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Secret Siena: the open FAI days 2014

In the last week end we visited some places in Siena and in the surroundings. Here’s our tale.

Posta Medicea “Osteria Grossa” : meeting Mozart and Dickens.

Early in the morning, the borough of Radicofani is still sleeping but the landscape before arriving up tells us an ancient history of Knights and Ladies. Today FAI opened the Posta Medicea, a sixteenth-century building along the Francigena, built by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de 'Medici (1584) by the famous architect Bernardo Buontalenti with a magnificent fountain, built in 1603, which would serve to water the horses.

Radicofani was one of the important centers of the Via Francigena, located on the border between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal States. This building was on the route that lead directly from Radicofani to Rome. It is actually huge: at the ground floor stables, main entrance halls, kitchens, dining rooms, the Custom rooms and sixteenth-century guards’. On the first floor, two large living rooms, the apartment of the property owners, the Royal Chapel of SS. Annunziata, and rooms for important guest. On the second floor, two living rooms for the servants and rooms for the basic hospitality.

The building was used as a post office and station change horses until the end of the nineteenth century, when it became a private residence of the Bologna family. Many important people stayed here: the Popes Pius VI and Pius VII, the Grand Duke Ferdinando I, Cosimo II, Leopold II, the writer Thomas Gray, Emperor Joseph II of Austria, Giacomo Casanova, the Marquis de Sade, Stendhal, François René de Chateaubriand, John Ruskin, Charles Dickens and others.

Oratorio of the Society of the Holy Trinity: the secret Siena

After a poetic diving into the surroundings of Siena, which we warmly suggest you to visit, we came back to Siena, choosing to enter this very particular church, founded by the monk Francesco Patrizi who, in 1298, also established a pious association of men calling the "Minor Company of the Virgin Mary." In 1338, the brothers decided to change the company's name and dedicated to the "Holy Trinity and the Virgin Mary. The Oratorio is in the “Contrada” of Valmontone.

The company gave hospitality to the inhabitants of the “Contrada”, giving them a part of the premises to their headquarters and meetings spaces until 1743 the year in which the district moved the oratory of San Leonardo. Inside, on the vaulted ceiling of the Oratory, you can admire the amazing richness of the colors of the frescoes of the Sienese painter Ventura Salimbeni. The Company, after a very troubled history, is still existing with the aim of mutual assistance between its members and maintenance, restoration and preservation of historical memories and artistic brotherhood.

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