Northern Tuscany, Lucca and photography
Being based in Bagni di Lucca, we were ideally placed to explore other towns and villages in Northern Tuscany, particularly those in the Lucca region, the Garfagnana and the Lunigiana. Some of them we would read about and go explore, others we would see perched on the precipice of neighbouring hillsides and go off searching for.
Tuscany is renown for its big hitters – Florence, Pisa, Sienna et al – and rightly so, but the hundreds of other ancient, smaller medieval settlements are equally impressive on their own scale.
Barga, the main town in the Serchio Valley, a mountain commune which was independent until 1341. Now it has an Scottish connection and an annual fish and chips festival to celebrate the relationship, how odd!
Lucca should actually be considered one of the big hitters, a guaranteed starter in the “must see” sections of all Tuscan guide books. The city is surrounded by enormous Renaissence walls (built to keep the Florentines at bay, but never called into actually called into action) and pin-pricked with aspirational medieval towers (built by competing factions within the city), so there are loads of great vantage points for photography and simply admiring the view.
The province of Lucca was reputedly very rich from its olive oil production. We stopped at the Fattoria di Fubbiano to buy wine and some of the best olive oil I have ever tasted, right in the shadow of San Gennaro.
We kind of picked this village at random, up a long winding mountain road, a dead end. There was not much up there except this village that time seemed to have forgotten, with pleasant inquisitive locals and a ghostly church tower, ringing its bell across the valley.
Borgo a Mazzano´s so-called “Devil Bridge” – a “must see” if you are in Tuscany!
In Casoli our time in the valley was coming to the end. We stopped, soaked up yet another wonderful view and ate some of the best antipasta I have ever had.