San Giovanni d’Asso
San Giovanni d’Asso is a frazione of the comune of Montalcino, province of Siena, Italy. It was an independente comune until 2017, it is located about 80 kilometres southeast of Florence and about 30 kilometres southeast of Siena in the area known as the Crete Senesi. The hamlet is overlooked by large Castle, now home to a large White truffle museum, there is a festival celebrating the rare and fragrant tuber each year; the historical centre houses the churches of San Giovanni Battista and San Pietro in Villore, both of medieval origin
Monteroni d'Arbia is a comune in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 60 kilometres south of Florence and about 13 kilometres southeast of Siena in the area known as the Crete Senesi. It takes its names from a tributary of the Ombrone River; the pieve of Saint John the Baptist, at Corsano, dates from before 1031. With a nave and two aisles, it is an example of Romanesque architecture with Pisan and Lombard influences, it houses two canvasses by Alessandro Casolari. The church of Saints James and Christopher, at Cuna, has remains of 14th-century frescoes. Cesare Maccari, lived in the hamlet of Quinciano Official website
A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. In addition to Tuber, many other genera of fungi are classified as truffles including Geopora, Choiromyces and over a hundred others; these genera belong to the Pezizales order. There are several truffle-like basidiomycetes excluded from Pezizales including Rhizopogon and Glomus. Truffles are ectomycorrhizal fungi and are therefore found in close association with tree roots. Spore dispersal is accomplished through animals that eat fungi; these fungi have significant ecological roles in nutrient drought tolerance. Some of the truffle species are prized as food. French gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Ottoman, Middle Eastern and Spanish cuisine, as well as in international haute cuisine. Truffles are cultivated agriculturally and are harvested from natural habitats; the first mention of truffles appears in the inscriptions of the neo-Sumerians regarding their Amorite enemy's eating habits and in writings of Theophrastus in the fourth century BCE.
In classical times, their origins were a mystery. Cicero deemed them children of the earth. Rome and Thracia in the Classical period produced three kinds of truffles: the Tuber melanosporum, the Tuber magnificanus and the Tuber magnatum; the Romans, did not use these and instead used a variety of fungus called Terfez sometimes called a "desert truffle." Terfez used in Rome came from Lesbos and Libya, where the coastal climate was less dry in ancient times. Their substance is pale. Unlike truffles, terfez have little inherent flavour; the Romans used the terfez as a carrier of flavour, because the terfez tend to absorb surrounding flavours. Indeed, Ancient Roman cuisine used many spices and flavourings, terfez were perfect in that context. Truffles were used during the Middle Ages. Truffle hunting is mentioned by Bartolomeo Platina, the papal historian, in 1481, when he recorded that the sows of Notza were without equal in hunting truffles, but they should be muzzled to prevent them from eating the prize.
During the Renaissance, truffles regained popularity in Europe and were honoured at the court of King Francis I of France. However, it was not until the 17th century that Western cuisine abandoned "heavy" oriental spices, rediscovered the natural flavour of foodstuffs. Truffles were popular in Parisian markets in the 1780s, they were imported seasonally from truffle grounds. Brillat-Savarin noted characteristically that they were so expensive they appeared only at the dinner tables of great nobles and kept women. A great delicacy was a truffled turkey. Truffles long eluded techniques of domestication, as Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin noted: The most learned men have sought to ascertain the secret, fancied they discovered the seed, their promises, were vain, no planting was followed by a harvest. This is all right, for as one of the great values of truffles is their dearness they would be less esteemed if they were cheaper. However, truffles can be cultivated; as early as 1808, there were successful attempts to cultivate truffles, known in French as trufficulture.
