free, or whether in the bleachers or surrounding windows and balconies, which someone quoted as to being up to $1500.  That is how much of a big deal this is to the people.  

Anyway, you wait for a couple of hours as the historic parade goes around the middle which took up to 1 and 1/2 hours. You have flag throwers and such. 

Our group waiting for it to start

Fulvio and I :]
He is our flatmate from Foggia, Italy. He is really funny. 

Me, wearing a Civetta scarf.  

Then the horses come out and everyone quiets down. Its literally goes from super loud to not even a whisper.  Everyone is waiting to hear the line up of the horses.  You hear groans or cheers as a certain horse gets first or last.  The contrada, Civetta "Owl", that I was cheering for was last in lineup.  :[

The race itself lasted about 1 minute, but with the start of 9 horses and riders, only about 4 jockeys were left to finish and the winner was Oca "Goose" contrada.  I heard they were one if not the most hated contrada of the city. 

The guy in the green, white and red in the middle left is the jockey for the Oca contrada that won.

That night, we all hung out in our kitchen singing along with the guitar and laptop just showcasing the talent that we have in the group. It was seriously, the best night ever.

Today, I woke up and Jack, one of our professors said he was going to take his kids on a hike to the Castello Quattro Torra or "Castle of Four Towers."  It was a hike. I believe 4 miles, uphill halfway.  I almost passed out at first, and about halfway, my adrenaline must have kicked in because I was fine, until my knee started bothering me.  But it was gorgeous.

Baby olives

 Castello Quattro Torra

Tuscan Landscape

This door is just gorgeous!

 Where we hiked from! that is Siena!

 Flower from the hike

Once, I got home, I am telling you, my legs were aching and sore. 
Back to language classes tomorrow. :]

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mi Dispiace!

Buonasera! I am sorry for the lack of posts! My computer decides when it wants to work and connect to the computer.  I guess it thinks its on vacation too but alas, I have internet!

To catch up on all that has been going on...
I have been so busy.
I do language classes every day until 1:30.  

Tuesday we had my Italian history class at a cute little caffe. 
We just sat around a few tables and discussed Seneca (our ancient Rome portion of the history).
Wednesday is known as our cultural days.
This past Wednesday, our group did the Torre del Mangia. 400 steps and super close stairwells.
I passed.  Just the thought of the heights and claustrophobia made me freak out.  

We also went to the Palazzo Publicco Museum. Gorgeous Frescoes.

That night we had a cooking class at Dante Alighieri, our language school, and it was fun. 

Thursday, we ate with a contrada, which is like a neighborhood.  
Absolutely delicious food.
No pictures though. Maybe will upload them later.

Today, we experienced a hail storm of mass proportions!

There ya go! My first week in Siena!