Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pilazzo Bizzarri and the Town of Serre

In my intro post, when I started my blog, I stated my purpose to share with you my personal remarks from the weddings I officiate. My focus in those remarks is always on what I learned from a couple. This post, and perhaps I will do one or two more on this subject will focus on my trip to Tuscany. After all, this is learning too. Do not expect anything comprehensive or methodical, just stream of conciousness.

I am staying at Palazzo Bizzarri in the small medieval town of Serre in Rapolano Terme in the Province of Siena. I am here to officiate Hana and Daniel's destination wedding. They live in Munich, and decided that Tuscany would be the perfect setting for their wedding. Perfect is an understatement! This place is really something.

According to, this "medieval fortified village founded in the year 800 by Byzantines to ward off Longobards... This beautifully restored house, the Palazzo Bizzarri... is a 1200 (sic) tower..." When the owners, "Lucia and Giuliano (Civitelli) bought the palazzo, they also acquired all the original furniture, curtains, crockery and linen and felt it was all too perfect to change."

As someone who grew up in Israel, the first thing I was reminded of, when we arrived in the village, was the Old City of Jerusalem. The town has very narrow streets (though this slows down the Italian driver about as much as it would the Israeli one...) and most of it looks like it is straight out of the Middle Ages. Indeed, according to IL Prodigio Cromatico Delle Grance Senesi, the Rapolano municipality's "resistance to the 'silent hammers of decay' has halted the passage of time, allowing us to observe a perfectly preserved piece of living history."

When you walk into the Palazzo, you are not only struck by the ancient look of the entrance hall, but by the sweet smell of grapes. You can see almost straight into the cool wine cellar, which is fully stocked, and looks like something out of a movie. Surpisingly, very little of the Palazzo is air-conditioned, but the stone building remains relatively cool.

Incidentally, it seems that Sienna was a republic for more than 400 years from the 12th to the 16th Century. Don Isaac Abarbanel speaks so fondly of such Italian city states as an example of the Jewish People should follow, when they regain independence. I wonder what Angela Merkel would think about Italians being extolled for their fine governance...

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