Chiesa dei Monaci, Siena Tuscany, and the local butcher

By October 4, 2014Uncategorized
You wouldn’t think that Chiesa dei Monasti, Siena Tuscany,
and the local butcher would have much in common.  Normally, they wouldn’t, but on this day
during our Artfully Tasteful Tour of Tuscany, they had US in common.  We stopped at all 3 of these uniquely cool
places and enjoyed what each of them had to offer. 
The beautiful 16th Century frescos of the walls in the Church at a Pontignano Monastery near San
Fedele rival those of the Sistine Chapel. 
They tell stories through their depictions of the characters in the
Bible and do so with vibrant colors and beautiful scenes.  Our hosts at San Fedele, baptized their child
there, and we had the privilege to see what few have the opportunity to visit,
thanks to their special relationship with the caretaker of the sanctuary.  The church caretaker is their son’s godfather, so now, in true Italian style, we  are also indebted to the godfather.
Beautiful gardens on the grounds of the monastery 
Martha Sledge stands under the entrance to a gorgeous topiary tunnel constructed of ancient holly
The butcher we stopped to see gave us samples and we learned a few things about Italian meats.  For example: Did you know that prosciutto comes from the thigh of a pig?  Did you know that Cappicola is cut from the back of the shoulder/neck?  The meats were delicious…well maybe except for the blood sausage!
Cesarè Rappaccini is our chef’s favorite butcher.  

After serving us a few samples of his meat selections, Cesaré shows us the horse which represents his neighborhood in Siena’s big horse races. 

Whole thighs of pigs and many selections of cured meats hang in the shop
Some like it hot, and Ginny is one of them.  Here she’s smiling after finding some hot pepper oil. 
Siena was next, and it’s one of my favorite cities in Tuscany.  The town is pedestrian friendly, and yet there is lots of shopping, restaurants, and really good gelato.  I’d highly recommend GROM gelato if you go!  Paul and I painted the duomo, while others tackled different sites around the city (when they weren’t shopping).  Siena has a few art stores for those who may want to pick up supplies while there.  A few of us even tried our chef, Andrea Anichini’s favorite restaurant in Siena, Vinatieri Compagnie on Vue dei Pittori. 
The Campo in Siena

Each year they race horses in the main square of Siena known as the Campo.   The horse races are known as the Palio.  The races are run twice every summer on July 2 and August 16.  Different neighborhoods in the city each enter their representative horse.  The jockey’s ride bareback and the race lasts for 90 seconds.   As you can see, the square is slanted and paved with bricks, so it’s a crazy surface for horses to run on.  

The Beautiful facade of the Duomo of Siena
A typical street scene in Siena

Our group enjoyed the day in Siena.  After coming back and having  dinner, we enjoyed aperitifs before dinner on the terrace.  That was followed by a yummy 5 course meal with a welcome song from Michaelino afterward.  He has an amazing voice and gifts us with a song after supper each night.  We continued the music with some guitars and singing going late into the evening.  Just another day at beautiful San Fedele!

Next year’s trip is scheduled for October 3-10, 2015.  Click here if you’re interested in putting Tuscany on your bucket list:

Rebecca Zdybel
Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
Art Lessons in all media
Myrtle Beach, SC

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Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at

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