Thanks to Suzanna, Dome and Farah we have a beautiful nativity scene in the old kiosk in the piazza at Ponte a Serraglio.
I’m back at Ponte a Serraglio for a while. The stormy weather continues. Today was a mixture of rain, hail, thunder, bits of blue sky…and repeat.
I like the leaves on the footpath.
I have walked past this many times, but not really noticed how lovely it is.
I don’t mind a bit of wet weather and the occasional storm, but this weather has been frightening. I am surprised there is not more damage after these ferocious storms.
When we can travel again…Lago di Gramolazzo is about a 1 hour drive from Bagni di Lucca. It is a beautiful spot for a picnic and swimming…if you don’t mind cold water. I drove there via Piazza al Serchio. My GPS actually sent me to the wrong place, past the lake to a pretty walking track.
The mountains in this area are spectacular. I didn’t mind the detour.
The walking path is in the valley of the Orto di Donna – Val Serenia, an ancient glacial valley created about 10,000 years ago. The path starts near the car park at an altitude of 1068 metres above sea level. It is an easy walk, only 500 metres long. All along the path there are wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.
On the way back I could see the lake from the road.
The lake was very quiet the day I visited. None of the nearby restaurants or cafes were open, but I could see that it be a popular place in summer.
There are hundreds of places to visit within and hour or 2 of Bagni di Lucca.
Autumn is a beautiful time to drive to Montefegatesi,the highest of the Bagni di Lucca villages. The mountain road is lined with trees in full autumn colour right now.
Autumn is a great time to walk on the stunning wall that surrounds Lucca. The trees are losing their leaves quickly now. Soon the trees will be bare. Come for a walk…
This lovely old tree just outside the wall looks as though it is set for removal. It has been fenced off perhaps because there is a danger of falling branches.
I love walking through the tunnels and up the stairs onto the wall.
I was lucky to be there on a glorious autumn day.
Walking on the Lucca wall is wonderful in any season. Best of all Lucca is just 30 minutes from Bagni di Lucca.
Fornovolasco is a tiny village in the comune of Fabbriche di Vergemoli in the province of Lucca. It is one of many villages in the Garfagnana to be explored. It is 480 metres above sea level and has a population of fewer than 100people.
Two streams join in the village.
I crossed just past where they meet via a pretty bridge.
There is a delightful piazza on the other side of the bridge.
Several narrow streets take you through the village.
Across another bridge the streets climb steeply upwards.
Gardens are squeezed into small places.
I found a renovator’s delight waiting for a new roof.
The church was not open.
Back down the hill…
I found a tunnel leading to another group of houses.
The village restaurant, Rifugio la Buca, looks a bit like a Swiss chalet. It was not open the day I was there.
I walked back along the river to my car.
Every single village is different…there is always something interesting to see. Just past Fornovolasco you will find the Grotta del Vento.
Le Torre is an agriturismo above Fornoli. It looks wonderful in its lofty position and features in many photos.
There is accommodation at Le Torre…and a restaurant. We visited in late summer, just before the weather turned cool. There is a lovely terrace outside and great views.
The star of the show here is the antipasti. Be careful not to eat too much, as we did.
You need to leave room for the next course. The photos are a bit blurry, the light was fading.
I can’t show you dessert. We could not manage another course.
i look forward to a cosy dinner inside during winter.
I have now been in Italy for 8 months and because of flight cancellations and other Covid related issues it looks like I will be here for another 8 months, which gives me lots of time to explore.
The wonderful nearby region of Garfagnana is full of picturesque villages to explore. On a (rare) recent fine day I drove up to Lupinaia. The narrow turnoff to Fosciandora and Lupinaia is on the right, just before Castelnuovo when driving from Bagni di Lucca. I have been there before when I visited for the excellent chestnut festival, which won’t be happening this year.
I parked the car outside the village and walked up. The views across the Serchio valley are spectacular.
Lupinaia is ancient. It has been mentioned in manuscripts from the mid 700s. It is a tiny village…come for a walk with me.
A narrow street leads from the small piazza at the entrance of the village.
I passed a well designed wood stack, some red berries on a tree and a pretty garden.
I walked on towards the lovely green space where the people who live here can enjoy some gorgeous open space, with great views over the village.
I walked back and walked up the hill towards the church.
The church of San Pietro dates from 754AD and is mentioned in many medieval documents. There are treasures inside, but it was not open so I can’t take you in.
From the top, in front of the church the gorgeous valley can be seen below.
Along the way through Lupinaia I spotted some wonderful old doors. I am always curious about what is behind them.
There are several pretty decorations dotted through the village.
I don’t know how many people live in Lupinaia, but it is well cared for and obviously loved by those who do.
On the way down the mountain I saw another village…and more views, to be explored on another day.
Here is the post I wrote about the chestnut festival in Lupinaia. It is one of the best in the area.http://bagnidilucca.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/roasting-chestnuts-in-Lupinaia
I enjoyed looking back on the post. It was great to see Lupinaia full of people enjoying the chestnut festival on a gorgeous autumn day. I can’t believe it was 9 years ago. I miss these wonderful local festivals.