Festa della Zucca

Autumn is a time for festivals in our area. Many villages celebrate the season with festivals honouring the local produce. I recently attended the Festa della Zucca (pumpkin festival) in Piegaia, not far from Bagni di Lucca.

Festa della ZuccaThere were lots of people there enjoying the many stalls selling interesting things to do with pumpkins and other delights.

Festa della zucca

There were pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.

Delicious food was available. We chose penne with pumpkin and creme brûlée with pumpkin.

Festa della zucca

Festa della zucca

Festa della zucca

It is great to see these festival well attended by people of all ages. Everyone joins in and has a great time. I went with Heather from Sapori e Saperi. She knows all the best places to go.

 

 

Come to the chestnut festival at Ponte a Serraglio

The annual chestnut festival is to be held at Ponte a Serraglio in the park beside Villa Fiori on Sunday 19th October.

Chestnut festival Ponte

Here are some photos from past events. There will be chestnuts roasting, necci to eat, activities for the children and things to buy.

Chestnut festival Ponte

Chestnut festival Ponte

Chestnut festival Ponte

Chestnut festival Ponte

Chestnut festival Ponte

If the weather is bad it will be held the following Sunday.

Cembroni

Cembroni is a little hamlet that is part of San Cassiano. Take the road from La Villa and follow the signs for San Cassiano. Just before the town you will see the sign for Cembroni on the left.

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The drive up along the tree lined roads is quite lovely.

Cembroni is tiny. There is a little tangle of narrow steeets, stone houses, leafy lanes and gardens.

On a quiet sunny day I met some lazy kitty cats.

Instead of the usual green doors, I found mostly brown ones. I did manage to track down a couple of green ones.

The last flowers and fruits of summer put on a fine show.

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I was most impressed by the collection of chimneys and roof tiles.

I would like to take this old railing home and install it on my balcony.

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Of course the views from Cembroni are excellent.

Just a handful of families live permanently now in the village. In summer the population swells when ex-residents return to enjoy the peace and quiet in the summer sun. If you are seeking a tranquil refuge from the world, perhaps you should head to Cembroni.

 

 

 

Eat well at Trattoria Bonini

Trattoria Bonini  is to be found along the old pilgrim road to Castelnuovo at Monteperpoli. The place has been in the same family for a very long time, and it became their main activity from the 1950s.

Trattoria Bonini

The interior is very charming and there are shady outdoor tables.

Trattoria Bonini

Trattoria Bonini

Bonini is well known for its good food, especially mushrooms gathered in the area. In the 1990s the family decided to upgrade the restaurant and have sought to provide quality meals using the best produce. They do an excellent workmans’ lunch, but I really like their A la Carte Menu.

I have been a couple of times, and intend to return to work my way through the menu.

My primo piatto of anchovies was delicious…served with buttered bread and sweet peppers.

Trattoria Bonini

On another visit I had the porcini mushrooms with fried polenta.

Trattoria Bonini

The trout with pistachio sauce and fried asparagus was excellent.

Trattoria Bonini

I had seen the ravioli stuffed with burrata on a previous visit, so I had to try that. The photo was taken outside under a coloured umbrella, which has reflected on the ravioli, giving it an unnatural colour. I can assure you, it was heavenly and may become a regular choice.

Trattoria Bonini

My ricotta and pear tart was light and delicate…and absolutely wonderful.

Trattoria Bonini

Trattoria Bonini has been voted the best restaurant in the area by many and I am not surprised.

Trattoria Bonini,

Via Monteperpoli 147.

Phone (39) 0583 639425

www.trattoriabonini.it

Finally, a clean up

The Ponte della Maddalena is the most recognisable structure in our area. It is a 900 year old treasure.

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It is possible to see in this photo some of the build up of debris on the buttresses of the  bridge. We have had lots of rain over the last 12 months and the river has been carrying lots of rubbish along with it and quite a bit has gathered around the base of the bridge.

Finally, the clean up has begun. The river has been diverted and the tree branches and other bits and pieces are being removed.

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It is good to see the Ponte della Maddalena being looked after. I never tire of looking at this amazing bridge every time I pass. I often stop and walk across and enjoy the view from the top as well. Let’s hope it is here for another 900 years.

Francis has written about the clean up too on his blog. Click here to see his report.

Crazy weather

Summer in Bagni di Lucca has been unusually cool and wet. The crazy weather continues. One day it is warm and sunny.

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The river is calm and low.

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Then we get driving rain and storms and the river turns into a raging torrent, much more likely in winter.

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There was a huge hail storm in Florence the other day that left the streets looking as though they were covered with snow…crazy stuff.

What will autumn and winter bring?

Crasciana Alta

I recently visited the lovely village of Crasciana. Some friendly locals told me that I must visit Crasciana Alta, the upper area of the village. I didn’t have time that day, but a few days ago I returned and took a walk through this beautiful villlage.

Crasciana Alta is a short drive ( about 3 kilometres) up hill from Crasciana. Take the road to the left just before you enter Crasciana.

You will come to a fork in the road.

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I would suggest parking nearby and taking the time to look through the pretty cemetery here. The entrance is through the gate beside the little chapel.

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Take the road to the right of the cross to enter Crasciana Alta. There is a little square right at the entrance to the village, with a pretty sculpture and view.

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The village is on the side of a mountain, the streets are steep and narrow. They branch off in all directions…take them all.

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There are lots of interesting details to be found.

The last of the summer flowers put on a display for me.

As usual the church has nabbed one of the best positions in town…high above the village.

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Behind the church is another small cemetery.

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There is also a lovely open area offering excellent views.

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20140915-032651.jpgThere is a pretty path down from the top.

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Look back towards the campanile.

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I came upon a group of gentlemen having a chat in the piazza who told me I should leave Ponte a Serraglio immediately and move to Crasciana Alta. Funnily enough, most of the people I meet in the mountain villages say the same thing. They say it is more tranquil, the air is better and life is good. I love the fact that they are proud of their little parts of the world and I can understand why they are so happy there.

On the way down the mountain I stopped for one more look at Crasciana Alta.

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If you visit Bagni di Lucca take the time to see the mountain villages…you won’t be sorry.