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wrenwood Aug 25th, 2012 03:32 PM

Garfagnana????????
 
Where do you think we should spend more time on the way from Lucca to Imperia? Barga or Castelnuovo di Garfagnana? We'll probably stop at both, but I don't want to run out of time as we will need to be in Imperia by 5:00 at the latest (leaving from Lucca)

bobthenavigator Aug 25th, 2012 06:03 PM

That route takes over some small mountain roads---are you sure you want that?

wrenwood Aug 26th, 2012 04:18 AM

Yes, we have driven mountain roads several times in Italy and Switzerland before, so I'm not concerned about that.

I'm just trying to figure out how much time to allocate to each (or one of them) as we probably only have about 4 hours to spend somewhere along the way.

We love mountainous areas, and I decided that since we will be in Imperia for 3 nights, that we might prefer this to stopping somewhere along the CT (which could be another vacation in it's self!)

bobthenavigator Aug 26th, 2012 05:08 AM

OK.
Castelnouva is the larger town and has some places of interest. I would give Barga about an hour. I hope you have good weather as the views can be wonderful.

i_am_kane Aug 26th, 2012 06:39 AM

If you will be following the Serchio River, near the village of Borgo a Mozzano (I think), there is the asymmetrical bridge Ponte della Maddalena, better known as the Ponte del Diavolo "Bridge of the Devil." There is a folklore that you can read about.

Good photo op - even in a misty or light rain.

wrenwood Aug 26th, 2012 09:50 AM

i_am_kane ~ THANKS, we will stop there on the way. I'm glad you mentioned it as for some reason I thought the bridge was in Barga or Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

Bob, have you been to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana? If so can you give me your priorites for a quick visit?

Can anyone tell me how to pronounce Garfagnana? :o

bobthenavigator Aug 26th, 2012 11:59 AM

Yes we have--spent half a day and one nite. My wife got her choice and we did some silver shopping.

I have a great shot of the Devils Bridgeif you are curious.

That nite we had dinner with a large group of locals that were having a big time. I asked the hotel man about the group, and he was hesitant at first but finally admitted it was the semi-annual meeting for a local political party----the Communist Party.

immimi Aug 26th, 2012 12:25 PM

We spent a wet week at an agriturismo outside of Barga; we're
used to driving on mountainous roads but the narrow one lane
roads that connect the smaller villages were quite
intimidating - esp. at night with no street-lighting plus
the local Italian drivers.

We enjoyed Barga with its Scottish connections and its
amazing views. Great porcini area too.

bobthenavigator Aug 26th, 2012 03:27 PM

And, I am not much of a linguist, but here is a rough try:

Gar-FON-ya

wrenwood Aug 26th, 2012 04:22 PM

That sounds a lot better than Gar-FAG-nana!

i_am_kane Aug 27th, 2012 06:51 AM

wrenwood, you might want to hear Garfagnana spoken by an Italian on www.forvo.com. I find this website very helpful.

i_am_kane Aug 27th, 2012 08:05 AM

wrenwood, I found my notes from 2009, which indicates travel from the south. Borgo a Mozzano - On leaving Lucca, the first town tht calls to the visitor is Borgo a Mozzano, famous for its little hogback bridge. Local legend tells us that the Devil was willing to construct the bridge for the villagers of Borgo a Mozzano, if they were willing to pledge to him the soul of the first being to cross the new bridge.

The bridge was built over the winding Serchio river one dark night, and the wily villagers sent a dog over it in the morning, managing to outsmart the Devil.

This is a captivating legend, but the real builder of the bridge was Matilda, a countess of the 11th C. Visitors can walk across the bridge and marvel at its severe and intriguing humped shape.

I haven't looked at this stuff since 2009. I have lots of notes about the Garfagnana - if would be helpful to you or anyone else.

i_am_kane Aug 27th, 2012 08:09 AM

I used this wonderful guide when we visited Lucca for four days. The gentlemen who wrote it, lived in the next town to me in Connecticut. It comes complete with a easy-to-read map. In 2009, I believe it cost $10.

http://www.lindquistguides.com/maps/

Holly_uncasdewar Aug 27th, 2012 09:06 AM

Gar-fin-YANa

wrenwood Aug 27th, 2012 12:12 PM

Kane what a great site! I always feel so silly when I can't even pronounce the name of a town, thanks!

Would love to read some of your notes about Borgo a Mozzano, Barga, and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. I think I'll pass on the guide for Lucca as we will only be there 2 evenings and 1 full day. It does look incredibly well done.

i_am_kane Aug 28th, 2012 01:06 PM

wrenwood, my computer lost all the notes on the Garfagnana, which were actually from 2008, not 2009.

