Meeting the Mafia

San Gimignano

This is what I imagined Italy would be like – turn up in a beautiful square, play for a while, and earn enough for lunch, maybe even dinner.

It hasn’t been like that anywhere, yet.  But it would have worked out in San Gimignano, which has the most beautiful old square it’s possible to imagine, with a lovely open acoustic.  Except for the local Mafia.

I don’t know, of course, whether they were Mafia with a capital M, but he was quite clear – we are a local association, and we play here, and you cannot play here.

He said it in such a way that he had no doubt I would understand.

He was setting up his steel drums, and he kindly allowed me to play while he did so.  Then, of course, I moved.  He couldn’t chase me around town and play his steel drums at the same time.

I can see why you would protect such a spot – the tourists in San Gimignano are cultured and generous.  But it’s not a small place, and there are lots of tourists, so it wasn’t too much of a problem.  I earned enough for lunch and a good dinner.

Then Libre had a rest, while I strolled around town with an ice-cream, or maybe two.  Well, you couldn’t put the raspberry flavoured with rosemary in the same cone as the almond and saffron, could you?

I might even have slept after lunch, in the incomparably wonderful Palazzo Buonaccorsi when the temperature reached 35 again.  I planned the rest of the route.  Three and a half days to Rome, all being well.  De-mob happy.

8 thoughts on “Meeting the Mafia”

  1. Sandy Bradbrook

    Hi Kenneth,
    it is amazing that you are so close to the end. I shall miss reading your blogs. Averyl and I had a wonderful
    cycling holiday with INNTRAVEL some many years back. We started and finished in Siena but did take in San Gimignano, so we know the loveliness which you describe. We hope you have a following breeze down to Rome and that you still have that precious letter!
    Sandy

  2. The thing that really amazes me about this journey is how easy it has been: I have followed you all the way from the north of England to Italy, and I have not even been out of breath. No muscles aching…
    Where will the next journey be? I am looking forward to it!

    1. I don’t know how long it will take me to forget the difficulties of this journey, so whether there will be another…

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