Jen – San Gimignano and the Palio

Only had classes 2 days this week since we got off the rest for the Palio. On Tuesday night, we went to a free belly dancing show at the fort near our dorm. It was a good show and not all traditional dancing but lots of fun!

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4E6Rd3iH8]

 

The next day few of us decided to go to San Gimignano, a small medieval town near Siena, known for it’s medieval past and their white wine (bringing a bottle home if everything goes according to plan :) ). Before that we went to a practice run of the Palio in the morning.

After that, off to San Gimignano! Once we got there, we started off going down a small path which led us to a art gallery/museum. One of the coolest pieces in the gallery was this human sized orange piece that looked like a human was passing through it.. unfortunately it was sold and we couldn’t take pics of it. Was able to take all the others and this extraordinary piece of San Gimignano in the 13th century.

After the gallery/museum, we went to eat! Since I was still stuck on lasagna, that’s what I had :)

After we went to the center for the famous Dondoli Gelateria (The only gelato shop in the top 10 best gourmet places in the world!). They had many specialty flavors and I got two of them (Crema di Santa Fina- San Gimignano saffron, pine nuts and bourbon vanilla beans / Dolceamaro- Blend of aromatic herbs. (we ended up going back for seconds near the end of the day!)

After that we head to the wine museum which was a bit small and not very impressive but the view getting there was gorgeous.

After that we head to their archeological museum which had a mix of their old art as well as more contemporary pieces.

View from the museum

having a little fun

New meaning to putting someone in their luggage..

After that we went back for our second helping of gelato and some shopping before our bus.
Good bye San Gimignano~

 

The next day was the Palio!

We started the day watching the blessing of the horse for the dragon contrada (since it was closest to the dorm). First there was a parade of people from the center into the church then back outside to bless the horse! (I thought that they were going to bring the horse into the church but that didn’t happen)

I went back to the dorm after that to rest up a bit since I thought the Palio would be pretty hectic.. good thing I did.. the line to get into the center (free space) was crazy and took about 40 mins for me to find and enter.

 

line to enter center

wait.. there's more..

the important people

waves of people!

 

It was still over an hour wait til the horses came out when I met up with my friends so we had some fun with her camera.. when asked how we would feel if they had cancelled the Palio…

They began with showing the prize and such soon after so the wait didn’t feel as long :)

those are bulls(I think) pulling the prize thing!

scene of people right before the race starts

The horses run 3 rounds around the center and finished in under 90 secs. After the first round of death corner, 6 horses were without jockeys! The Ram won (first win in 22 years I think). Congrats to them! There were a lot of emotional stuff going on right after the race and lots of crying.. really a sight to see. Barely 1 min passed after the horses passed the finish line and the celebration began at the center.. then off to the Duomo for more of it.

 

After we took a break from the festivities to get dinner. The service was horrendous, it took forever for our order to be placed and the food to come.. guess can’t expect too much with the Palio going on. I got a Risotto ai funghi porcini (Risotto with porcini mushrooms, cheese and garlic). I got it because I’ve been yearning rice and it was ok.  I’m very particular about the texture of the rice and it was a bit harder than I’d like but the flavor was good and they weren’t skimpy with the mushrooms.

After the dinner (which took like 2 hrs.. over 1 hr of it waiting for service/food), we went back to the center to see where the party was. The celebration was all around the center and then outside a church in the Ram contrada’s area (at least that’s where I think it was). Great view, which I couldn’t take because it was too dark.. but it’s close to school so maybe i’ll have a chance to have another look in daylight.

It was a pretty eventful day and I’m glad the next day was a chill shopping day in Florence (in another post). For now, you are left off with items I made and had for lunch :)

made pasta for lunch one afternoon

decided to eat with the group one afternoon and didn't feel like paying 4.5euros for lunch so got myself a sandwich. Speck, fromage and arugula on a baguette.

After lunch went to a cafe and got a crema caffe.. it's like coffee slushie :)

 

Ciao~ til next time!

jip

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