Chestnut festival in Trassilico

It is chestnut season! Chestnuts are ripening on the trees and chestnut festivals pop up in villages in the area.

On Sunday I visited Trassilico for their annual chestnut festival. I have developed a taste for necci, chestnut pancakes. I like mine filled with ricotta, but you can aslo have them with nutella.

Trassilico is not far from Bagni di Lucca. Drive to Gallicano at the beginning of the Garfagnana and follow the signs. The road up to Trassilico is narrow and winding, so take care.

There are some stunning chestnut forest surrounding Trassilico.

 

The town is perched on the side of the mountain.

 

The festival takes place is the little piazza just inside the entrance to the town. Chestnuts were roasting and the aroma was delicious.

 

I wandered a little in this well kept town.

The Rifugio was doing a roaring trade.

Through the gaps between the houses I spotted views of Vergemoli and I could see our Casa Debbio just outside the village. It was a cloudy day, so the photo is not clear.

I love these local festivals. It is good the see the small villages come alive and fill with enthusiastic visitors.

An afternoon of parrots

I am happy to be back in Bagni di Lucca in lovely autumn. This afternoon I walked along the river in front of my apartment to the Villa Fiori park for a “Raduno dei pappagalli” …meeting of parrots.

 

 

 

 

The park has been lovely cleaned and looked after by a group of volunteers and it is a home for gnomes now.

This afternoon parrots were invited.

Australia was represented by a couple of sulphur crested cockatoos.

There were other parrots out for the afternoon.

There was a talk about parrots and a display by a shop with parrot accoutrements.

Of course there were refreshments.

It was a delightful afternoon which was well attended.

It is lovely to be back in Ponte a Serraglio.

Sunday events

What’s on this Sunday?

At 4.30pm newly renovated monuments will be revealed at the English cemetery. This will be followed at 6.15pm by music at the English church.

Call 335 58210840 for more information.

There will be a show of vintage cars from 9.00am – 11.00am at the Ponte Catene. A flea market will be held in Fornoli from 10.00am.

For information about the cars call 392 1402476 or 348 1465945

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.

Chestnut polenta

I have revisited Il Totto in Elio Sassi in nearby Garfagnana to enjoy their version of cucina povera again. The restaurant famously served chestnut polenta and ossi salati, which translates as salted bones.

Once most of the meat has been removed pork bones are soaked in brine for a few days then boiled.

Il Totto

There was a large table near us and their polenta was delivered on a board and cut using a special tool.

Il Totto

Il Totto

Il Totto

Il Totto

Il Totto

Il Totto

Il Totto

They serve other things as well. I had ravioli with ragu and fried chicken a rabbit…delicious.

It is a lovely drive up to Elio Sassi. The views are glorious from the village. I highly recommend a visit.