A Quiet Hilltop Top in Tuscany
The village of Radicondoli is situated in a beautiful position on the top of a hill looking towards a valley about 40 km east from Siena in an area known for its metalliferous hills.
Radicondoli is a perfect day trip (or even half day trip) from Siena, but can be easily reached also from the direction of Colle di Val d'Elsa. From Siena take the road SS73 to Rosia, until you reach a cross and then take SP541 in the direction of Casole d'Elsa and Florence. Continue until you find indications to Radicondoli on the left.
Just after taking the uphill road to Radicondoli, there is a wonderful "Caseificio", a cheese factory with direct sale of cheese and other local products on your righthand side. You might like stopping here to buy some cheese to take away or maybe do some taste testing before continuing the road up to the village.
Take Walk in the Center and Lunch at a Local Trattoria
Radicondoli is one of those quiet Tuscan villages that does not offer one "major" attraction therefore it is not overly crowded with tourists. In fact the charm lies in wandering through the narrow streets, stopping to have a coffee in a bar and observing the local life or enjoying the beautiful landscape over the Tuscan hills.
Looking at the hills you can notice in some points smoke rising from the ground. It is not a fire but it is steam, which indicates the presence of sources of geothermal energy in the area.
If you arrive in the center by car, you can take the one-way main street Via Tiberio Gazzei and drive through the center to find parking behind the Collegiata church or at the end of the village. After parking your car return same way to have a peaceful walk through the village.
Last time we had lunch at Trattoria Nazionale, a cosy little restaurant just on the main street. From outside it seems like just a bar, but they have a nice inside room for the restaurant and a great view over the hills. They serve traditional Tuscan dishes; we ate a very good mixed antipasti plate, Tuscan bread and vegetable soup "ribollita" and pici pasta with some great meat sauce.
Another restaurant that I can suggest is called La Pergola just a few steps from the main road. Especially in summer time the position of this restaurant is fantastic, as you can eat outside in the panoramic terrace.
After lunch you can continue the walk and visit the tiny museum of the city that illustrates renewable energy sources, with a focus on geothermal energy. On the first floor there is a small tourist information office and on the second floor a museum room with some exhibits that simulate the different ways of producing energy.
The museum can be especially interesting with school age children, who can also try some equipment. If you are particularly interested in the geothermal energy of the territory, you can also visit the geothermal power plant Pianacce some kilometres outside the village (ask information at the museum).
Opening hours of the Energy Museum:
May - 15th October: from 10am to 1pm and from 3pm to 6pm. Closed on Tuesday.
16th October - 30the April: Mon-Tue-Fri from 10 am to 12am, Sat-Sun from from 10 am to 12am and from 3pm to 5pm, Thu from 4pm to 8 pm. Closed on Tuesday.
The ticket costs € 2.