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Sep 2012

Tuscany Coat of Arms

You should know the drill by now in these Tuscan-hillside towns? Persevere with trying to park at the bottom then lug it up, on foot, straight to the top.

That way, the inevitable church or cattedrale up there provides a calming sanctuary and after 20 minutes you'll have steamed off, all ready for a fair-minded mooch on the way back down.

Except, there's no need for none of that today. Here might be 700 foot up but there's plenty of parking just about on the level so there's not even that much of a lug.

The purpose-provided parking looks like you could be visiting a National Trust™ and you are[1], kind of. This medieval walled town is essentially a tourist attraction since nobody seems to live here[2] and they might as well lock the gates at night.

[1] Obviously not so no grudge is being beared.
[2] 42, they say, and the population quoted refers to the surrounding comune.

Inside, it looks a bit like Siena except you wouldn't really know. Any plans to visit that hillside attraction had to be abandoned earlier thanks to some gridlocked traffic and a Fiat™ Cinquecento with a nice line in tight, three-point turns.

They'll let you up and along the walls for a few €euros, which aren't that much more than a lap of an athletics track. Still, nice views over the side to Tuscany and down to the theme park inside that's not much more than the inside of an athletics track.

For history-fact fans, the walls go as far back as 1213 and the town gets a mention in Dante's Divine Comedy. You know the bit in Inferno? Canto XXXI, lines 40-45, the ring of giants encircling the infernal abyss?

Nah, wouldn't know, neither. Never really got past side two,  track one.

  Antico Travaglio (Piazza Roma)

Osteria\Gelateria so take your pick from all the courses or a choc ice. A little bit pricier than you've been used to lately but have you seen the price of a bottle of water at Alton Towers?