An entire district of this ancient hamlet will be transformed into an ancient of centuries past: over 200 people will take part in the Live Nativity Scene that will animate the Casole for ten days. Touted as one of the best live Nativity Scenes in Italy-not to be missed! last year the town of Casole d’Elsa was recognized as having the best presepio vivente in all of Italy.
Casole d’Elsa sits gracefully atop a hill approximately 25 kilometers due west of Siena, the imposing medieval tower, La Rocca, accentuating its storybook skyline. Some of Tuscany’s best views are along the footpath that skirts its northwest border, with the verdant valley below and Volterra and the towers of San Gimignano in the distance.
Casole d’Elsa is Etruscan in origin and was an important site along the legendary Salt Road, which originated in Volterra, passed through Siena and ended in Chiusi. Over 40 Etruscan tombs have been discovered in the region, including a necropolis of 22 tombs, three of which you can actually enter at the Hotel Gemini, on the outskirts of town.
During the Middle Ages, Casole was highly valued for its strategic central location between Pisa, Siena and Florence. Unfortunately, this meant that the town was almost constantly under siege and much of it was destroyed and rebuilt over time. It was also an important religious center throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and the best artists of the area were commissioned to create works of art for local churches and wealthy noble families.
The Museo Civico has a small but impressive collection of Etruscan artifacts from the area. Inside the twelfth-century cathedral next door, a marble monument honoring a bishop by medieval sculptor Marco Romano adorns its left wall. Through the door on the left is small chapel of a noble family, discovered just 10 years ago. Several drawings of profiles hidden behind the fresco that was moved to its front wall are likely the work of thirteenth-century Sienese painter Simone Martini.
Art continues to play an important role in the cultural life of Casole d’Elsa today. In the piazzas and along streets and alleys, playful sculptures and colorful mosaics crafted by artists and children from the community delight passersby. Look for amusing surprises like one awaiting you at the well in the piazza adjacent to the cathedral.
During the four days of the live nativity (December 26, January 2 and 6, from 3:30 to 7:30pm; January 1, from 8:30 to 11:30pm), the entire town will be completely transformed. Visitors encounter a bustling Roman village just as it would have appeared 2,000 years ago. Throughout streets and piazzas and tucked inside its cellars, more than 250 men, women and children from the area dressed in original garb brave the winter weather for hours at a time to reenact scenes from daily Roman life. In one scene, an elaborately cloaked king and queen hold court while a musician strums a lute. In another, burlap-clad peasants at a straw-covered campsite boil soup in a massive iron cauldron and grill meat on a huge spit over a roaring fire. Men tan hides and forge metal into tools, and in the cellars families dye wool, women spin yarn, grind grains into flour and make bread and cheese.
At the lively Roman market vendors hawk fruits, vegetable, grains, dyes, soaps, handmade leather goods and even geese and chickens in makeshift wooden cages. Livestock roams around town and Roman sentries watch out for enemies from the parapets. The nativity scene in the manger is the main attraction, especially on the last day, January 6, when the three wise men arrive bearing gifts with live camels in tow.
Typically held every other year, the live nativity in Casole d’Elsa is an intensely emotional moment for the townspeople and they take great pride in its preparation and presentation. According to Luciana Calamassi, who has organized the event since it began 10 years ago and personally designed and stitched all 250 costumes, what is extraordinary about this presepio is the fact that the entire town becomes a theater set at the time of the birth of Christ with no trace of modernity-even the drain pipes are covered.
So don’t miss this unique event, book your solida on www.chiantiferie.net and choose a farmhouse in Casole d’Elsa or in the villages around it such us Colle Val d’Elsa, Monteriggioni or San Gimignano.
To rediscover the pleasure of being together to meet: the main squares in Florence will host concerts and events giving everyone a chance to greet the arrival of the new year according to your taste!
Saturday, December 31, 2011 appointment with the Florentine Chamber Ochestra in the secular setting of Piazza della Signoria, where the 23 resonate waltzes, polkas and notes of the Viennese tradition. On stage, set up under the Loggia dei Lanzi, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, Donetsk, after the extraordinary evidence of some years ago, returns with the public to celebrate the arrival of 2012 in Florence.