People had long observed that truffles were growing among the roots of certain trees, in 1808, Joseph Talon, from Apt in southern France, had the idea of transplanting some seedlings that he had collected at the foot of oak trees known to host truffles in their root system. For discovering how to cultivate truffles, some sources now give priority to Pierre II Mauléon of Loudun, who began to cultivate truffles around 1790. Mauléon saw an "obvious symbiosis" between the oak tree, the rocky soil and the truffle, attempted to reproduce such an environment by taking acorns from trees known to have produced truffles, sowing them in chalky soil, his experiment was successful, with truffles being found in the soil around the newly grown oak trees years later. In 1847, Auguste Rousseau of Carpentras planted 7 hectares of oak trees, he subsequently obtained large harvests of truffles, he received a prize at the 1855 World's Fair in Paris. These successful attempts were met with enthusiasm in southern France, which possessed the sweet limestone soils and dry, hot weather that truffles need to grow.
In the late 19th century, an epidemic of phylloxera destroyed many of the vineyards in southern France. Another epidemic killed most of the silkworms there, making the fields of mulberry trees useless. Thus, large tracts of land were set free for the cultivation of truffles. Thousands of truffle-producing trees were planted, production reached peaks of hundreds of tonnes at the end of the 19th century. In 1890, there were 75,000 hectares of truffle-producing trees. In the 20th century, with the growing industrialization of France and the subsequent rural exodus, many of these truffle fields returned to wilderness; the First World War dealt a serious blow to the French countryside, killing 20% or more of the male working force. As a consequence, newly acquir
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence. Tuscany is known for its landscapes, artistic legacy, its influence on high culture, it is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science, contains well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino. Having a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation". Tuscany is a popular destination in Italy, the main tourist spots are Florence, Lucca, Versilia and Chianti; the village of Castiglione della Pescaia is the most visited seaside destination in the region, with seaside tourism accounting for 40% of tourist arrivals. Additionally, Lucca, the Chianti region and Val d'Orcia are internationally renowned and popular spots among travellers.
Seven Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence. Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, making Tuscany and its capital Florence popular tourist destinations that attract millions of tourists every year. In 2012, the city of Florence was the world's 89th most visited city, with over 1.834 million arrivals. Triangular in shape, Tuscany borders the regions of Liguria to the northwest, Emilia-Romagna to the north, Marche to the northeast, Umbria to the east and Lazio to the southeast; the comune of Badia Tedalda, in the Tuscan Province of Arezzo, has an exclave named Ca' Raffaello within Emilia-Romagna. Tuscany has a western coastline on the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, among, the Tuscan Archipelago, of which the largest island is Elba. Tuscany has an area of 22,993 square kilometres. Surrounded and crossed by major mountain chains, with few plains, the region has a relief, dominated by hilly country used for agriculture. Hills make up nearly two-thirds of the region's total area, covering 15,292 square kilometres, mountains, a further 25%, or 5,770 square kilometres.
Plains occupy 8.4% of the total area—1,930 square kilometres —mostly around the valley of the Arno. Many of Tuscany's largest cities lie on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence and Pisa; the climate is mild in the coastal areas, is harsher and rainy in the interior, with considerable fluctuations in temperature between winter and summer, giving the region a soil-building active freeze-thaw cycle, in part accounting for the region's once having served as a key breadbasket of ancient Rome. The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the late Bronze and Iron Ages parallels that of the early Greeks; the Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culture in the late second millennium BC who had trading relationships with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in the Aegean Sea. Following this, the Villanovan culture saw Tuscany, the rest of Etruria, taken over by chiefdoms. City-states developed in the late Villanovan before "Orientalization" occurred and the Etruscan civilization rose.
The Etruscans created the first major civilization in this region, large enough to establish a transport infrastructure, to implement agriculture and mining and to produce vibrant art. The Etruscans lived in the area of Etruria well into prehistory; the civilization grew to fill the area between the Arno and Tiber from the eighth century BCE, reaching its peak during the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. succumbing to the Romans by the first century BCE. Throughout their existence, they lost territory to Magna Graecia and Celts. Despite being seen as distinct in its manners and customs by contemporary Greeks, the cultures of Greece, Rome, influenced the civilization to a great extent. One reason for its eventual demise was this increasing absorption by surrounding cultures, including the adoption of the Etruscan upper class by the Romans. Soon after absorbing Etruria, Rome established the cities of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, endowed the area with new technologies and development, ensured peace.
