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Food and kitchen in the art of Siena

It is always very interesting to discover a town or a region through its food rather than through its cultural heritage, than comes powerfully after a good dish of pasta or Pici, if you are in Siena.

Food heritage in Siena

That is why we suggest you three foodie itineraries presented in one project called Banchetti, Pietanze e Commercio nell'arte senese, dedicated to the food in the art.

The three routes that you will find on, will open a new perspective on art suggested, will host you in the kitchens, canteens, will introduce the crockery and utensils of the time, the equipment you used, foods that were consumed. Banquets, popular dishes and food in the commercial activities become the key to find out how the objects used for the table and the food reflect the eating habits of different ages, in public situations, as in the private ones, or illustrate the ideal path of food from farm to fork, from production to sale. 

The banquet

In the artistic production of the city of Siena exist undisputed masterpieces, now famous on the world, where you can see day life scenes and special details of the food nobles used to have in their banquets. In the Siena of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the presence of food in paintings has its own symbolic value. Mess is inseparably linked to the relationship with God, the spiritual, the transcendent. From the sixteenth century and in the following centuries, although the artists continue to be tied to tradition, you can admire works with greater culinary appeal, thanks to the greater influence of Florentine art or Roman.

The starting place in your itinerary will be the Picture gallery to admire Maestro del Paliotto di San Giovanni (1270/1280) and his San Giovanni Battista in Trono.

The comfort food

This course wants to be exclusively focused on the theme of the dishes for the comfort of new mothers and how they were served from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. This extraordinary argument is traceable in various Sienese paintings, especially in the episode related the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

For the first food of women in labor it was required great care, and families spent a lot of money the purchase of the best and especially appropriate in a particular and extended support, which was the period of breastfeeding. The path must necessarily start from the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, with the most famous Nativity of the Virgin that is conserved in Siena, by Pietro Lorenzetti in 1342 for one of the altars of the Cathedral dedicated to the patron saints of the city, and also the great Majesty of Duccio, located at that time on the high altar.

Food and commerce

This itinerary is focused on the passage of food from its cultivation to consumption, its journey from the production stage, to sale and finally to convivial scenes of diners consuming the food at the dinner table. Food is an element that takes on a symbolic and transcendent significance, as a consumable good. The history of the organization of food in a commercial sense goes back to the Medieval period if we consider the economic and social rebirth that began in Europe in the early eleventh century. The places that reflected this most accurately were the markets and the figure of the travelling salesman.

The journey will begin in Piazza del Campo, which has always been the center of commerce in the city. The frescoes in Palazzo Pubblico of Good Government (1337-1339) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Sala del Nove are not to be missed.

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