By Steve Siciliano
Loro Ciuffenna is a small town tucked in the southern foothills of the Pratomagno, a range of medium-sized mountains located in the northeast region of Tuscany. The town was built up along the sides of a deep gorge and, if you’re brave enough, you can cautiously shuffle up to the waist-high railing of an ancient stone bridge just off the central piazza and gaze far down below at a tumbling mountain stream. Among the stone buildings that rise up along the steep cliffs is a water-powered mill dating from the 13th century, and just downstream from the mill is the small hotel called Casa Eugenia where Barb and I stayed during our six days in Tuscany.
Many Tuscan hill towns are surrounded by immense stone walls that were erected as protection from invasions during the middle ages. If you’re traveling in Tuscany by car, you park in lots outside those walls and walk up to the towns on steep, narrow, stone paved roads called vicolo (little streets). There are no walls surrounding Loro Ciuffenna—apparently it wasn’t strategic enough to be worth invading. But, as in most Tuscan towns, unless you live there or work there, you are not permitted to drive on the streets. After parking our rental car, Barb and I rolled our suitcases up and down the vicoli looking for Casa Eugenia.