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2023, Spring Northern Italy part 4


100+ Posts
April 11-25, 2023

We slept comfortably through the night in the quiet "Renaissance Apartment". We packed fairly light for this trip so keeping up with laundry was required. The apartment had a washing machine but no dryer, I find that the norm in most places we stay. After hanging what we washed we walked out onto the cobble stones shining from the recent drizzle.

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A few steps away we grabbed coffee, tea and a couple nice croissants on the Palazzo Piccolomini. The weather was calling for rain through the morning,...how should we spend a rainy day? BAGNI SAN FILIPPO! We figured a little rain couldn't spoil a natural hot spring! After breakfast we packed a dry bag with towels, water shoes etc, and then stopped next door at the Macelleria del Corso for a couple take away panini sandwiches with ham and cheese, Pecorino of course!

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The FREE natural hot springs were located just south about 25 Km-30 minutes. The town of Bagni San Filippo is located in the municipality of Castiglione d' Orcia, if you blink you'll miss it! We drove the one way loop around the town to scope out parking, there is free parking down at the bottom, but for 1.5 euro per hour we parked close to the trail head. By the looks of the parking we knew others thought it was a perfect day for this activity. There are small pools along the trail that were tempting, but I read to be patient and walk just 5 more minutes to a large calcic rock formation known as La Balena Bianca, The White Whale. AMAZING!

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There were several people around, but plenty of vacant turquoise holes to immerse ourselves. The temperature varies from different spots, but we found a nice pool for two that was typical hot tub temperature and a wall next to it had water cascading down at probably 110f, it felt incredible! We half sat and leaned back into that warm sulpher shower for the longest time!


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We spent about 2 hours happily moving from pool to pool, thinking about the historical figures who sat in these same pools, cool. The calcic rocks have a natural grit to them, so slipping wasn't an issue. It drizzled most of the time we were soaking and when it slowed we dried off and headed back to the car, we were smart to bring spare dry clothes! Once in the car we could already see our skin turning white from the sulpher water, we didn't see any bathhouse facilities so back to Pienza for a shower! My black swim trunks turned light gray so we did another load of wash! Additionally, on our way back we saw a cool castle, Castello di Spedaletto, had to take a pic. Come to find out it's from the 12th century and offers a very nice "farm stay"!

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The skies were clearing up, so we walked and walked with a little shopping in between. We found a cool shop in the center of town that had local hand forged furniture, lighting and art. The shop keeper told us we should visit the Biagiotti metal workers shop just outside of town, so we did. I dabble in making live edge furniture at home and I would love to have access to this eclectic shop for my projects! Giovanni described what they create at their large shop, pretty much anything you can think of! check it out www.biagiottipienza.com

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We tried to make a reservation at the highly recommended Trattoria da Fiorella, no luck again ugh. As far as reservations you're best to check in at lunch time. I think it was 5:30'ish and most restaurants were closed up with nobody insight, but fortunately the owner was at Trattoria da Fiorella and I was able to make a reservation for the next night! Now I said "no luck" or were we actually "lucky"? as we searched for a restaurant in a courtyard a nice man named Christopher (aka Chris) asked if we needed help, we said not really we're just looking at restaurants. He said he owned the restaurant we were walking towards and would be happy to have a table ready for us when they open? we said absolutely! He was finishing unloading items for the restaurant and said "I'm going to have a beer would you please join me?" we wouldn't do this at home, which is unfortunate, but we said sounds great thank you. Unsure of where he was taking us we walked to the edge of town, talking all the way....are we going to a house? Turns out he is also the owner of a craft beer bar called Prosit, alrighty then! The bar is nice, great selection of beer, wine, cheese, meats etc. Wonderful talking with Chris, his english is great perhaps because his wife is from Arizona! so he knows the US pretty well too. After he left for the restaurant we stayed for maybe an hour listening to older rock and roll, it feels like a younger local hangout, great change of pace!

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We walked into the small courtyard and through the door to IL Rossellino at 8:15 and our table was waiting for us. The restaurant is cozy, maybe 6 tables? there is courtyard seating, which would be outstanding, but the weather decided against that. Chris came over and described the menu for us, then a bottle of house wine, it was good!. (FYI, tomorrow we take the wines up a notch in Montalcino...but I digress) We started with a couple appetizers. The tasty pomodoro sauce with fresh burrata and rustic bread can actually serve as my meal, but I did order my favorite RAGU! Since visiting Italy and experiencing their various ragu's I've been making my own, the hours spent "caring" for the sauce is obvious when you have great ragu, and Rossellino's chef cares about his ragu! My wife started with an egg cooked at low temperature with asparagus and pecorino, she loved that! She also had Cacio e Pepe with artichoke which was also very nice.

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Our meals and wine were very good, but the atmosphere makes or breaks the experience sometimes. There was a locals birthday celebration next to us and they were having fun. A young couple from Aosta were very nice and another couple from Rome chatted with us as the traditional digestives were delivered with our dessert wooopWOOOP! Chris brought 3 bottles of Stille di Meditazion and said see which one you prefer, I've never seen this brand so I did try all three! After dessert, coffee and finding my favorite digestive 3 times we started to leave, but the gentleman from Rome was trying to get us to sit and drink at their table...Chris rescued us and we were able to respectfully say our farewells! It was a VERY FUN DAY!!

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To be continued.....

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