On Friday, five days of beginners intense Italian classes were finished!
The third student (Australian) left on day 2, upgraded to the intermediate class and my fellow Swiss student and I were left to fend for ourselves. On Wednesday a wonderful lady from Tokyo arrived, thus the equilibrium of the class was restored!
I would highly recommend Scuolo Leonardo da Vinci http://www.scuolaleonardo.com for Italian classes. Yes, classes are intense and fast paced but they are spattered with laughter, and varied learning methods. Remember the prosecco after day one! The international students (all ages) provide an opportunity to learn about other countries and individuals lives.
The pleasure of studying in Siena is simply being able to explore the citte (city) each day. It is gorgeous and has a vibrancy due to the student population attending Univerciti di Siena.
After class you can partake in La Dolce Vita (the sweet life) activities throughout Siena and it is plentiful.
Siena itself was at its peak between 1260 – 1348 and in 1348 the Black Death wiped out 1/3 of the population. Siena has laid witness to the constant warring between Florence and Siena as well as a siege by the Florentines. In many respects architecturally / structurally Siena has stayed frozen in medieval time.
Each morning I entered Siena through the South entrance of Porto Tufi, parked in Il Campo parking lot and walked down one of the many steep, narrow alleyways surrounding and leading to Piazza del Campo.
While descending you dodge cars, trucks and vespa’s as their owners rush off to start their day. The Sienese may know enough to step into the street level doorways, the visitors however, “Jump” as they get a honk of the horn. This is because they are admiring the colourful laundry strung between windows above and listening to rapid Italian by a father encouraging his son to get to school, this while his son leisurely finishes his pastry for colazione (breakfast).
Your gift following this early morning work out is walking into the bright daylight of the 12th century, shell shaped Piazza del Campo. Il Campo (the field) is the main “piazza” (square) of Siena and is the centre of citte life. I imagine the piazza from the sky resembles something like a spiders web.
The stone medieval buildings of Siena range in colour from pale ochres to rose and in the sunlight they just glow.
The perimeter of Piazza del Campo is surrounded by osterias and cafes where locals and visitors alike enjoy tuscan fare, an espresso and listen to the wonderful echo of voices which bounce off the medieval buildings. As the sun heats the terra cotta tiles of Piazza del Campo, you see all ages sitting on the tiles to catch their warmth.
The Fonte Gaia fountain is a focal point of Piazza del Campo which is as well known for its beautiful reliefs as it is for the pigeons that drink from the fountain with heads hung up side down. The fountain is a replica of the one built by Jacopa Delle Quercia between 1409-1419. An interesting fact is the water remains fed by a 25 km aqueduct built in the 14th century.
Although not noted in the visitor’s guide, I admire the detail of the storm drain each time I am in Il Campo. The level of artistry is incredible for a drain and demonstrates that in Italy, all things can and should be beautiful.￼
The famous Paleo horse race occurs in Piazza del Campo in July / August and one can only imagine the heightened sounds of the horse hooves and the thousands of voices as they cheer on their favourite rider and horse. Go to ilalyguides.it for more information. Unfortunately I will not be attending this year.
To celebrate completing my first week of Italian classes my husband and I had a typical leisurely European lunch capped off by un litro vino rosso della casa.
I will review my food adventure’s under Wine / Food