The venue of LOD 2019 will be The Certosa di Pontignano — Siena.
A few kilometres from Siena, on a hill dominating the town stands the ancient Certosa di Pontignano, a unique place where nature, history and hospitality blend together in memorable harmony. Built in the 1300, its medieval structure remains intact with additions of the following centuries. The Certosa is centred on its historic cloisters and gardens.
The Great Cloister is the heart of the Certosa di Pontignano. The first one to be built, it housed the true life of the monks. As an evidence of his originality is the 14h century wonderful fully functional stone well, which stands in the centre of the same. On the side toward Siena, next to the sculpture “Portale della Vita” crafted and given to the Certosa by artist Massimo Lippi (Lippi born in Siena), there is direct access to the ancient church with 16th century frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti (26 August 1548 – 10 October 1612, also known as Barbatelli), a small “Sistine Chapel” in the land of Siena. This place, full of history and charm, is the main entrance of the entire Certosa, the core of the structure.
Slightly smaller, the Main Cloister is equipped with an impressive lighting system designed to enhance the beauty during the warm summer and spring nights. This cloister directly accesses to the Villa and its rooms and halls, and as well to the balcony over the beautiful Italianate garden. Quite unique, with a breath-taking view of the countryside and the city of Siena, the Italianate garden is the precious pearl of the Certosa di Pontignano.
Protected by monumental legislative constraint for its originality and world-class value, this precious piece of paradise reflects all the traditional rules of an Italian renaissance garden, with typical influences of the French period, found in the geometry and in the cut of boxwoods, which close the bottom of the garden, and the laurel tunnel leading to the botanical area.
On the right, the garden hosts the limonaia of the Certosa, a magical place adorned with aromatic plants, that, during winter, keeps and protects almost one hundred-old lemon trees. From spring to autumn these plants are moved back to the garden, as magnificent ornament and source of scents.
A huge centenary plant of magnolia dominates the green garden instilling respect and admiration, while right in front of it flowering vines embrace the balcony of the villa forming a unique combination.
At the centre, geometric traditional Italian boxwood bushes, evergreen and perfectly shaped, host seasonal flowers rich in colour and perfumes; to be admire the 16th century marble fountain used for the water supply of the plants. The green terrace, overlooking the vineyards, completes the garden, a green corner isolated and not visible from outside in which find relax or a perfect reading atmosphere.
The precious botanical garden, bound by the legislation as a monumental masterpiece, has plants typical of the Chianti region, fruit trees and herbs that fascinate the visitor for its simple beauty.
Spaces and Rooms for study, think, discuss and interact
There are many rooms at the Certosa, perfect for relaxation and tranquility for guests. The main lounge has a huge stone fireplace fully functional, in front of which you may enjoy a glass of wine, sitting on sofas, or perhaps enjoy a good dinner in comfortable table for a private dinner. It has direct access to the balcony overlooking of the Italianate garden via two wide doors. Appreciated by guests as a reading place, it can also be used along with the “sala della loggia” for a larger working space.
The wine cellar is a small, typical corner, dug under the foundations of the Certosa. In this stone built tavern, up to 20 people can book special wine tastings, served on a large, solid wood table. Also, special private dinners may be organized in the cellar, where you will dine surrounded by precious, aged wines.
You will also find a room with a pool table, small fireplaces surrounded by sofas and a terrace ideals for aperitifs at sunset. These, together with the fascinating ambiance of the Certosa will make your stay memorable.
Up there, in fact, the wind turns into the planet’s enigmatic breathing. The morning breeze blows out toward the sea and returns warmer in the evening toward land.
In that oasis which welcomes my exodus I sense the idleness of old men, I listen to the dull, mounting din of birds breaking into song, to silence, to the cry of joy that greets the day, to the sounds of life in the valley that are deflected, with the clinking of artisans meeting the moans of plows furrowing the land.
Then there is that silence which is “not silent”, being the language of nature and the universe. Not only – it is also an ongoing locution that we risk interrupting with our sudden, fragmented comments.
And so, in this refuge of solitude, as the day takes leave for men and all life, abandoning the hollows of the hills and eclipsing among the crevices of arid mounds, the soul is filled with nostalgia for loved ones and contact with the human world: because it is precisely in isolation that wholeness may be best appreciated.
The heart passes from a state of melancholy to one of universal generosity that is born of an acute perception of the frailty of humanity, life and beauty – of all that is hoped for and promised.
Mario Luzi, from “Terra di vento e di deserto” in Mi guarda Siena.
… Pausa di privilegio alla mia traversata – sosta che l’animo in accelerazioni di slanci desidera smanioso e quasi ingordo – è la terra orciana, quella più alta, oltre San Quirico, fino a Montepulciano, a Pienza.
Visione che appare come un fondale della memoria o un luogo del sogno su cui un oscuro senso esaltato percepisce il brivido d’una misteriosa ventilazione.
Lassù, infatti, il vento è una specie di respiro misterioso del pianeta. Vi soffia la brezza che la mattina corre in direzione del mare e che a sera ritorna, più calda, verso terra.
Da quell’oasi che si apre accogliente al mio esodo, intuisco l’ozio dei vegliardi, ascolto l’ascesa del fragore sordo e chioccio degli uccelli verso il canto, il silenzio, il grido di felicità che colma il giorno, l’operosità della valle che rimbalza e si risponde in opere artigiane, in mugli di motori spinti al solco delle arature.
E ancora… un silenzio “non silenzioso”, in quanto voce e linguaggio della natura, dell’universo. Anzi, di più: un discorso continuo, sempre in atto, che, in verità, a volte noi interrompiamo con un dire frammentario e provvisorio.
Così, nella mia nicchia di solitudine, mentre il giorno umano e non umano sfugge dalla terra, dall’incavo dei suoi piccoli monti e si eclissa tra le pieghe dei suoi aridi dossi, l’animo elabora anche una nostalgia dei propri simili, del contatto con il mondo degli uomini: perché è nella separatezza che viene rivalutata la totalità.
Il cuore, da una condizione di malinconia, deborda, allora, ad una “carità” universale che nasce dal senso acuto della fragilità umana, della vita, della bellezza. E tutto ciò è attesa, promessa.