Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mercantia at Certaldo, Tuscany, one of the best street theatre festivals in Europe

Mercantia, one of the best street theatre festivals in Europe, takes place this year, 2017, from 12 to 16 July in the attractive mediaeval walled town of Certaldo, Tuscany. Certaldo consists of the ancient Certalo Alto, on its hilltop, and Certaldo Basso, the modern part of the town in the valley below. Certaldo is very likely the place where Boccaccio was born and he certainly lived there towards the end of his life and regarded it as his hometown. It's therefore appropriate that Certaldo should provide popular entertainment today in the form of Mercantia, its famous street theatre festival.

Mercantia at Certaldo 2016
Mercantia at Certaldo 2016

The festival takes place in Certaldo Alto, the ancient upper town which can be accessed easily by funicular or on foot. Within the walls, there will be dozens of performers along the few streets of the town and also inside the courtyards, where stages are set up to host clowns and comedians, contortionists and acrobats, puppeteers and ventriloquists, magicians and illusionists, fire-eaters and dancers, actors and street musicians.

Mercantia street theatre festival at Certaldo, Tuscany
Mercantia street theatre festival at Certaldo, Tuscany

Tickets cost roughly €10.00 on Wednesday and Thursday, €12.00 on Friday and Sunday, €18.00 on Saturday. If you are planning to visit Mercantia more than once, you can buy the 5-day pass for about €30.00. I haven't seen the exact 2017 prices yet.

Certaldo street theatre festival
Certaldo street theatre festival
In addition to the street theatrical performances in Certaldo Alto, Certaldo Basso is packed for the duration of the festival with street stalls selling hand-made jewellery, clothing, masks, various kinds of art, herbal remedies and beauty products, hand-crafted leatherware and shoes, and a wide range of other arts and crafts, all of varying quality and price. No ticket is required for Certaldo Basso. There are also some stalls in Certaldo Alto.

www.chianti.info

More about Certaldo.

Map of the main sights of Chianti.


Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence re-opens on 29 October 2015 after extensive renovations

Great news for art enthusiasts! One of the most interesting art museums in Italy, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence, re-opens on 29 October 2015 after extensive renovations. Opera del Duomo in this case means works of art from the cathedral, and the museum is located very near the Duomo, in the same building in which Michelangelo carved his famous marble "David". Many important art works have been moved over the years from the interior of the Duomo, from its facade, from Giotto's campanile and from the Baptistry to keep them safe from the elements, pigeons and humans. The majority of the larger works are sculptures and the smaller works are beautiful liturgical objects. Many of these art works have been restored during the work on the museum, and are very creatively displayed within. My favorite among them are the original and restored "Gates of Paradise" doors from the Bapistry, the result of 27 years of work by Ghiberti.

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence
Detail from a panel of Ghiberti's "Doors of Paradise"
There are around 750 works of art in the museum and, of those, some 200 are being displayed after being restored. Among the works on display are sculptures by Michelangelo, Donatello and Arnolfo di Cambio. There are also large scale reconstructions that provide a glimpse into the history of the Duomo, including the facade before it received its current decorations towards the end of the 19th century.

Pietà dell'Opera del Duomo, Michelangelo, Firenze, Italy
Michelangelo's mysterious Pietà

Note that you can obtain a wonderful view of the dome of the cathedral from a small room at the top of the museum and from the outdoor terrace on the third floor.


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Monday, 5 October 2015

Truffle fairs, festivals and markets in Tuscany.

The white truffle season in Tuscany, October and November, is approaching so I'm listing here the upcoming truffle fairs, festivals and markets in Tuscany. As long as they are fresh, white truffles add a wonderful flavour to many Tuscan dishes, some of which exist only because of their truffle component. Note that I used the word "fresh" - after a few days out of the ground, the volatiles in the truffle will have dissipated completely, leaving behind something with the flavour of old cardboard. This is why people flock to these white truffle fairs - to buy fresh truffles and/or to eat dishes prepared on the spot with fresh truffles.

Truffle fairs, festivals and markets in Tuscany
Fresh Tuscan white truffles for sale in San Miniato

Truffles fairs, truffle festivals and truffle markets in Tuscany


Mostra Mercato “Il Villaggio del Tartufo”
Loc. Ponte Presale, Sestino
Last week in September.

Mostra Mercato “Tartufi d’Etruria”
Arezzo
First weekend October.

Festival del Tartufo (Convivlio Enogastonomico)
Loc. Svolta del Podere, Badia Tedalda
Second week October – Middle of November.

Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco e Nero
Barberino di Mugello
Last weekend in October.

Mostra Mercato del Tartufo e della Castagna
Montaione
Last weekend in October.

Mostra Mercato e Sagra del Tartufo e Prodotti Tipici Locali
Scarperia
First and second weekend in November.

Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco del Mugello
Borgo San Lorenzo
Third weekend in November.

Mostra del Tartufo Bianco
Montespertoli
Third weekend in November.

Sagra del Tartufo Bianco
Loc. Corazzano, San Miniato
First Sunday in October.

Sagra del Tartufo Bianco
Loc. Balconevisi, San Miniato
Third Sunday in October.

Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco e Rassegna sei Prodotti Enogastronomici della Val di Cecina
Volterra
Last weekend in October and first weekend in November.

Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco delle Colline Sanminiatesi
San Miniato
Last three weekends of November.

Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco delle Crete Senes
San Giovanni d’Asso
Second and third weekend in November.

Pasta with a sauce of mushrooms and Tuscan truffle oil
Pasta with a sauce of mushrooms and truffle oil
Before setting out on a truffle-buying expedition, please be sure to educate yourselves on the subject of Italian truffle varieties and how to buy and prepare truffles.

Other fairs and festivals of Tuscany.

Market days throughout Tuscany by location.


Vacation accommodation in Tuscany
www.bella-toscana.com
Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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