We’ve been touring in the Valle Casentino, a beautiful area west of Florence, north of Arezzo, that is virtually untouched by mass tourism.
This morning we drove high up into the mountains to the Agriturismo Casa Pallino where the sheep were being sheared. The shearer, a man from Rimini whose company is called Longhorn Shearing, sheared about one hundred Sardinian sheep with a minimum of fuss.
He showed us his special shearer shoes which keep him from sliding. He wears two pairs of pants to protect against the lanolin.
Going into the restaurant, we met a couple Erica knew who happened to be from Sebastopol, CA. The woman for many years had worked for MALT, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. Very small world.
It was Sunday, and many people were out for the big mid-day meal.
We popped into a church, La Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta, built in the 12th century. The whimsical capitals on the columns are from Romanesque times.
After lunch we once again climbed up the mountains, this time on the other side of the valley. In the town of Cetica we wanted to visit the Ecomuseo del Carbonaio, a museum dedicated to the charcoal makers who once lived in this area.
The museum was closed because the village was holding a festa to honor a priest from the area who had become known nation-wide for his exorcisms. We encouraged the director to open the museum. He agreed, but for only five minutes. He then spent over an hour taking us through the museum.
We spotted beehives on a hillside.
And a nun walking in a tiny village. Many convents and monasteries have been located in this area for centuries.