To book a stay in Florence, please visit the site where you can find http://www.chiantiferie.net special offers for the occasion.
In Pienza you can wait for the new year under the loggia of the Palazzo Comunale with the lighting of bonfires (Piazza Pio II starting at 18.00).
“Etruscan Night” in Piazza Duomo in Chiusi, with animation, music and fireworks.
In Montepulciano to celebrate the arrival of the new year the local tourist office, in collaboration with the municipal administration, will organize the traditional festival in the Piazza Grande.
to book your holiday in Tuscany visit the website www.chiantiferie.net
As usual also Terme Antica Querciolaia greet the arrival of 2012 with pools open until 5.00 in the morning and a fun program to say goodbye to 2011. Live music throughout the evening. Sparkling wine, Christmas cakes at midnight, at 2 am spaghetti, hot donuts at 4 am … and relax in thermal pools. Contact www.chiantiferie.net to book your stay at the evening at the SPA.
From 1st December 2011 to 15th January 2011 Siena will be transformed into a huge stage where all the artistic productions of the city will perform and the artistica artisan and food productions will be presented
On December 1, the program “Christmas in Siena” will officially be launched with the opening of the lights and the ice rink and the Christmas village to the gardens of “La Lizza.”
Saturday 3 and Sunday, December 4 the market in Piazza del Campo will take, this year there will be the section dedicated to the unification of Italy with 24 stands that actually host varied crafts and food from all over Italy (Chocolate from Umbria, bread from Sardegna, Christmas decorations from Trentino …)
Visiting the site www.chiantiferie.net you can select several offers to stay in the beautiful part of Tuscany.
After harvesting the olives for pressing switches to “green gold”, a unique and genuine olive oil that you can enjoy if you come to visit the parish church of San Martino. To make our oil we chose Casole The mill that still uses an ancient method which is enhanced and natural oil quality. You may know him by reading his story.
Il Frantoio Casole.
Casole is a medieval walled village of which contains many jewels of art, architecture, real life and living it will discover more than just a few days. Among these is the crusher of Estevan. Not deceive the name spanish; Casolese is as authentic as the oil it produces.
The mill Casole is a pearl, one of those rare things that survive only for pure passion.
The urban context:
The peculiarity of this system is due to the fact that it is adjacent to the basement and the two agricultural production par excellence are still carried out in the country, as an appendix of the villa, “master”. The medieval town of Casole is evident and, by living for a few days, you will receive the full value of land linked to its history but projected into the future.
The mill probably already existed in the nineteenth century. Recent history, however, be dated with certainty since 1904 because we know the mill is open in the current configuration. In 1956, renovated to adapt to the increasing production, but the frost that year temporarily thwarts the growth prospects of oil production. Then, up to 60 every year, families Tuscan considered a sacrilege to the use of seed oils in cooking and frying was also made with olive oil. It would be so even today, but clearly economic reasons sometimes inexorably changing habits. In 1990 he made an adjustment. In 2006 he replaced the washing plant of the olives and the hammer mill to break open the olives.
The production cycle
It ‘a system that absolutely guarantees that the squeezing is defined “cold”. All production processes are carried out at room temperature. The oil does not undergo any change due to heat. It starts with the washing of olives and a partial defoliation. The fruits go in hammer mill and create a paste of olives, which is well mixed before they are willing, through the dispenser, the fistula. There are some rings on which is spread evenly and the paste in the case of 2 / 3 cm. The donuts are stacked and transported under the press that acts to 400 atmospheres. As an example, given 100 kg of olives, you get to the end of pressing 60 and 40 kg of liquid part of the solids (pomace). 60 from the picturesque green liquid is obtained 15/20 kg of oil and the rest is waste water of vegetation. To achieve this, the liquid is passed through a centrifuge that separates the oil from the water because of different specific weight. AT THIS POINT YOU CAN DO THE BRUSCHETTA, STRICTLY WITH TUSCAN BREAD.