Well done Montefegatesi

The popular bar in Montefegatesi closed a while ago. This situation is never good for a village. Without a place to gather for a coffee and a chat the heart of a village can die.

The residents took matters into their own hands and opened one themselves.

It is just off the square near the entrance to Montefegatesi. Look for the sign in green…Circolo with an arrow.

It is opposite the pretty church and off to the right.

There is a terrace with a spectacular view.

Just in case you are looking for a bit of real estate in the village I spotted this great looking building near the bar.


The bar is closed Monday afternoons. Unfortunately that is the time I chose to visit so I can’t show you inside.

 

Verrucole, a fortress on a hill

The magnificent Fortezza delle Verrucole sits 600 metres above sea level above the village of Verrucole. It is 3 kilometres from the town of San Romano in Garfagnana. The fortress offers spectacular views over the Garfagnana valley and the Apuan Alps.

The fortress was built by the Gherardinghi family in feuding times around the 11th and 12th centuries. It was originally 2 buildings, Rocca Quadra and Rocca Tondo on each side of a hill and surrounded by a wall. It fell into serious disrepair until a 6 year restoration brought it back to life and open to the public. It is a wonderful glimpse into medieval life.

We visited on a cloudy spring day and walked up the path from the village.

There is a quaint ticket office at the entrance. A costumed attendant sold us our €5 tickets.

We walked up the steep steps to the tower, which had been very well restored. The first floor has been set up as if the original residents were still there.

The kitchen is particularly well done.

The top floor of the tower has information and history and great views from the outside terrace.

The toilet built into the outer wall might leave you a little exposed in winter.

We ventured to the other end of the site. There is a very good cafe that serves coffee and light meals.

We were able to have a little archery practice for the tiny sum of €3. Our friend Moira proved to be a natural and hit the target almost every time.

Jim tried too, but probably should keep his day job as an accountant. I am useless at things like this, so I was happy to watch.

We walked back through the village past an old church to the car park below…a last look at the Fortezza.

Fortezza delle Verrucole is very well presented and an interesting place to spend a couple of hours. The drive up to Verrucole is through gorgeous scenery. It is an easy day trip from Bagni di Lucca.

http://fortezzaverrucolearcheopark.it

San Cassiano walking path

On Saturday the Alta Via dei Pastori was opened. The walking path takes you from San Cassiano to Monte Prato Fiorito.

The mayor officially opened the path.

Aldo Lanini from Pegaso Trekking was the initiator and the one who brought together a group of people to organise the project.

San Cassiano di Controni was once the most populated of the Bagni di Lucca villages. It is the largest in area with several hamlets.

The information board tells the story.

This is a wonderful initiative. There are dozens of old mule trails between the villages of Bagni di Lucca. It is the perfect way to see this gorgeous area. I’m sure this new path will be put to good use.

Thank you Agostino for being there and taking the photos to share.

Lucca cathedral renewed

The impressive San Martino cathedral in Lucca has had its facade cleaned recently. On my last visit it was covered in scaffolding. I was happy to see it uncovered and looking wonderful.

San Martino Lucca

The church was begun around 1070 and has had many additions over the centuries. The facade was started in 1204. There are 3 magnificent arches with open galleries above adorned with sculptures.

San Martino Lucca

San Martino Lucca

San Martino Lucca

There is a legend to explain why the columns on the facade are different. When the residents of Lucca wanted to decorate the facade they began a competition and invited artists to create a column. Many artists created columns and the residents decided not to select a winner but used all the columns and didn’t pay the artists.

The labrynth embedded in the right pier of the portico is believed to date from the 12th or 13th century.

San Martino Lucca

The original of the sculpture of San Martino, who was a knight on horseback, dates from 1233 and is inside the cathedral. The one on the facade is a copy.

San Martino Lucca

I’ll take you inside in another post.

 

2018 in Bagni di Lucca

Looking back on 2018

January. 

Bar Italia has a party to celebrate its renovation. Congratulations to Annalise and her crew for a job well done.

Bar Italia

February. 

Winter at Montefegatesi.

Montefegatesi

March

The chestnut forest on the way to Orrido di Botri in winter.

Chestnut forest

April.

Spring appears quickly.

Tiglio

The wonderful new fruit and vegetable shop opened in Ponte a Serraglio.

Fruit shop Ponte a Serraglio

May.

Frassino trees put on a spectacular show for a few weeks.

Frassino

June. Geraniums thrived at Ponte a Serraglio.

Geraniums Ponte a Serraglio

July.

The stunning pool reopened in La Villa after extensive renovations.

New pool Bagni di Lucca

August.

People gather at Villa Web to celebrate the poet Shelley.

Villa Web

September.

Chestnuts begin to ripen.

Chestnut time

October.

The leaves begin to change colour.

Autumn

November.

Golden autumn.

Autumn

December.

Christmas at Ponte a Serraglio.

Christmas Ponte a Serraglio

I look forward to a brand new year in bella Bagni di Lucca.

Topo Gigio

On the road from Bagni di Lucca to Abetone at Fabbriche di Casabascana you will find Trattoria Bar Topo Gigio.

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio

I had heard it was a fun place to stop for coffee or lunch so with some friends I decided to try it.

The tables were all full, but fortunately somebody left as we arrived and we found a spot. It is always a good sign when a place is packed at lunch time.

The service is brisk and friendly and soon our lunch arrived.

Topo Gigio

We ordered ravioli with the Gigio sauce, which is deliciously spicy.

Topo Gigio

The gnocchi came with the same sauce, but there were several other we could have tried.

Topo Gigio

We all ordered the Milanese with a side order of salad and chips…all good.

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio is a fun place to stop…I will return.

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio

Str. del’Abetone e del Brennero 25 – 27

Fabbriche di Gallicano

347 08035582