The medieval village of Pari, located some 25 km south of Siena is a particularly appropriate center from which to consider the future.
The village is located on a hill top and surrounded by magnificent views of the heavily wooded Tuscan countryside. The surrounding area is given over to olive groves and grape vines and small-scale farming. In winter wild boar are hunted in these woods.
The surrounding area has been occupied for well over 2000 years. The Etruscans certainly made use of the curative properties of the sulfur hot spring located below the village. In addition to burial areas close to Pari the remains of a major Etruscan town can be visited at Roselle some 40 km away.
One thousand years ago Pari had become a walled town of several hundred persons grouped around the central castle, the residence of the Counts of Ardengheschi. By the 14th century the region had come under the government of the Sienese.
Until the 1950s life in Pari had continued unchanged over the centuries. Moreover it was totally self-sufficient for its food, heat, furniture, shoes and clothing. Wool, for example, was made from the fleece of the local sheep and a form of very durable linen was made from the local ginestra plant. Mulberry trees surrounding the village attest to the use of silk. Very little money circulated in the village and its economy was based on a system of exchange and barter for goods and services. What little money did enter the village came from the sale of its wine and, later, though the contraband smuggling of tobacco and salt (for preserving meat).
Today the village continues in a remarkable state of preservation. With the coming of the industrial and economic revolution to Central Italy in the 1950s and '60s Pari's population began to drop from 1500 to the present 250 as people left to find work in the cities. However, by using Pari as a conference and learning centre, we hope to provide stimulation and new possibilities, particularly to the young people of the area.
As well as being an ideal site for small meetings Pari is also a perfect center for tourism. Not only can day trips be made to Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, Rome and Arezzo but visits can be made to the many small medieval villages in the area and the ancient abbeys of San Galgano and Sant'Antimo. The famous Brunello wines can be tasted at Montalcino and the sea is only a forty minute drive away.
Pari boasts it own restaurant where traditional Tuscan foods are served and there are many other restaurants in the immediate area. For those who wish to extend their visit there is a choice of accommodation, from Pari's small hotel, a rented apartment, or one of the agriturismo facilities (farm-based tourist accommodation) in the area. See for exampe www.poderevignali.it
Note Pari village assocaition, Sette Colli, now has its own web site at
If you intend to visit the Siena area why
not consider taking a course in the Italian language? Siena boasts several language schools. One I would highly recommend is Saena Iulia.
How to get here
NOTE: Full travel details will be given to conference participants on registration.
For your general information, Pari is 25 km south of Siena. It is located on a hilltop a few kilometers from the main superstrada that connects Siena to Grosseto.
Rome (Leonardo da Vinci, aka Fumicino) airport connects to the world's main aiports.
The airport is connected by commuter train to Roma Termini and Roma Ostiense stations. From there you can take a train north, stopping at Grosseto.
You can also drive from Leonardo da Vinci airport on a superstrada that avoids Rome itself.
Pisa Airport connects to internal Italian airports as well as to Amsterdam and London (Stansted and Gatwick). Pisa is about 2 hours away, by car, from Pari.
The railway station is a short taxi ride away from the airport and regular trains from Pisa stop at Grosseto on their way to Rome and Naples.
Florence Airport is just over one hour away by car from Pari and connects to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, London(Gatwick), Paris and Vienna as well as internal flights to main Italian airports.
Milan. Milan has some good-priced flights from North America. Shuttle flights (55 mins) connect to Florence. Luggage checked in in North America can be picked up in Florence for customs inspection. Passengers arriving at Milan simply pass through transit for their Florence flights.
By Bus or Rail
Grosseto is a stop on the main railway line that runs down the west coast of Italy and connects Genoa, Pisa, Rome and Naples. Grosseto is approximately 40 km from Pari.
Buses from Grosseto stop at Pari, or 3 km away at the Petriolo Hotel, on their way to Siena and Florence.
Siena is quite close to Pari, only 25 km away, but not so easily reached from other Italian cities. It requires a change of train, for example, to reach Siena from Florence. However Siena can be reached in about one hour by bus from Florence.
Buses connecting Siena to Grosseto stop at Pari, or 3 km away at Petriolo Hotel.