Walled Cities and Towers of Tuscany: Certaldo, Monteriggioni, and Siena with Kate Bolton-Porciatti

Walled Cities and Towers of Tuscany: Certaldo, Monteriggioni, and Siena with Kate Bolton-Porciatti


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Cultural historian Kate Bolton-Porciatti continues her exploration of some of Tuscany’s most evocative towns and cities, with virtual visits to Certaldo, Monteriggioni, and Siena.

It is a paradox that many of the most serenely beautiful Tuscan towns were built as defensive military machines, complete with watch-towers, battlements, and fortifications that bear witness to their violent past. In this seminar, we trace the history, architecture, and culture of three places within a short distance of each other: the picture-book medieval hill town of Certaldo, home to the fourteenth-century writer Giovanni Boccaccio (‘father of the short story’); the early thirteenth-century fortified village of Monteriggioni, whose impenetrable ring of turrets was described by Dante in The Divine Comedy; and the majestic city of Siena, with its soaring Gothic belfries, towers, and spires.

Led by an expert on Italian cultural history, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, this interactive seminar will explore the social, religious, cultural, and architectural background of Tuscany’s communes and city-states. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the area’s historic towns.

This conversation is part of a series on the walled cities and villages of Tuscany with Kate Bolton-Porciatti. Each session is designed as a stand-alone seminar as well as part of the series.

Walled Cities and Towers of Tuscany: Lucca, Pienza and San Gimignano with Kate Bolton-Porciatti 

Walled Cities and Towers of Tuscany: Montalcino, San Quirico d'Orcia, and Montepulciano with Kate Bolton-Porciatti

Walled Cities and Towers of Tuscany: Certaldo, Monteriggioni, and Siena with Kate Bolton-Porciatti

Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, where she teaches BA and MA courses in the humanities. She also lectures at the British Institute, Florence, and at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. Kate has published extensively as an academic and a journalist; she is a music critic for BBC Music and a travel writer for The Daily Telegraph, UK. Before moving to Italy permanently in 2005, she was a senior producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London and has won prestigious Jerusalem and Sony Awards for her programs. She did her M.Phil. thesis in Italy, exploring the musical culture of early Renaissance Florence.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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