These developments included extensions of existing roads, introduction of aqueducts and sewers, the construction of many buildings, both public and private. However, many of these structures have been destroyed by erosion due to weather; the Roman civilization in the West of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century, the region fell to barbarians migrating through the Empire from Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Goths was re-conquered by the revived Eastern Roman Empire under the strong Emperor Justinian. In the years following 572, the Lombards arrived and designated Lucca the capital of their subsequent Tuscia. Pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena between Rome and France brought wealth and development during the medieval period; the food and shelter required by the
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena; the historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina; the Etruscans were a tribe of advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim unfarmable land, their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill forts. A Roman town called; some archaeologists assert that Siena was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Senones. According to local legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus and thus nephews of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. After their father's murder by Romulus, they fled Rome, taking with them the statue of the she-wolf suckling the infants, thus appropriating that symbol for the town.
Additionally they rode white and black horses, giving rise to the Balzana, or coat of arms of Siena with a white band atop a dark band. Some claim the name. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name Saina, the Roman family name Saenii, or the Latin word senex "old" or its derived form seneo "to be old". Siena did not prosper under Roman rule, it lacked opportunities for trade. Its insular status meant that Christianity did not penetrate until the 4th century AD, it was not until the Lombards invaded Siena and the surrounding territory that it knew prosperity. After the Lombard occupation, the old Roman roads of Via Aurelia and the Via Cassia passed through areas exposed to Byzantine raids, so the Lombards rerouted much of their trade between the Lombards' northern possessions and Rome along a more secure road through Siena. Siena prospered as a trading post, the constant streams of pilgrims passing to and from Rome provided a valuable source of income in the centuries to come.
The oldest aristocratic families in Siena date their line to the Lombards' surrender in 774 to Charlemagne. At this point, the city was inundated with a swarm of Frankish overseers who married into the existing Sienese nobility and left a legacy that can be seen in the abbeys they founded throughout Sienese territory. Feudal power waned, by the death of Countess Matilda in 1115 the border territory of the March of Tuscany, under the control of her family, the Canossa, broke up into several autonomous regions; this resulted in the creation of the Republic of Siena. The Republic existed for over four hundred years, from the 12th century until the year 1555. During the golden age of Siena before the Black Death in 1348, the city was home to 50,000 people. In the Italian War of 1551–59, the republic was defeated by the rival Duchy of Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown. After 18 months of resistance, Siena surrendered to Spain on 17 April 1555, marking the end of the republic; the new Spanish King Felipe II, owing huge sums to the Medici, ceded it to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, to which it belonged until the unification of Italy in the 19th century.
A Republican government of 700 Sienese families in Montalcino resisted until 1559. Siena is located in the central part of Tuscany, in the middle of a vast hilly landscape between the Arbia river valley, the Merse valley, the Elsa valley, the Chianti hills, the Montagnola Senese and the Crete Senesi; the city lies at 322 m above sea level. Siena has a typical inland Mediterranean climate. Average rainfall is 750 mm, with the minimum in July. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 22.2 °C, January the coldest. The Siena Cathedral, begun in the 12th century, is a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture, its main façade was completed in 1380. The original plan called for an ambitiously massive basilica, the largest in the world, with, as was customary, an east-west nave. However, the scarcity of funds, in part due to war and plague, truncated the project, the Sienese created a subdued version from the original plan's north-south transept; the east wall of the abandoned original folly of a nave still stands.
