The travels and musings of Al and Linda from 8 May to 17 July 2010.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This visit turned out to be the jewel of the day.
The castle is now a hotel/pension. There are 9 apartments in there, and from the outer rim of the castle there's no indication it is being used for lodging. In fact, you can see from the photos (below) that it's in need of considerable repair. As we walked up the stairs to an inner courtyard, with cars parked and a number on the door, we then realized it had another use. Lippiano is up on a hill overlooking a broad valley.
I had the opportunity to talk with a woman who was born and raised in the Ukraine - her Italian was elementary. She came to this Italian area for work and to make money (she got the word "soldi" down pat), believing, like so many who leave their homes for lives abroad, that life would be better for them. She left everything behind including family and friends. Her neighbor is a Florentine blacksmith with hands the size of base ball gloves and a powerful grip. He left Florence 3 years ago for a quieter life - and he found it in Lippiano. He rents a room in the same house occupied by the Ukrainian woman and has his workshop in the basement of the house. He makes wrought iron grates, gates, and other ornamental products. He commented that what he does is "illegal." He's about 70 plus years old with unruly white hair and a salt and pepper beard which was just as unruly. He spoke some English from days living and visiting London. Both are eking a living. They were delightful people, but neither could explain the history of the castle. The Internet was not very helpful either other than the use of the castle as a seasonal rental. The guide books have nothing on Lippiano, which, by the way is in Umbria, not Tuscany. If I were looking for a hide-away, Lippiano would certainly fit my needs. See the photos. So, I'm shouting our to anyone listening, if I'm lost or unaccounted for, look for me in Lippiano. Another person we chatted with was a Brit; she commented that the Brits occupy these quarters every year.