FIAT 500 IN PITIGLIANO - TUSCANY REVISITED

Considering Pitigliano's breathtaking setting on top of a steep and crumbly Tuscan tufa stone formation, it's surprising that the town hasn't become one of the major film locations for Hollywood productions in Tuscany. Montepulciano and countless churches and hamlets in the cypress lined Val d'Orcia have prominently featured in films like Gladiator, the recent Twilight or - obviously - Under the Tuscan Sun. 

But Pitigliano's low exposure in the film world may change after its appearance in the latest Fiat 500 commercial. 







No Photoshop needed, since Pitigliano's town center and the views from and onto the town are just as beautiful as seen in the fun commercial. Balancing on its rock, the southern Tuscan town is the ideal destination for a romantic getaway - with or without the little blue pill. 

Read What to do in Pitigliano to find recommendations for best hotels, restaurants and sights in towns and great organic winery visits nearby.


DYNAMIC YOGA, WINE AND WALKING IN TUSCANY

I normally wouldn't tell my best friend to come to Tuscany to attend a yoga seminar. I love yoga and thankfully there is a wide choice for any of its practices all around. And yes, it sounds great to spend a week bending and stretching with awe-inspiring views over the rolling hills. But it sounds sad - at least to me - to have to forego Tuscany's fabulous wine and food whilst you're out here because of all that downward facing dog. 

To make sure I can at last recommend a yoga seminar in Tuscany, the people from It's Yogafirenze and Villa Le Pianore organize a joint venture stretch with plenty of chances to taste, eat, drink and explore some of the area's best in food, wine, culture and nature. 






VINYASA WINE AND WALKING AT LE PIANORE
Daily Ashtanga yoga, organic winery visits, great food, guided countryside walks, sightseeing (e.g. Sant'Antimo Abbey, Tuscany's Romanesque treasure) and a hot dip in Bagno Vignoni

Join the troupers from September 24 to 28, 2014 (or just for a day if you happen to be in the area) at gorgeous Villa Le Pianore in the green hills near Monticello Amiata in southern Tuscany. More info on the seminar and its fees via nadia@lepianore.it.

Have more time? Stay on and party along during the yearly wine harvest festival in Cinigiano. 


ROMAN PEASANT LIFE IN TUSCANY: THE EVALUATION OF THE CINIGIANO DIGS

Roman ruins are all over the place in Italy and locals normally stifle a yawn when zealous archaeologists lecture about the discovery of yet another Roman villa or thermal bath. Science has managed to puzzle together every minute detail of the modus vivendi of the Roman upper class, but things are very different when it comes to the majority of the population, since surprisingly little is known about the living conditions of the Roman farmer. 
  
During the last years groups of Brits and Americans hailing from the universities of Cambridge and Pennsylvania have tried to fill this enormous gap in a joint venture called the Roman Peasant Project together with the universities of Siena and Grosseto (I've written about the strange sudden influx of young attractive foreigners the project brought to our Tuscan backwater before). The team under scientific director Kim Bowes has been digging through the fields around Cinigiano summer after summer with the aim to unearth living quarters and artifacts which supply clues in regard to the way of life of the Roman farmer. 


Archaeologists of the Roman Peasant Project in a dig near Cinigiano
What did they find?


This summer the collaborators of the Roman Peasant Project are shoveling for the last time through southern Tuscany's hills. Before the closing of the digs the archaeologists have organized a talk to inform the locals about what life would have looked like for the most of us had we been born 2000 years ago. 

ARCHEOLOGI IN PIAZZA - CINIGIANO, JUNE 26 2014, 9.30 pm
The project directors will give an account of the works carried out, artifacts found and knowledge gained of the Roman empire's working class. We'll meet in front of bar Sport, Cinigiano's Athenaeum and true center of any kind of Tuscan knowledge exchange. In case of bad weather the event will be moved to the local theater (but we'll make sure you'll still get a free glass of wine afterwards). The talk is in Italian, but a lot of archaeologists will be around if you'd like to ask question in English later on. 

VISITING THE CINIGIANO DIGS: JULY 2 2014, 7 PM
Join us for a guided tour of one of the Maremma digs near Cinigiano. The significance of the unearthed Roman and medieval artifacts and remains of Tombarelle will be explained and put in context by the experts from the Roman Peasant Project. We'll meet in front of the tourist office (called Pro Loco in Italian) next to bar sport at 7 pm and drive to the dig in our own cars. 

Find more in depth info about the Roman Peasant Project on the website of the University of Pennsylvania. You're just after a drink? Read on about Cinigiano and its surely ancient aperitivo culture.  


AMIATA PIANO FESTIVAL 2014

When I first visited the Amiata Piano festival I called beforehand to make a reservation. An unnecessary one since the concert was attended by a handful of people: two of my neighbors, the mayor of our town and me with a couple of Swiss friends in tow. 


ColleMassari winery Tuscany
Waiting for Amiata Piano Festival at the ColleMassari winery


Ten years later the festival rightly celebrates its first decade and reservations have become a must for the three concert cycles that bring world class musicians to Cinigiano, a little known Tuscan town in central Maremma. Dedicated to the great Claudio Abbado, the 2014 edition will put the spotlight on some of the major names in Italy's classical music scene.

The first two cycles (called Baccus and Euterpe) take place in the Sala di Musica near Poggi del Sasso (with exclusion of the concert at the church of the Montecucco estate on the 29th of June). The final concerts at the end of August will be hold in the ColleMassari winery; its contemporary wine cellar accounting for the the architectural highlight of the festival. The concerts of the Dionisus cycle are followed by a luscious buffet - so definitely make that phone call.

AMIATA PIANO FESTIVAL 2014

BACCUS - JUNE 26 to 29
EUTERPE - JULY 24 to 27
DIONISUS - AUGUST 28 31 

For program and concert details click on the link to the official website above. 
Tickets for Baccus and Euterpe 15 € including wine tasting during the break (reduced 10 €, children under 12 for free), Dionisus 20€ including buffet diner after concert (reduced 15€, children under 12 for free). 
Reservations: tickets@amiatapianofestival.com or +39 3394220336




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