Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My New Favorite Hill Town!

OK, I have at least ten favorites. But I was quite impressed with my first visit to Certaldo. The typical way to arrive at the top is by taking the funicular from the main town square. But instead, we drove up along the steep, narrow road which followed the crest of the hills and ended up just outside the ancient walls. The parking lot was so steep that our Fiat Multipla could not even hold its place. Thank goodness my friend Giuseppe was driving at this point!

We found a more stable location (still quite steep) and headed further up into town. As we entered through the old gate, I was immediately transported back into time, first by the unchanged structures and alleys but also by the people in costume everywhere! There were jesters and friars, monks and more. A festival for the high school students (a sort of treasure hunt) was taking place. The music was playing from its hiding place under the burlap sack. The old palace with its many coats of arms was the meeting point. We strolled around and enjoyed the festiveness.

At one point, we followed what at first appeared to be a quiet side street but happened upon this open window from where beautiful piano music was spilling out into the street. Absolutely the best thing about exploring these special places are all the wonderful surprises that happen along the way.

We finished the day with an amazing dinner at La Stelletta in the square of the modern town below. The recipes on their menu date back to medieval times. The owner's mother was the cook. Of course!


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