Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni is, without doubt, one of the most classical and best known Italian walled town. Since the Middle Age its fame was so big that also the great poet Dante Alighieri makes sign to his ‘round enclosure‘ in the Divine Comedy (Hell, chant XXXI vv. 40-41). The town walls, nearly intact, cover a length of 570 meters and are alternated by 14 towers andtwo gates. The Senese Gate is at the base of a square tower while the Florence Gate is opened in the curtain and defended from one of the towers of the fortified perimeter.

The town was built by the Senesis in the years 1213-1219 on a hilltop overlooking of the Cassia Road. Its ideal position allowed to control the Elsa and the Staggia Valleys in direction in Florence, the historic enemy of Siena, that at that time was rapidly expanding its territory.

The front toward Florence.

The hill where Monteriggioni rises is natural, even if it could seem a great ‘motte‘ (from the name of the classical Norman castles ‘Motte-and-Bailey’ built on artificial hills and gifted of enclosure), and the circular, almost perfectly, layout of the walls was obtained simply following the sketch of the ground’s curves of level. In the planning was tried of to limit the weak points for excellence, the gates, entrusting the only connections with the outside only to a  east to west crossing road. To Monteriggioni the military building work appears physically distinguished by the inhabited area confined to its inside but well separated from the walls from a ‘territory of respect‘, although in the ancient times the inhabited area has been more intense than today and consequently with a more narrow band of separation. The hamlet that we can admire in our days is essentially authentic, being ever been object of building and tourist speculations. The only changes to its aspect happened in the first years of the 16th century when, trying to conform the fortifications to the development of the new fire weapons, were lowered the towers and accumulated earth at the base of the walls with the purpose to get a bastion effect.

Recently a part of the wall walk of the town walls has been restored and made accessible. From the top of the walled circuit, it is possible to admire the surrounding countryside towards Chianti and the Valdelsa and to enjoy a unique view of the town and its fortifications. More info: http://www.monteriggioniturismo.it/en/museum-and-walkway.html



Random Reasons Why We Love Nosara, Costa Rica

There is a reason why we choose to host our 200-hour teacher training in Nosara, Costa Rica year in and year out. And if one reason isn’t enough, we came up with 15!

  1. Monkeys are your alarm clock (sometimes they want you up and about at 4am!)
  2. Nosara is a Blue Zone meaning it is one of the healthiest places to live in the world
  3. Pristine beaches + super good swell for surfing
  4. Abundance of local fresh produce + the best avocados and pineapple I have ever devoured. Not to mention the coffee, ohhhhh the coffee!!
  5. Pollution almost doesn’t exist

Read the rest of this fantastic list in Alchemy of Yoga

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Among Costa Rican volcanoes, Irazú is king of the hill

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The main crater at Irazú Volcano on a clear day.  Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times

IRAZÚ VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK, Cartago — Here at the top of Costa Rica’s tallest volcano, the main crater looks like it was struck by a gigantic meteorite that vaporized on impact, leaving behind a semi-spherical blast zone.

It’s an awe-inspiring sight, as long as you’re not expecting to see the gorgeous emerald crater lake that appears in most photos — it dried up three years ago.

Read the whole story in The Tico Times, written by KARL KAHLER | MAY 18, 2016

Florence and Machiavelli: sympathy for the devil

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Machiavelli’s study, where he read, and prepared his famous manuscript

Article in The Daily  Telegraph, published in London

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The Palio in Siena

The Palio in Siena is maybe the most famous sports event of the summer in Italy.  It is not a tourist oriented event as so many others, but its origins hail back to the Middle Ages or at least 1644.

To read more about the Palio, check this article in Discover Tuscany

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A Literary Guide To Tuscany

The landscapes and people of Tuscany have been an inspiration for writers for centuries – perhaps it’s no coincidence that three of Italy’s greatest writers – Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio – were all Tuscan. Besides home-grown writers, Tuscany has provided an inexhaustible source of writing material for foreign writers as well, with the British driving the ranks. –

See the complete article in: ITALY MAGAZINE

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The Heart of Italy – Toscana

I return to ‪Tuscany, the Heart of Italy year after year to: Reconnect. Remind. Release.
1. Reconnect to simplicity.
2. Remind myself of what’s important. Relearn my priorities.
3. Release to the earth any hurts that have gotten stuck and hung on to me.

Join me on the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy this 3 minute view of what you can expect.

These Summer Vacation Destinations Will Save You Money

Check out the top 10 destinations with low airfares below, plus the percentage decrease from last year:

1. Chicago, Illinois: down 41%
2. Florida: down 25-35% depending on destination
3. New York, New York: down 31%
4. Atlanta, Georgia: down 28%
5. Los Angeles, California: down 27%
6. London, England: down 29-33% depending on airport
7. Sydney, Australia: down 33%
8. San Jose, Costa Rica: down 31%
9. Bangkok, Thailand: down 26%
10. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: down 31%

See the original article in Real Simple

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VanGogh Museum Amsterdam Yoga Retreat

The Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum maintains the world’s largest collection of the works of the world’s most popular Screenshot 2016-01-03 15.22.59artist – Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), his paintings, drawings and letters, completed with the art of his contemporaries. Each year, 1.6 million visitors come to the Van Gogh Museum, making it one of the 25 most popular museums in the world.

Even if you are not a big Van Gogh lover, do not miss this museum. Its modern main building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld, completed by his partners after his death (opened in 1973), with later built elliptical exhibition wing by Kisho Kurokawa (opened in 1999). Both give a visitor brilliant space to admire art works, to look and to breathe.