Village Life in San Casciano dei Bagni, Tuscany
Whenever I help a group or couple plan a trip, I encourage them to experience what I call ‘village life’. To truly experience their surroundings they must not only stay local but get local and slow down. A vacation should be at a different pace from your everyday– taking time with the small moments expand into a deep or playful exchange which in turn nourishes the soul. Is this why we go away as often as we can? San Casciano dei Bagni is the perfect place to relax and experience Italian life in an authentic manner.
San Casciano dei Bagni is a town I have known for 18 years. A short walk from Le Ripe, this is an untouched medieval town with a spectacular view. While much has changed in the world, village life in San Casciano dei Bagni has a lovely sameness and just the right newness about it.
When I first arrived in town, there was just the Bar Centrale and the proverbial butcher and baker (then tucked up on an inside street– great profiteroles!).
The Bar Centrale was and is where the locals gather for cappuccino and fresh cornetti in the morning– the men in the back with the sports pages open on the table and the women in front gossiping. What I know now that I did not know then is that in the summer (why only summer this New Englander asks???) they serve up an excellent gelato.
Daniela the proprietor has in these intervening years become a local entrepreneur, adding Daniela’s Restaurant (which also serves that very same gelato), a casual inn, a gift store and a pizzeria/bread store which also has excellent glazed pumpkin/raisin cookies. There are several more stores worth visiting including the fabulous Fonteverde spa and La Fontanella for a really superb meal. Fortunately, the stunning, expansive view from the piazza is no less stunning and expansive than it was then.
When I am in town, I meet friends and colleagues, have dinner with my family, check in to see if there are any truffles to be had (wink, wink, nod, nod to my local friend Giuliana who knows the man with the goods), check the tiny jewelry store for estate–sale finds, buy the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune (only sometimes) and get money from the ATM. Oh, and yes, I get bread, fruit, salad greens, vegetables and, well, dessert.
It may take me all morning or all afternoon to do this, but who cares? I am moving to the rhythm of small-town life in Tuscany. We all feel the modern-day pressures - my Italian friends particularly are experiencing the rising taxes, food and fuel prices directly and with a wince. But here among village life it is shared. Everyone takes a break to swap stories, commenting and criticizing and taking stock. They care about each other and take an interest in each others’ lives. This reconnecting gives life meaning and adds sweetness. I invite you to come taste some for yourself in San Casciano dei Bagni…
In: Italy Travel Advice, Italy Vacation Activities, Italy Vacation Destinations, Italy Villa Rentals · Tagged with: italian villa rentals, Italy Travel Advice, Tuscan towns, Tuscany Villas