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Report 1008: 'I Vincitori' Learn to Get Lost in the Hills and Valleys of Italy

By Marian from New Jersey, Spring 2006

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Page 13 of 15: Up, Up, Up to Radicofani (Thursday, 18 May)

photo by Marian

Fortezza ruins at Radicofani; side view of wall

Shock of shocks! The Bar Centrale is closed on Thursdays! I discover this as I stand in the piazza, a copy of today's La Repubblica in hand, wondering why they have not cleaned up the litter from last night's patrons. So I walk down the street, and find myself at the bakery, where I buy a pastry (or two). But where to have coffee? As I walk back toward our apartment, I see that the restaurant along the way, where I had lunch yesterday, also serves as a bar. I order a cappuccino, take it to a table and, on the sly, enjoy my pastry.

Marc and Cheryl are so smart! They go through the same process of shock and disappointment as I did when they see that the Bar Centrale closed, then find me in the other bar. They agree that this one is nowhere near as nice as "ours"; it becomes the bar we don't go to. But it's comfortable enough to sit in for a while. Again, we plan a day of leisure, which I am really expert at. But one can never have too much practice.

To break up the leisure, we have lunch at the nice caffè where we ate on Sunday; it's called "Caffè Italiano" and is just the other side of "Il Tinaio", so extremely near our apartment. This time we go to the back garden, and have lovely salads and panini. A couple from Liverpool are lunching there as well, so we have a pleasant time trading travel stories and general experiences. And we all watch the two tortoises that are resident in the garden.

After lunch, I decide I want to go to Radicofani; the Fortezza is calling me. And I do so love driving in my little Mercedes A180! I tool around a few villages and then start climbing up, up, up to Radicofani. The fortezza is way above the town, and I must park outside the grounds. But what views!

As I walk around, I see that there is a little snack bar, and a young woman selling tickets that allow you to enter the ruins. I do so, as the old stones exert some sort of fascination for me, and I have a good time. No one else there, so far as I can see; why am I not frightened? Who knows why, but I am quite at ease. Finally, time to return to the car, and wind my way back down to San Quirico.

We have made a dinner reservation at I Poggioli in Buonconvento, which is just a bit north of San Quirico. We've had great luck with the Tuscan House restaurant recommendations, and this is one of their favorites. After finding the restaurant with just a little bit of trouble (it's right near the train station, in an unappealing part of town, as described by Tuscan House), we are shown to an outside table.

The food is as wonderful as the restaurant is unprepossessing. We start with prosecco (I probably don't even have to tell you this by now.) I have a wonderful pici caciopepe, preceded by a delicious tuna salad (with beans). We find room to share a dessert, a very refreshing semifreddo. Another lovely day is ending.

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