The country cottage is located in Ponte a Gaio approx. 700mt in the heart of the natural oasis“Orrido di Botri”,an impressive calcareous narrow valley with steep walls excavated by the rio Pelago. This canyon is a part of the spectacular Apennine mountain range landscape, characterised by the rocky environment and the marvellous woods prevalently beech and chestnut, in all dominated by the tip of the mountain range Rondinaio and Tre Potenze reaching 2000mt in height. Admission: tours depart from Ponte a Gaio, where you’ll find the CFS ticket office open from 1st June until 30th September and every weekend in the month of October, for info please call: 0583 800020. It is not permitted to climb the canyon during the remaining months of the year, in order to protect the environment. During the nesting period of the golden eagle) and also for the safety of day-trippers however it is possible to go trekking and to take advantage of the numerous CAI trails. Many activities are available in the area such as: canyoning, speleology (caving), mountain bike riding, mountain climbing etc. For all information please visit: www.apians.com. A race track is situated in the town of Tereglio (in the locality of Villa a Tereglio for info: www.centroippicomarica.it) and in Montefegatesi, only just a few km away you will find many amenities and services offered such as: a delicatessen, butchers, bar/café, post office, doctors surgery etc. We would like to advise however, that there is no cell phone coverage in this area and so in the case of an emergency, there is a landline available in the house opposite, and (200mt from the country cottage) a public phone inside the bar-restaurant “Il Nido Dell’Aquila” (for info: www.ilnidodell-aquila.com). The following location can be reached from the natural reserve: “Orrido di Botri”:
Situated at 842 mt above sea level, Montefegatesi is the highest area in the entire community. Only 16 kms from Bagni di Lucca and can be reached in two different ways: firstly departing from the town of Controneria: turn left at the Oratory of San Rocco, roughly 8 kms from the main town; the second route departs from Ponte a Serraglio, passing the towns of Granaiola, Pieve di Monti di Villa, Monti di Villa and then heading towards the church of Saint Anna (formerly known as Eremitorio di Foce Colonia). Montefegatesi appears to lie flat on a rocky spur. Its name seems to be derived from the colour of schist clay present in great quantities on the territory, yet others claim that it came from the word “mountain” in Italian: “Monte” that was erected on the torrent Fegana, changing the place-name Montefagatesi to Montefeganese. The History of Montefegatesi The name Montefegatesi recurs for the first time on vellum paper belonging to the Arch Bishop in the year 983 and again on another in 991: in the latter the Bishop of Lucca “Teudegrimo” maintains a stronghold on certain assets placed in Montefegatesi by the Viscount Fraolmo of the noble Corvaresi of Versilia. In 1245 the Emperor Federico II conceded in giving Montefegatesi to the people of Lucca to compensate for their loyalty and so again the concession was renewed in 1248: the inhabitants of the town had the same rights as the citizens of Lucca and benefited by all the advantages that came with this very concession. The important strategy of Montefegatasi was fundamental as much as a sentry duty owed by the Republic on the border of Modena. In 1449 Montefegatesi obtains the concession to separate from the Vicar Val di Lima by the Republic and was to be immune from the impositions: the inhabitants of this district had to refer to the Vicar of Coreglia, only for the administration of justice. The privileges given to the inhabitants of Montefegatesi were due to the geographical position of the town: an indispensable outpost in an eventual war against the Duke of Modena o the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1539 Montefegatesi was reunited with the Vicar of the Valley of Lima and maintaining their concessions and autonomy from which they gained. During the war between Lucca and Modena in 1613, the town was subject to fires and raids due to the extensive military presence. The town fought with its own Statutes until the suppression of Vicar, which came about in the year 1802. Two Statute registers were conserved, the first dated back from the 16th century and the second from the year 1740. The Parish Church is dedicated to the Bishop of Saint Frediano and its origins dating back from the 13th century. Many were recreated the most consistent of all dating back to 1771, which saw the extension of the church to its actual dimension today. The organ, which resides inside the church, inscribes the date 1798. A small yet delightful exhibition of archaeological findings is on display under the lodge of the Sacristy. The originality and particularity of Montefegtesi is found in the daily use of“free thought”, a movement of Masonic origins that was diffused in many families via the emigrants. The free thinker is revealed only on the occasion of his funeral, which unfolds in a layman’s way that is without the celebration of funeral rites, but instead with the accompaniment of the coffin covered, by the flag of the Association of free thought, to the cemetery. Montefegatesi has since dedicated a monument to Dante Alighieri situated at the top of the town. It was erected in 1908 by funds collected by the emigrants of Montefegatesi in America. The bust is the work of F. Petroni - the sculptor from Lucca. Its possible to admire the beautiful panorama of the Rondiaio mountains of the three Potenze: the Mosca, the Pratofiorito and the Coronato, from the very location where the sculpture lies. Other characteristics of the town of Montefegatesi are that there is an uncommon knowledge of classical literature tied to the text of writers such as: Omero, Virgilio, Dante and Ariosto practised and acquired during the winter vigil, amongst its inhabitants and especially the elderly. The legacy of this literature are the names given at Baptism of many of the inhabitants: Anchise, Aiace, Cresco, Egeo, etc. Monuments to Garibaldi and Vittorio Emmanuelle.
