Ski at Abetone

Our trusty reporter Belinda has been out and about again, this time skiing at Abetone.

15. DSCN0289

I will hand you over to Belinda.

We decided to go skiing when we heard there had been a dump of snow at Abetone. The weather wasn’t the best but we headed off along the 40 kilometres of narrow and winding road up the mountain from Bagni di Lucca. Those who suffer from car sickness might like to take precautions.

Once you reach the Abetone main village car park you are about 1400 metres above sea level. At this parking spot you get yourself ready for the day.

Obligatory coffee shop…

ski at Abetone

Ski hire shop…

ski Abetone

Ski school, if you are looking for lessons…

3. SKi school Abetone

Information centre where you can get your ski pass for $26 per person for the entire day – quite a bargain really.

4. Ski pass and info  Abetone

A tabacchi and bar…if needed.

5. Tabacchi and bar Abetone

Then pack the car with your equipment and drive a further 2 minites to park close to the main gondola lift that takes you up to Mt Gomita. It is much easier to park right next to the lift so you only have to walk up a few stairs.

Ski lift Abetone

Take the time to check the ski runs.

6. Abetone Ski Map

We arrived at the top to find pretty bad weather…everything had frostbite.

ski Abetone

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7. Antique ski lift AbetoneDespite the weather we managed some good runs.

ski Abetone

ski Abetone

ski Abetone

ski Abetone

…followed by a stop at a Rifugio for a much deserved Bombardino, a very special hot drink to be enjoyed on the slopes. It contains cream, zabaglione, brandy and coffee…highly recommended.

17. Rifugio Abetone

16. bombardino at Abetone

If you were looking for somewhere to stay, Hotel Regina looks quaint.

18. Hotel Regina in Abetone

Thank you Belinda and friends for sharing you day of skiing at Abetone.

I have a tip to add to Belinda’s words. Don’t go to Abetone on weekends. It is very crowded and you probably won’t get anywhere near the carpark. On weekdays it is much better and you get the slopes pretty much to yourself.

 

 

 

Then and Now…Ponte a Serraglio

The name Ponte a Serraglio (bridge of harem or menagerie. I wonder what went on here in the distant past) is mentioned as “ad Serrajule” in a document for the first time in 838.

I can’t show you what it looked like then, but there are photos from the early 1900s.

Ponte a Serraglio

Ponte a SerraglioPonte a SerraglioPonte a Serraglio

Some of the buildings remain and look similar. Bar Italia and Il Monaco now take the place of the 2 cafes with tables and provide the focus for the piazza.

Ponte a Serraglio

This is the view of the piazza from my balcony.

Ponte a Serraglio

Ponte a Serraglio

The road to the piazza in Ponte a Serraglio looks quite different. The beautiful old plane trees which lined the river have gone.

Ponte a Serraglio

 

Ponte a Serraglio

New trees have been planted and are doing well, but it will be a long time before they are as grand as the old ones.

This photo is taken from the other side of the river, but you can see how the new trees are growing beside the river.

Ponte a Serraglio

The views from the bridge probably haven’t changed all that much.

Ponte a Serraglio

Ponte a Serraglio

We have a new walking bridge across the river.

Ponte a Serraglio

The lovely old towers beside Villa Fiori have been cleaned and look great.

Ponte a Serraglio

I think Ponte a Serraglio is one of the prettiest villages in Bagni di Lucca, but, of course, I am biased.

Ponte a Serraglio

 

Ponte a SerraglioMost of the new photos were taken in summer. I will be back in Ponte a Serraglio soon to enjoy some lovely cold winter weather. I am hoping for snow.

Food markets

The local food markets in Bagni di Lucca are great. You can buy wonderful local produce at reasonable prices.

Bagni Di Lucca markets

Bagni Di Lucca marketsBagni Di Lucca marketsBagni Di Lucca marketsBagni Di Lucca marketsBagni Di Lucca Markets

There is a good selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables and there is often a stand selling fresh fish and one selling roast chickens and other delights.

