We'd done three days in Florence, a day split between Siena and San Gimignano, and an afternoon in the Chianti hills where we were staying. All very splendid and you have to do them. But then we dived into into the wilder, high green hills and hairpin bends of the Casentino region, via Regello, Vallombrosa and a detour to the top of Monte Secchieta. Of this a cycling website wrote " Monte Secchieta, with its highest point at 1421 m and a climb of 34.89 km is a race bike friendly route." Only if your name is Bradley Wiggins, I fear. We drove. But I digress. Carry on to Poppi - the place is not as twee as the name suggests, so don't think you are in a tourist trap. High up, views, arcaded main street, terrace - and the castle.
Okay, they say the trip up to the top of the castle's tower is not for those with vertigo, so i sent husband up there to admire the panoramic views of the Casentino and beyond. You can roam all over this perfect little castle with its decorated rooms, and excellent animated diorama of the battle of Campaldino. There is a small guide in English to help you. A lot of work has been done to renovate the castle and there has also been a big project by schoolchildren and others to connect with their own past, one that modern globalisation has rendered alien. We didn't have time to see everything, and my Italian isn't very strong when it comes to listening an speaking so I would not have appreciated some of the audio material.
Outside the castle is an open area with a cafe/bar where we stopped for a coffee and a pastry. Here the local teenagers had gathered in numbers, but no bellies hanging out, no muffin tops bulging, no arms covered in tattooes, no drunkenness or sullen pouting. They sat laughing and drinking coffee or beer and taking photos of themselved, and they just looked happy, friendly and relaxed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.