Day 31: Radda in Chianti – Arezzo

Distance: 53.04km

Time: 2 hours 49 minutes

Average speed: 18.9 kph

Cumulative distance: 1620.1 km

Cumulative time: 79 hours 47 minutes

Phrase of the day: ‘vale la pena‘ (vah-lay la pay-nah) – worth it, worth the effort

Radda in Chanti, such a beautiful place, absolutely tiny, but a real gem. We’d not have chosen it had it not been for Peter and Sally’s recommendation, it just wasn’t on our radar, but it was a wonderful place to spend the rest day. The hotel was lovely, our room had a great view to the north over vineyards and olive groves, and we had a splendid meal in the hotel’s restaurant, a wisteria-bounded terrace overlooking the vines and forests to the south.

Yesterday we had a coffee and pastry in a nearby cafe and then a wander round the ridiculously picturesque streets.

After a short planning session by the pool for our onward days’ cycling we headed out for ‘Chianti HQ’ (copyright P. Lynas), where we tasted some wines over a small but delicious lunch, and then bought some to ship home.

Two of the wines we bought are made from the grapes grown in the vineyards in the middle of this picture!

In the evening we went to La Botte di Bacco, where we had a wonderful meal, including a bottle of Chianti (naturally) from Radda, which was very good indeed. It was served in wine glasses as big as goldfish bowls! Everything about the meal was superb, lovely smiley helpful staff, gorgeous homemade bread, grassy olive oil, and two courses each of beautifully cooked Tuscan food.

It had been a big physical effort to get up to Radda, but that’s the thing about hilltop towns – it’s always worth the effort. The views are spectacular, and of course the subsequent downhill departure is a breeze…

Today though, that breeze lasted just two kilometres! We had to get over a ridge between us and today’s destination of Arezzo, but it was a very gentle climb, much of it in woodland with dappled shade to keep things cool.

The scenery was lovely, and we enjoyed the freshness of our post-rest-day legs and were soon over the top. Our reward was a wonderful 15km of downhill, hardly a pedal turned!

The rest of the day was on a Strada Regionale, busier but fine, some climbing and descending, somehow more taxing than the woodland climb, but we were still well within ourselves. We had a quick lunch in a cafe at Pontecino, where bizarrely Wimbledon was requested on the TV by one of the locals.

Our apartment in Arezzo is just inside the ancient city walls, very nicely appointed, and close to the ‘scale mobili’, a series of escalators which whisk you up to the highest part of its medieval centre. Vasari (he of the secret tunnel in Florence) was born here, and is commemorated in the Piazza Grande.

We’ve cycled over sixteen hundred kilometres now. Which is a thousand miles!

Lago Trasimeno tomorrow, a largely flat day.

Here’s today’s track.

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