The markets are held every Wednesday and Saturday at La villa and Tuesday and Friday at Fornoli. They start at about 9.00am until 1.00pm.

This was my haul one day.

Bagni Di Lucca markets

Vizzata

Vizzata is one of the tiny hamlets that make up San Cassiano.

Vizzata

Rain clouds threatened to make their way across the mountain behind the village the afternoon I was there, but the rain held off long enough for me to have a look around.

Vizzata

I parked my car at the car park at the bottom of the village as I couldn’t see a road in. The little path into the centre was lined with pretty gardens and flower filled pots.

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata is very tiny. I don’t know how many people live there, but I suspect it is not many. There are some very interesting buildings, including a few renovators’ delights.

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

There were some very tired cats resting in quiet spots.

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata

Vizzata catVizzata catVizzata catAll of the mountain villages in Bagni di Lucca have beautiful views, and Vizzata is no exception.

Vizzata
Vizzata

Vizzata

Don’t miss Vizzata on your travels around Bagni di Lucca.

 

 

 

 

The mule trail from Ponte a Serraglio to Granaiola

The intrepid Belinda has been out walking the wintery hills. There are dozens of ancient mule trails between the villages. The one between Ponte a Serraglio and Granaiola has recently been cleaned up, so Belinda and some mates headed off to discover the trail on a sunny winter day.

The mule track to Granaiola

The terrain is not as beautiful as it is in spring, but winter has its charms.

mule trail from Ponte a Serraglio

Mule trail to Granaiola

mule trail to Granaiola

A very cute chapel appeared on the way.

mule trail to Granaiola

The group enjoyed a very good lunch (pecorino with honey, macaroni with salmon and red wine) at the Rifugio Fiori, a litte further on from Granaiola at Pieve Di Monti di Villa.

mule trail to Granaiola

mule track to Granaiola

They took the road back to Ponte a Serraglio, but there are several tracks down the mountain.

I will tackle this in spring and report further.

 

 

 

La Lanternina in Fornoli

La Lanternina is down a flight of stairs in a side street in Fornoli, so it can be easy to miss.

La Lanternina

That would be a mistake. The owner is very friendly and he serves delicious food.

La Lanternina

La Lanternina

There is a  a wood fired pizza oven. I will have to go back to try the pizza…or you could go and report back.

La Lanternina

Via Alcide De Gasperi, 28

Fornoli

0583 87529

 

About the blog

I recently received a comment on a post I wrote in 2013 about Arte Barsanti, a local company that still makes plaster of paris figurines in the same way as they have been made in the area for centuries.

The comment was made by a man from USA. He says that his father was born in Riolo and went to America as a 14 year old boy and worked for people who came from Bagni di Lucca making the figurines. He later founded his own business which his sons now operate.

I started the first blog, Bagni di Lucca and Beyond, to inform our friends who came to the village about where to go and what to see. It grew to include all my travels, so I started Bella Bagni di Lucca to share only stories and photos of the villages that make up Bagni di Lucca.

An unexpected and delightful thing about writing the blogs has been comments such as the one mentioned. It is quite amazing how many people around the world have a connection with Bagni di Lucca.

I have received dozens of comments on the blogs and emails from people who have told me that their grandparents lived in one of the houses I have photographed, or that they remember playing in a tiny street in one of the villages, or they have heard their families talk about Bagni di Lucca.

People have told me that they have come to Bagni di Lucca because of what I write about the villages. Some have liked the place so much that they have returned several times. Some have even gone on to buy property in the area.

Fellow Bagni di Lucca blogger, Francis of From London to Longoio, has just done a post along the same lines.

Writing a blog takes quite a bit of time, but it is all worthwhile when we receive these wonderful comments from people with an interest in Bagni di Lucca.

Thank you to all those who follow the blog and take the time to share thoughts.

 
Click here to see the post on Arte Barsanti.