Montefegatesi in the autumn sun

If you take the road to Montefegatesi that goes past Monti di Villa and keep your eyes peeled you will spot a perfect place to stop to get excellent views of this gorgeous village. I went with friends in November and was rewarded with this lovely sight.

Montefegatesi

Montefegatesi

Montefegatesi

Montefegatesi

Montefegatesi

 

Montefegatesi

Mintefegatesi

Montefegatesi

Every time I visit Montefegatesi I am reminded of the tenacity of the early settlers to these mountain villages. They must have been made of stern stuff.

 

Guest post by Belinda

Lovely Belinda, who is currently living at Ponte a Serraglio, has written a post for us about a walk she did in August with guides Franz Della Mea and Francesco Foschi. Francesco took the beautiful photos of the scenery along the way.

A long walk to Lago Nero…by Belinda

Luckily the August day we chose for our long walk to Lago Nero was not too hot. Our destination is quite high in the mountains so we had to be careful to dress appropriately, you can never be sure of the weather in the mountains and it can change suddenly.

Our journey began at the base of Prato Fiorito. I was promised a long walk and my guides certainly gave it to me. Our uphill walk lasted for 5 hours.

Lago Nero is close to Abetone and we passed gorgeous scenery along the way. Sometimes looking over the edge towards Orrido di Botri was a bit ‘hairy’.

Admiring the view

Admiring the view

The upward journey seemed endless at times, but we stopped often to take in the magnificent views and to eat our Mars bars for energy.

A standout tree

A standout tree

More stunning scenery

More stunning scenery

We finally reached Lago Nero. The lake definitely looks black…hence the name. We were very close to Abetone, in fact we could see the cable cars and ski run tracks.

Happily on a downhill bit towards the lake

Happily on a downhill bit towards the lake

The lake is small and at quite a high altitude, 1,730 metres elevation. It is in the Provence of Pistoia in northern Tuscany.

The lake comes into view

The lake comes into view

Beautiful Lago Nero

Beautiful Lago Nero

Guide number 3, Rino, cooling off in the lake

Guide number 3, Rino, cooling off in the lake

We really deserved our lunch at the rifugio where we dined on cheese, bread and red wine. These rifugios are dotted through the area and do a great job for a small donation.

After an hour rest we struggled to get our tired legs moving for the 4.5 hour return walk…the only way home.

On the way back to Prato Fiorito we took in different details of the landscape. For instance,the many variety of mushrooms and colours…and found it fun hunting down a bag full of the small bright yellow ones which are a flavoursome ingredient with the right pasta. We also noticed patches of ‘dug-up ground and rustled leaves, evidence of chingali, but luckily the wild boar were nowere to be seen in the daylight.

The 9.5 hour walk was a bit gruelling at times but fabulously rewarding. A return visit is in order for next summer.

There are lots of amazing walks in the mountains around Bagni di Lucca. I will tell you soon of some others I have done.

Crasciana

Crasciana is 799 metres above sea level and is about 12 kilometres from La Villa. The winding road to the village takes you through lovely forests. The chestnut forests close to Crasciana are particularly beautiful.

The name Crasciana comes from the Roman colonist Carsius. The town has a long history, beginning around 800 AD. At one time it had a large population and was important strategically in the years of fighting in the area.

It is delightfully sleepy now, a peaceful and beautiful place to visit. We drove up in late spring and the road was lined with wildflowers.

There are some fine old houses and decorations, narrow streets, and a collection of green doors.

A lovely little piazza in the centre of town makes a great place to gather for a chat.

The gardens are well cared for…there are flowers and vegetables growing all over the village.

As with all of the mountain villages, the views are spectacular, even on a hazy day.

We really enjoyed our walk through Crasciana and spoke to a few of the lucky locals who call it home. One resident pointed out that there is a Crasciana Alta…a good reason for another visit.

To reach Crasciana, take the turn off from the SS12 towards Casabasciana and follow the signs to Crasciana.

 

 

Our first snowfall

The weather has turned cold and there is a fierce wind blowing through the mountains. There have been some dramatic skies and we thought we could see a light dusting of snow on the distant mountains.

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As we got closer we could clearly see snow on the top of the mountains.

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I think it is beautiful. Perhaps it will snow again tonight. It seems cold enough.