Wings drying in the sun

If you look closely at this photo you will see 2 birds standing on the wall in the river at Ponte a Serraglio.

Ponte a Serraglio

One is a cormorant (I think. I am happy to be corrected)  The black bird was drying his wings in the sun. He wasn’t there long before he flew off, no doubt looking for lunch.

Ponte a Serraglio

Ponte a Serraglio

Ponte a Serraglio

Ponte a Serraglio

It always surprises me to see seagulls on our river, but I suppose it is not all that far as the crow (or seagull) flies from the sea.

Green buds are beginning to appear on the trees. Spring is underway.

Ponte a Serraglio

The sun is shining, but there is a fierce wind blowing.

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.

 

Amazing Lucca

It is always great to hear about young Italians starting a business. It can be very difficult to get a new enterprise up and running in Italy.

I was delighted to meet Federica, who, along with her husband, has set up an adventure tour business in Lucca called Amazing Lucca.

Federica Amazing Lucca

As I walked with Federica she told me of their love and passion for the area and their desire to introduce people to a side of Italy they might not otherwise enjoy. With a minimum of 2 people and no more than 12, they will guide you through Renaissance villas, medieval churches, stunning countryside, vineyards and glorious mountains.

On foot, or on a mountain bike you can discover secret places off the beaten track with people who know the area. Meet locals and taste the produce of this incredible land. Trudge or ride up rugged mountains and find hidden streams, enjoy enchanted forests and breathtaking landscapes. Federica and Alessandro will guide to to spectacular places.

Alessandro is the mountain bike guide and Federica is the nature and walking guide. Even if you live in the area this would be fun, but what a great way to introduce your visiting friends to the area.

The tours are graded from easy to demanding, meaning there is something to suit everyone.

Take a look at their excellent website. It is in Italian and English.

http://www.amazing-Lucca.com

Via Del Campaccio, Lucca.

info@amazing-lucca.com

Federica…(39) 338 7901829

Alessandro…(39) 340 2798654

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.

Grotta del Vento

The Grotta del Vento, wind cave, is a cave in a mountain in Garfagnana, an area in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany. It is near the towns of Fornovalasco and Vergemoli. (About 35 minutes from Bagni di Lucca) The cave has 2 entrances, one at 642 metres above sea level and another on the other side of the mountain at 1400 metres.

It is a wind cave because air is able to blow through the cave from one entrance to the other. The direction of the wind depends on the temperature outside the cave. In summer, when the air outside is warmer, the air is drawn through the higher entrance and out of the lower entrance. In winter the reverse happens and the air flows upwards. If the temperature outside is the same as inside there is no wind. The temperature inside the cave stays at around 10.7degrees C all year. A heavy door has now been installed to stop the flow of air, but you can certainly feel it once the door is open.

The cave is open for visitors. There are 3 guided tours available. The first is the one I did. It takes about 1 hour and explores the part of the cave lined with limestone formations. Fascinating stalactites and stalagmites glisten as you walk along the narrow path which takes you deep into the cave.

The entrance.
Grotta del Vento

Grotta del Vento

Grotta del Vento

Just for fun a large skeleton of a bear has been installed near the entrance.

Grotta del Vento

Grotta del Vento

Grotta del Vento

Soon the door is opened and we enter the cave.

The narrow paths are lit and you can see the stalactites and stalagmites and pools of water. There are steps occasionally, but it is not too strenuous and there are hand rails for safety.

Grotta del Vento

Grotta del Vento

Grotta del Vento

You can see some tiny ones beginning to form. It would be necessary to come back in a few hundred years to see much of a difference. Most take about 1000 years to grow 10 centimetres.

Grotta del Vento

At one point the guide turns off the lights so that you can experience total darkness. It is quite an eerie feeling.

The second tour takes 2 hours and a descent is made into an area without limestone formations but interesting forms of erosion on the walls. The third one takes 3 hours in a vertical shaft which is climbed from the bottom to reach a final chamber at the top, followed by a short underground tunnel.

The cave was first discovered in 1989 by children exploring the area. The only one small enough to climb through the entrance was a 4 year old girl. The others opened the entrance a little, but were too frightened to go further than 20 metres into the cave.

The first expedition for research purposes was organised in 1929 by the Florentine Speleogical Grouo of the Italian Alpine Club which stopped at about 60 metres from the entrance by water.

The Bolognese Speleoligical Group got further in 1961 after a prolonged dry spell. Other expeditions followed until 1975 when the explorations extended to 2470 metres and the cave was opened to tourists. Now there are 4 galleries known with at least another 20 branches to be explored.

The guided tours are well organised and the guides are very knowledgeable. There is a shop and a restaurant nearby, so it would be easy to spend several hours here.

See more on the Grotta del Vento website…grottadelvento.com