The Siena Cathedral Pulpit is an octagonal 13th-century masterpiece sculpted by Nicola Pisano with lion pedestals and biblical bas-relief panels. The inlaid marble mosaic floor of the cathedral and labored on by many artists, is among the most elaborate in Italy; the Sacristy and Piccolomini library have well preserved Renaissance frescos by Ghirlandaio and Pinturicchio respectively. Other sculptors active in the church and in the subterranean baptistry are Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and others; the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo contains Duccio's famous Maestà and various other works by Sienese masters. More Sienese paintings are to be found in the Pinacoteca, e.g. 13th-century works by Dietisalvi di Speme. The Piazza del Campo, the shell-shaped town square, unfurls before the Palazzo Pubblico with its tall Torre del Mangia; this is part of the site for the Palio horse race. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great wor
The Pliocene Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years BP. It is the youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era; the Pliocene is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch. Prior to the 2009 revision of the geologic time scale, which placed the four most recent major glaciations within the Pleistocene, the Pliocene included the Gelasian stage, which lasted from 2.588 to 1.806 million years ago, is now included in the Pleistocene. As with other older geologic periods, the geological strata that define the start and end are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the epoch are uncertain; the boundaries defining the Pliocene are not set at an identified worldwide event but rather at regional boundaries between the warmer Miocene and the cooler Pliocene. The upper boundary was set at the start of the Pleistocene glaciations. Charles Lyell gave the Pliocene its name in Principles of Geology; the word pliocene comes from the Greek words πλεῖον and καινός and means "continuation of the recent", referring to the modern marine mollusc fauna.
H. W. Fowler called the term Pliocene a "regrettable barbarism" and an indication that "a good classical scholar" such as Lyell should have requested a philologist's help when coining words. To summarize the usage of these "regrettable barbarisms" in the labelling of the Cenozoic era: with the understanding that these are all new relative to the Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras. In the official timescale of the ICS, the Pliocene is subdivided into two stages. From youngest to oldest they are: Piacenzian Zanclean The Piacenzian is sometimes referred to as the Late Pliocene, whereas the Zanclean is referred to as the Early Pliocene. In the system of North American Land Mammal Ages include Hemphillian, Blancan; the Blancan extends forward into the Pleistocene. South American Land Mammal Ages include Montehermosan and Uquian. In the Paratethys area the Pliocene contains the Romanian stages; as usual in stratigraphy, there are many other local subdivisions in use. In Britain the Pliocene is divided into the following stages: Gedgravian, Pre-Ludhamian, Thurnian, Bramertonian or Antian, Pre-Pastonian or Baventian and Beestonian.
In the Netherlands the Pliocene is divided into these stages: Brunssumian C, Reuverian A, Reuverian B, Reuverian C, Tiglian A, Tiglian B, Tiglian C1-4b, Tiglian C4c, Tiglian C5, Tiglian C6 and Eburonian. The exact correlations between these local stages and the ICS stages is still a matter of detail; the global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2–3 °C higher than today, carbon dioxide levels were the same as today, global sea level was 25 m higher. The northern hemisphere ice sheet was ephemeral before the onset of extensive glaciation over Greenland that occurred in the late Pliocene around 3 Ma; the formation of an Arctic ice cap is signaled by an abrupt shift in oxygen isotope ratios and ice-rafted cobbles in the North Atlantic and North Pacific ocean beds. Mid-latitude glaciation was underway before the end of the epoch; the global cooling that occurred during the Pliocene may have spurred on the disappearance of forests and the spread of grasslands and savannas. Continents continued to drift, moving from positions as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current locations.
South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene, making possible the Great American Interchange and bringing a nearly complete end to South America's distinctive large marsupial predator and native ungulate faunas. The formation of the Isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, since warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off and an Atlantic cooling cycle began, with cold Arctic and Antarctic waters dropping temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean. Africa's collision with Europe formed the Mediterranean Sea, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean; the border between the Miocene and the Pliocene is the time of the Messinian salinity crisis. Sea level changes exposed the land bridge between Asia. Pliocene marine rocks are well exposed in the Mediterranean and China. Elsewhere, they are exposed near shores. During the Pliocene parts of southern Norway and southern Sweden, near sea level rose. In Norway this rise elevated the Hardangervidda plateau to 1200 m in the Early Pliocene.
In Southern Sweden similar movements elevated the South Swedish highlands leading to a deflection of the ancient Eridanos river from its original path across south-central Sweden into a course south of Sweden. The change to a cooler, seasonal climate had considerable impacts on Pliocene vegetation, reducing tropical species worldwide. Deciduous forests proliferated, coniferous forests and tundra covered much of the north, grasslands spread on all continents. Tropical forests were limited to a tight band around the equator, in addition to dry savannahs, deserts appeared in Asia and Africa. Both marine and co