An outing to Arezzo
Having bizarrely enough come across a recent Andy Warhol exhibition entitled ‘Forever,’ ironically soon to be drawing to a close in the Galleria Comunale di Arte Contemporanea in the nearby Tuscan Village of Arezzo, and having not yet ventured to this Etruscan city also notably famous for its starring role in Roberto Benigni’s film La vita è bella (1997), my friend and I thought we would pay it a little visit.
With busses notoriously few and infrequent on Sundays, the two of us found ourselves surprisingly awake and raring to go at 8:10am that morning ready for the hour and a half bus journey to this hilltop (of course- what else) town of Arezzo. However, naturally it never came. Therefore two cappuccinos, two pastries and a wonder around the nearby market by Piazza Antonio Gramsci, a few hours later, we were off.
The streets of Arezzo
Santa Maria della Pieve
…recognise the setting?
Renowned as one of Tuscany’s wealthiest cities, it is unsurprising that wondering around the town itself, there are a wealth of quaint antique and gold shops to be discovered. Yet as a city generally not included in the main itineraries of Tuscany, the lack of tourists and flocks of faffing foreigners was something cherished by both Hannah and myself (yes, it is just getting progressively worse in Siena- I don’t know how the locals live with it). In fact, whilst I am on the subject, yesterday on my way back from attending my first mass at the Cathedral (the one I can see from my kitchen- an approximate 3 minute walk from my house- thus I really have no excuses) a tourist squealed at the sight of a car racing down the tiny narrow streets of Siena. She then physically proceeded to practically lift me up and out of the way of the turning car for fear of me being squashed. I suppose it was nice of her in a way, but the combination of Italian drivers and Sienese streets has become something that unfortunately one gets accustomed to very quickly whilst living here, especially down my road.
Anyway, rant over.
The mass itself was beautiful. Sitting there surrounded by white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes (symbolic colours of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city’s founders, Senius and Aschius); works by Donatello, the young Michelangelo and Duccio di Buoninsegna to name just a few, it was an extraordinary feeling to say the least. I even managed to follow most of what was going on too. Good deed for the day successfully completed.
I don’t know how I manage to get side-tracked so easily. Moving on, and back to this…
Rather beautiful I must say
Il Palazzo Comunale
Spot the Roman road!
We hadn’t even made it to the Warhol exhibition, before Hannah and I found ourselves in another gallery (you guessed it- a fellow artsy). Whilst exploring Arezzo itself, we stumbled across another hidden gem of a gallery which was calling our name. However this one was, erm…well it was certainly different.
I told you…
…contemporary art at its best!
A spot of lunch with my partner in crime #HannahWhyAreYouSoHipster
Having finally made it to the exhibition itself, containing more than 100 works- both creative and biographical- from the private collection of Rosini Gutmam, as a contemporary art enthusiast at heart, I must admit it certainly made a change to the Tuscan world of Renaissance and Medieval art I am currently living in.
‘Andy Warhol – Forever’
One of my personal favourites…
A little touch of Renaissance? That’s what we like to see Warhol!
Exhausted yet very content, as the day began drawing to a close, and with a little over an hour before our bus home (which due to pass experiences we were determined not to miss) the oh-so-Italian dilemma of whether to go for aperitivo or jump straight into cena arose. With the thought of not getting home before 10pm that night, thankfully we chose the latter, and wasn’t I glad we did. After embarking on a rather frantic search for somewhere reasonable to eat with time ticking away, moments from giving up, what did we find? Only the best possible solution to our all-consuming hunger…
A 100%, no-nonsense Tuscan burger
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am not one for fast food. In fact, I think my last McDonalds was in Lima airport in Peru, when Liesbet and I found ourselves with nothing more than 8 Peruvian Soles between the two of us to serve us a 6 hour wait…remember? Oh the memories…Anyway, yes on this occasion, Hannah and I found ourselves walking into Il Chianino; a Tuscan fast-food restaurant. But wait! This was no normal fast food chain. I suppose partly also due to the fact that both of us are truly over all things Italian when it comes to food (I am currently living off minestrone, salads and vegetables quite literally at the moment…cannot look at a single slice of pizza, pasta or other calorific, breaded product for a good while to come I reckon) and thus haven’t had a good, authentic ‘burger’ for a fair while now, but I swear this burger was gold. Where else in Italy can you get a proper burger whereby every element, right down to the bread itself, is authentic Tuscan produce. Moreover, where in the world can you get a burger containing; Chianina beef, pecorino cheese (yes, you heard correctly), truffles, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, roasted courgette, peppers, and aubergine, and any cured meat of your choice (something I didn’t opt for, for fear of inducing a full-on ‘food coma’). Oh, and all for under 10 euros with a drink included.
I’m sorry. Once again, food seems to have dominated another post of mine.
Therefore, thoroughly content and just in time for our bus home, Hannah and I made our way back to Siena…where we were greeted by this…
Celebrations in the Piazza upon arrival
Turns out that apparently Siena was playing in the football that night.
What’s more, whilst trying to figure out all this, next thing we know, a woman standing beside us in the nearby crowd is on the floor. Subsequently -all in the space of a couple of minutes I might add- an ambulance bursts into the Piazza del Campo, begins treating her, and quite possibly every inhabitant of Siena begins congregating around to watch the spectacle.
Oh the Italians…