Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nearby Hill Towns: Carraia, c. del Lago, Panicale, Paciano, Citta Della Pieve

02/26, Sunday
What a glorious way to start the day! Sergio had told us about a bakery in Carraia near Sanfatucchio, and what a bakery. We just sat there and got complete sugar highs and enjoyed the shop that held hundreds of delectable pastries. The decor seemed more French than Italian, and elegant.

Right next door is where Michele works at the Fioroni cashmere outlet. She gave us a very interesting tour, and we could appreciate how labor intensive their product is when viewing the various processes. Their cashmere comes from Mongolia, it is colored and spun into thread in Urbino, Italy; then created into parts (sleeves, back, front, etc) by computer-aided machines at their shop; washed at least three times to soften and shrink; pieced together by hand; details (buttons and backing) by hand; machine pressed.

The third time is a charm! When we returned to Castiglione del Lago this 3rd time, the palace and castle were open. We think this is our favorite spot in this area with a quaint town, beautiful lake and a castle. The castle was really walking the ramparts and a long enclosed rampart took you from the palace to the walls of the castle. The views of the lake were wonderful.

Taking Michele's suggestion we visited three more hill towns, Panicale, Paciano and Citta Della Pieve. We sat outside soaking up the sun in Panicale, having a bite of lunch and reading free books. There is only one local-yokel also enjoying the sun was in the square, and a bicycler relaxing after pedaling up the hill. Biking seems to be popular and taken seriously here. We see teams drafting along the roads.

Of course each town has a wonderful church and I have been partaking in holy water in each one. Not many Masses, but lots of holy water!

Wandered the roads by car around our town before heading back to our apartment. A bit easier by car! The beautiful yellow, red and browns of the countryside are almost mesmerizing; small villages and homes are grouped on the back roads.

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