We have had mixed weather for the last few days. Today was glorious with blue sky and light wind, but there has been heavy rain, fierce wind, hail and snow on the mountains.
I took this photo of the wonderful Ponte della Maddelena through the windscreen of the car. (I wasn’t driving).
It is a pity there isn’t a footpath on the road near the bridge. It could be done. A small foot path could be built beside the road, over the river. It would make a great viewing platform. I tried walking along the road once…never again!
Here are a few photos I have taken of the fabulous bridge over the years.
I took the photos below years ago with my first digital camera. It must have been 2004. The conditions were perfect.
Whatever the season the bridge looks great.
The bridge was decorated for the 150th anniversary if the unification of Italy.
The bridge always looks stunning. Fortunately it never changes…everything around it does.
We all love Italian food, but sometimes it is good to eat something else. Who doesn’t love a good hamburger? Eataly has opened a “Hamburgheria” in Via Fillungo in Lucca, and the hamburgers are great. You can have your burger cooked to your liking, rare, medium or well done, the bun is good and it is all well presented. (The chips could be better)
As you would expect from Eataly the cafe is very stylish.
They also have pastries and desserts…to be tried on another visit.
This is well worth a trip to Lucca.
Eataly…91A Via Fillungo, Lucca. It is in a courtyard off Via Fillungo, so you might need to look carefully to find it.
The translation of I Macelli is The Slaughterhouses. I am guessing that the site of this excellent restaurant was once an abattoir. The bright yellow building sits beside a little stream behind the main commercial area of Borgo a Mozzano, the village near the Ponte della Maddalena.
The restaurant is one of our favourite places to dine, with good reason. The food is very good, the setting pleasant and the service is friendly and efficient.
To get there, drive down the one way street in the centre of Borgo a Mozzano and turn left at the sign for the restaurant.
I look forward to many delicious meals at I Macelli when I return to Bagni di Lucca very soon.
After I left Pieve Fosciana I drove a little further on to Castiglione di Garfagnana which sits at 545 metres above the Esarulo River, a tributary of the Serchio River.
The town dates back to a Roman Castra, called Castrum Leonis (Lion’s Castle), built to oversee the valley that leads to the San Pelligrino Pass. The castle was built between1170 and 1227. It became Lucca’s most important garrison in the Serchio valley. In 1390 the “Rocca” or castle was extended and towers were built.
Some of the Rocca remains and you can walk through the narrow streets of the town to the top.
I entered the town through the Porta del Ponte Levatoio. It was mid afternoon and the town was deserted, leaving me to wander alone.
I went up into the old castle for some gorgeous views over the town.
Coming down from the top I came across the Church of San Pietro which was built in 723 by 2 Lombard brothers, but was rebuilt in the 12th century by Bishop Guido of Lucca.
I walked on through the pretty streets as it began to rain.
I will return when the town is a bit busier, I am sure there is more to discover.
Bagni di Lucca is on the edge of the Garfagnana. The area lies between the Apennine and Apuan Alps in the upper valley of the Serchio river. It is almost entirely mountainous and heavily wooded.
It is also dotted with pretty villages, which will take years to discover. I recently visited Pieve Fosciana. It is tiny, with a cluster of houses around the church of St John Battista, one of the most ancient in Garfagnana.
Come for a little walk through Pieve Fosciana…
There are lots of narrow cobble stone laneways and pretty gardens, the usual interesting doorways and building decorations.
I was impressed with this house in particular. The residents have gone to some trouble with the facade.
The main reason for my visit to Pieve Fosciana was to try restaurant Il Pozzo. I have heard it is one of the best in Garfagnana.
They have an indoor dining area and a very big terrace. I was the first there for lunch, but it soon filled up, mostly with local workers. You know a restaurant is good when the locals arrive in number.
I ordered the pasta with lobster.
Followed by guinea fowl with truffles…they were both excellent.
The service was very friendly and I could see that most of the other patrons were regulars. They also do a workmans’ lunch for a set price…I will try that next time.
If you can drag yourself away from the very good restaurants in Bagni di Lucca, try Il Pozzo, I’m sure you will like it.
If you are looking for antiques, or interesting old things for your home, garden or wardrobe head off to Lucca on the third weekend of each month for the Antique Market.
The vendors are spread over the streets surrounding Piazza San Giusto, Piazza Antelminelli, San Giovanni and more. There are around 230 vendors in the second oldest market in Italy you can find all kinds of treasures.
Quite a few great things have found their way to my house from the Antique Market.