Archive for July, 2012

July 26, 2012

Petro Strike in Italy next weekend.

A nation-wide strike has been confirmed at all petrol stations in Italy  including the self-service pumps and those on the autostrada.

While there  will be normal service on Friday, the strike is supposed to last from midnight
Friday, 3 August to midnight on Sunday, 5 August. Being protested is  what the unions say is the Italian government’s failure to protect petroleum businesses from unemployment and high taxes.

July 25, 2012

Visit ‘The David’ in the evening this summer.

Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia is now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 10pm, from July and through September.  On Tuesdays you pay the regular entrance fee but there are free guided tours starting at 7:00pm and 8:30pm. On Thursdays, entrance is free from 7pm to 10pm.

The Galleria dell’Accademia has invited into its galleries artworks by 32 eminent modern and contemporary figures, from Francis Bacon to Andy Warhol. Thousands visit the museum daily to see Michelangelo’s David and these new interventions are intended as reminders that today’s paintings, sculpture and artists’ films emerge from similar practical and aesthetic circumstances that produced the masterworks of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Whereas the individual status of the artist and demands of patronage have changed, the urgent need to express tangibly the mystery and sensation of existence crosses centuries.

July 19, 2012

Palio in Siena

The Palio is the most important event in Siena, taking place on July 2 and August 16 every year. In the Palio the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo. This incredible race has been run for over 750 years.

Originally, there were about fifty-nine “Contrade”; now only seventeen remain, ten of which take part in the historical pageant and in the race at each Palio (seven by right and three drawn by lots).

The 17 Contradeare: Eagle, Snail, Wave, Panther, Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell, Tower, Ram, Caterpillar, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf, Goose.

Each Contrada has its own unique emblem and colors and represents an area of the city. As one walks through the streets of Siena it is easy to know in which Contrada you currently are in by observing the flags and emblems displayed along the street. Much like street signs, corners often designate the entrance into a different Contrada.

The Palio is much more than a simple event for the Sienese, it actually is a large part of their lives since the time of their birth. Each person belongs to a Contrada, participates in the life of the Contrada and the organization of the Palio throughout the entire year. The Sienese live the Palio with great passion and you’ll certainly be able to see this if you have the chance to attend one of the races. (If you have interest in observing the August race this summer, I have access to good seats at a fair price.) 

July 18, 2012

Teton & Yellowstone National Parks

I recently had the opportunity to visit Teton National Park which is comprised of over 300,000 acres in northwest Wyoming.   Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fishing and other forms of recreation.  Noted for world-renowned trout fishing, the park is one of the few places to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout.  Jenny Lake is stunningly beautiful. And Jenny Lake Lodge is top notch, combining rustic western charm with luxury.  Meals are taken in the Jenny Lake Lodge award winning dining room where both the food and service are excellent.


Yellowstone National Park is located primarily in the state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park.   It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant.  Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles, comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.  Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera,  the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano.  The Yellowstone Park Bison Herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the US.

July 11, 2012

Summer Music Festivals in Tuscany

Summer in Tuscany is all about living the season to its fullest. Fresh and vibrant, Tuscany is full of things to do for all people of all ages. Countless events are offered throughout the region during the summer to draw the locals out into the piazzas to enjoy all of the best of this much welcomed season.  More often than not, the concerts are sponsored by the local provinces and are free to the public.

Lucca Summer Festival 2012 runs for a full month, late June through July 29th,  with great concerts and events in the beautiful landscape of this amazing medieval town.  Pistoia Jazz Festival  will take place from the July 13th until July 15th in Pistoia,  one of the names is the great B.B. King performing tomorrow.  The lovely hill village Radicondoli has it’s annual festival with experimental theatre, jazz, ethnic and classical music concerts, shows for children, workshops and classes.  The Fest runs July 28th through August 5th.  Picturesque walled Monteriggioni offers performances of ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ and ‘Souvenir d’Italia’…July 27th through August 7th.  The operas are in the Monteriggioni Castle.  The 8th annual week of music in the small town of Murlo offers 5 free classical concerts in Castello di Murlo the last week of July.  All of these evening concerts are free.  The list goes on and on….Jazz and Wine in Montalcino, the Puccini Festival atTorre del Lago, Giacomo Puccini’s home town runs for over a month, opera in the Abbey of San Galgano, and more.

A lovely way to spend a summer evening with locals and enjoy a live performance under the stars !

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