That’s right. That’s the slogan for Chianciano Terme, our home for the next six days. Although my liver doesn’t need to be cured–at least not yet, if it ever ails me, I’m definitely coming back to this sweet Tuscan hill town. Twenty years ago, before socialized medicine stopped covering spa treatments, people came here for a week or two to drink and soak in the mineral waters. One hopes they were not drinking the water they were sitting in, but who knows? For some reason, once the treatments were no longer free, business dropped off dramatically, so now it is a much quieter place, which suits us just fine.
Our family owned and operated hotel is cute and comfortable. If you are wondering why I am including the following photo, it is because the shutter visible on the top of the door to the balcony rolls up and down with the press of a button, just like a garage door opener.
I don’t know why, but I find that enchanting.
This time, we didn’t win the room assignment sweepstakes. Our balcony overlooks the parking lot, while those on the other side view the rolling hills. But no matter. Our bus rides offer us views aplenty.
The first half of our trip focuses on hilltop towns of Tuscany. First up is the lovely hilltop town of Radicofani, a stopping place for pilgrims enroute to Rome.
Here’s Anna, our wonderful guide, pointing out the Pilgrim icon on the side of one of the buildings.
Ghino di Tacco, Radicofani’s most famous resident made his living robbing those pilgrims, but he did it with class. He made sure he left the poor ones enough to eat. But still, he was a robber. So how come he is immortalized with a statue on the outskirts of town?
All was forgiven after he kidnapped an Abbott, who had digestive problems (perhaps on his way to Chianciano Terme to get a liver tune up?). Instead, after living on bread, water and dried beans, the Abbott was miraculously cured of whatever ailed him, was released, made his way to Rome, and convinced the pope to make Ghino a knight of the Order of St. John. Who says crime doesn’t pay?
One of the many reasons I’m loving this tour with Grand Circle is because of the experiences I never would have had if we were on our own. Silvana is one of those experiences. We stopped for a snack at her shop. Silvana not only fed us, she kept us entertained with a monologue (translated by Anna) that Jerry Seinfeld would have envied.
Silvana is the youngest resident of Radicofani. Her 78 year old mama is still working, taking care of 5 of her “elderly” neighbors.
Our trip to the sheep farm will have to wait till tomorrow, or I’ll never get this post finished!