Sunday, August 15th, 2010

OK, if you’ve ever heard of a Tuscan talked called Lucignano, raise your hand.  I thought so.  It is as unknown to you as it was to me when I stumbled across this little jewel of a town; one of countless such beautiful little towns in Italy. A few years ago the Lovely D and I stayed in an agritourismo in Tuscany. It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere but was an amazing place to stay. In fact it deserves a post all it’s own and I will do so soon. I will share one photo of the apartment we had.

Note the monster fireplace which still had a hook installed to hold pots for cooking. It was a great place to have as a home base and we did day trips all over Tuscany and usually wound up eating lunch out but then had dinner back in our 200 year old apartment.  The closest town that was even on the map was Monte San Sovino and that was 10 km away along a very windy road. Monte San Sovino was not very interesting but an even smaller town nearby named Lucignano was very picturesque – see the photos below. Neither of us had ever heard of it and it was in none of the Italian guidebooks. Of course we found this often to be true of small towns in Italy. Little gems are everywhere. But as is often the case, I digress (just ask my wife).

We walked around the town there one day and wound up having lunch in a restaurant that was completely underground. It had a high stone arched ceiling that one sees often in Italy. We were a little late and were the only ones in the place. We were able to talk a bit to the owner chef – in my halting Italian, of course, since the young chef did not speak a word of English. It was our wedding anniversary the next day and were looking for a place to celebrate. My wife is a fishetarian, that is she does eat fish but no other form of meat. The chef invited us to come back for dinner the next day with the promise of an outstanding fishetarian meal fixed just for us. We did and he lived up to his promise. Course after course arrived and they were all excellent. At the table next to us were two couples considerably younger than us and, especially as the wine worked it’s magic, we began to talk with them. None of the four at the other table spoke any English but the wine was definitely improving my ability to speak Italian. After this amazing dinner we moved the two tables together so that we could more readily talk. The waiter brought bottles of grappa and whisky for us. This is something that I think used to be more common. The spirits arrive at the table at the end of the meal along with glasses and it is all gratis. There is no charge and one drinks as much as seems right. We all had our share that night and somehow managed to talk for an hour more after dinner. It was such a satisfying experience that I came back and diligently studied Italian for a while before I lapsed once again.

I guess that there are two points to this post. The first is that there are lots and lots of picturesque towns all over Italy that are never in guide books but are worth exploring because you find such wonderful things just following your nose. The second is that even a little bit of Italian can go a long way in the right circumstances. Besides the inherent beauty found all over Italy it is really the people that you meet and interact with that really make so much of a difference.

2 Responses to “Lucignano”

  1. Abby Says:

    Love this entry but where exactly in Tuscany is Lucignano???

  2. Joe Says:


    I’m glad that you liked it. Lucignano is south of Florence by 86 km (about 50 miles) according to Google Maps. Type in Lucignano, Italy into Google Maps and if you zoom in with the satellite view you can see it just like the arial photo on the blog.


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