Radicofani: pilgrims, panini and a gentleman plunderer

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Radicofani is an ancient burg, dominating the Val d’Orcia with its Rocca (Fortress) on the top of a hill. I liked it very much. As for my husband he told me it was his favourite burg of all the mycorneroftuscany tour! So I am very happy I included it even if at the beginning it wasn’t planned, the it was then it was not again!

The Radicofani controversy

I try to explain better. Radicofani was not included in the tour. But then I saw a photo on Instagram and I loved it. I also contacted the local tourist association. But they answered me after 2 weeks or something, and at that time I already experienced some difficulties along the tour. Like being late for the afternoon appointment because the morning appointment lasted too long (despite the agreements). And ending up dead tired, unable to enjoy what I was seeing and living. A blog tour should not be a tour de force. So, however reluctantly, this time I preferred to say no to the local expert and renounce to this visit. I was also upset by his reaction, because his answer was not so friendly. Well, thanks to his rudeness, I got rid of my sense of guilt.

Then finally, I had second thoughts because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit it. We were quite close after all. So we went anyway. On our own. And I am glad we did.

Pilgrims like Mozart and Dickens

Since it is on the border between Tuscany and Lazio, it was particularly important to control and defend the area over the via Francigena, the ancient road connecting France to Rome. Pilgrims and travelers stopped in this village very often in the past. Among them Casanova, Mozart and Dickens.

From the Fortress you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama over the valley. In my opinion, this is worth a visit if you’re nearby. On clear days you can see the Trasimeno Lake (Umbria), the Bolsena Lake (Lazio) and the Apennines.

The local Robin Hood: Ghino di Tacco

There is also a legend connected to the burg. And it is the gentleman bandit, local Robin Hood, Ghino di Tacco. Banished from his birthplace (Siena) for political reasons, he became a brigand and took possesion of the Radicofani fortress in 1297.

In this period the abbot of Cluny monastery came in this area to cure his liver and stomach, but Ghino di Tacco kidnapped him, as Boccaccio tells in one of his Decameron novellas. After discovering that the abbot was there because of his illness, Ghino cured him with his method (a strict diet).

The two men get to know each other during the captivity. The abbot understood that Ghino di Tacco was a man of firm principles, forced to misbehave by circumstances. So, when he was released, he went to Rome and asked to the Pope to pardon Ghino and grant him a knighthood. The Pope accepted. That went well.

What to see in Radicofani

  • The Fortress.
  • The main piazza, ie piazza S. Pietro.
  • San Pietro church and S. Agata church preserving some workd by the Della Robbia brothers.

The second attraction in the village

You may be surprised but the second attraction of the village (according to TripAdvisor) is not a church or a museum, but a deli shop called Pane e Companatico (something like Bread and Filling). The shop is in a lovely and colourful piazzetta. It is run by a gentle lady, Silvana, who made us some delicious panini that we ate on the outside bench. She told us has been running the shop for 36 years, without a day off, and that the secret of her success is preparing the panini with love. In fact she is very proud of her TripAdvisor placement.

Pane e Companatico in Radicofani
Pane e Companatico in Radicofani

Surroundings

  • South of the burg you can visit the Bosco Isabella, a romantic garden built at the end of XIX century by Odoardo Luchini, who had a great passion for English gardens. The Luchini family was part of a Masonic lodge. Therefore the garden is full of Masonic symbols.
  • The Osteria Grossa, ancient way station and customs, that hosted the illustrious pilgrims I quoted at the beginning of the post.
  • Fifteen minutes away there’s another attraction/activity worth a visit, the free thermal bath called Terme di San Filippo, consisting of several pools of varying temperature. The most famous spot is the Fosso Bianco, meaning white moat. There’s a big limestone formation, there, nicknamed the White Whale. It can be interesting to see as a natural spectacle, even for those who don’t want to take advantage of the hot springs.

The burg is very nice and neat, with romantic corners made of stone houses, cobbled streets, flowers on the windows sills and nice people. It is the perfect place for those who like genuine food and a peaceful atmosphere. It is clearly a destination for people who are looking for silence.

Radicofani
Radicofani
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