So, I didn't want to disappoint you, and typed the entire document in this "Add a reply" box. Well, I hit the backspace key and was kicked out of this website. Arggh!

I will retype everything on a Word document and resubmit by tomorrow.

wrenwood Aug 28th, 2012 04:31 PM

:O Kane, I think you need an adult beverage!

Hope you can do it, thanks for all the effort!

i_am_kane Aug 28th, 2012 06:07 PM

My two glasses of wine helped me though the night! LOL!

i_am_kane Aug 30th, 2012 01:04 PM

wrenwood, Here you go,

Garfagnana and the Serchio Valley

1) The Garfagnana: The area of the Serchio valley, running north from Lucca to Bagni di Lucca, Barga, and onto Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, is known as The Garfagnana. This picturesque valley, meandering between the Apennine and Alpi Appuane mountain ranges, was a desperately poor homeland to the villagers o its lovely stone villages perched high on the hilltops of the surrounding mountains.

For years, the major source of income from this unrelenting land was chestnut flour from the groves of chestnut trees that still cover the steep hillsides. Many of the farmers and hunters of the Garfagnana emigrated to America and Australia to seek their fortunes, but the call of this wild and lovely land remained strong. A number of those that left kept the ownership of their fields and homes. A car trip through the area is the reason for this keen sense of place and ownership is abundantly clear. This land is too dramatically beautiful to dismiss from one’s memory.

2) Borgo a Mozzano - Traveling from the south On leaving Lucca, the first town that calls to the visitor is Borgo a Mozzano, famous for its little hogback bridge. Local legend tells us that the Devil was willing to construct the bridge for the villagers of Borgo a Mozzano, if they were willing to pledge to him the soul of the first being to cross the new bridge.

The bridge was built over the winding Serchio River one dark night, and the wily villagers sent a dog over it in the morning, managing to outsmart the Devil.

This is a captivating legend, but the real builder of the bridge was Matilda, a countess of the 11th C. Visitors can walk across the bridge and marvel at its severe and intriguing humped shape.

3) Bagni di Lucca – A drive along the Serchio leads visitors next to the collection of riverside hamlets that comprise the ancient spa town of Bagni di Lucca. The area once enjoyed a great deal of fashionable favor and was extremely popular for a remote spot in the early 1800s. Gambling was a favorite activity of visitors to Bagni di Lucca, and in 1837 the game of roulette was invented here.

The lovely villas of the prosperous patrons of the spa still stand and there are elegant private thermal establishments catering to summer visitors. There is a lovely riverside restaurant that was once the foreign visitors club and the town’s unusually bridge, the Ponte delle Catene is also of interest. This pretty town is best visited in the summer when all the tourist-related businesses are open, but a visit here is never without its charms.

4) Barga to Piazza al Serchio – The Garfagnana proper does not begin until the visitor reaches Fornoli, at the point where the Lima flows into the Serchio. At Coreglia Antelminelli, set high above the Serchio, there is a museum dedicated to the traditional plaster figures on the Garfagnana. The Museo della Figurina is open daily in the summer and everyday but Sunday in the winter.

5) Barga – Another lovely hilltown sits above its modern counterpart, Fornaci di Barga. Barga is famous for its ancient Cathedral, begun in the year 1000. The Cathedral perches on a terrace overlooking Barga’s rooftops and the surrounding hills that are streaked with white marble. The outside of the Cathedral is lavishly decorated and the interior is graced with an intricately carved pulpit as well as some important medieval works of art, including a polychromed statue of St. Christopher. Also worth a visit while in Barga at the Palazzo Pretorio, containing a small Museo Civico and the Loggetta del Podesta.

From Barga, it’s a short challenging drive to the town of Fornovolasco in the Alpi Apuane, where Tuscany’s most well-known cave, the Grotto del Vento, or Cave of the Winds is located. The cave is open daily for visitors.

6) Further along the valley, the visitor will encounter the unofficial capital of The Garfagnana: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. This lively town is guarded by the Rocca, a find example of 14th C. architecture and the command post of Ludovico Ariosto, the author of the famous Renaissance epic poem, Orlando Furioso. Side roads lead to Castiglione di Garfagnana and the romantic little town of Isola Santa, all but abandoned on the shores of its own tiny lake.

Further up the Serchio valley are the twin towns of Vagli di Sopra and Vagli di Santo, with stunning views of both valley and one another from many vantage points. At Piazza al Serchio, the northbound visit leaves both the Garfagnana and the Serchio behind.

wrenwood Sep 1st, 2012 05:17 AM

Kane ~ THANK YOU!

It is copied and pasted into my trip itinerary. I think we might want to stop in Bagni di Lucca also!


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