An ancient medieval castle entrenched along the hills of the Fegana Valley, used in the past for commerce and trade with Emilia Romagna. What to visit: the entire district – Borio Castle – the Palace of Posta in Campo Buriano – the church of Saint Maria Assunta.
What to visit: the entire district along with the Church of Saint Silvestre.
What to visit: the entire district –the hermitage of Saint Ansano – the Church of Saint Stefano.
The Garfagnana region is in the Province of Lucca and lies between The Apuan Mountains and The Apennine Tosco Emiliano mountains. Lunigiana is crossed by the river Serchio and is rich with woods. The town of Castelnuovo in Garfagnana, is the main centre. Other important towns are: Careggine, Camporgiano, Castiglione of Garfagnana, Gallicano, Minucciano, Piazza al Serchio, Pieve Fosciana and Villa Collemandina. Historically it was part of the “Province of Carfaniane” and also The Middle Valley of the Serchio to the torrent Lima on the Apennine side, through to the torrent of Celetra on the Apuan side. The Garfagnana area offers a wide variety of beautiful towns ranging from mountain territories, impervious and natural, to the sweetest hills of the most southern land.
The Municipality of Vagli Sotto (beneath), extends along an area of roughly 40 km, at the foot of the peak of the Apuan MountainsTambura, Sumbra and of Roccandagia. It’s characterised by the presence of a great artificial lake whereby lies the town of Vagli. A town where the waters of the riverEdron merge and flow into the Serchio River. The artificial lake of Vagli is the largest in Tuscany and the most famous. Here the town called: “Paese Fantasma” (Ghost town) of Fabbriche of Careggine is found in its depth.
The town developed in a straight valley at the crossing of two torrents, is situated at the southern base of “Pania della Croce” (known as L’uomo morto ie. the dead man), which towers above: the landscape and is enriched by the great circular opening in the mountain lying above, like the arch of a bridge perfectly curved, approx. 25mt high, with a 34mt cord. It’s name derives from Mount Forato (or Pania Forata). The crystal clear waters dividing the town in 3 sections are those from the Turrite (towered city) of Petrosciana, where the Santi moat lies. Precious white and coloured marble can be found in close proximity to the town, along with mines filled with other metals, while there is a vine of red jasper present inland of “Pania”, similar to that of the orient due to its brilliance and vivid colour. Woods and fields, with uncultivated areas and a beautiful forest rich with chestnuts also surround the town. The surrounding landscape isbeautiful and varied. When visiting this area one can extend the excursion to the EREMO DI CALOMINI (Hermitage of Calomini) and the awe-inspiring “Grotta del Vento” (Wind cave): 4570mt of expansion with a difference of 145mt in altitude.
GROTTA DEL VENTO (Wind Cave)
The Grotta del Vento is situated in the mountainous chain of the Apuan Alps, under the mountain of Pania in the municipality of Vergemoli, which is found in the province of Lucca (Tuscany).
What to visit: San Romano in Garfagnana in the locality of Pra di Lago, the adventure park “La SELVE DEL BUFFARDELLO” for further information: www.selvadelbuffardello.it
The vast protected area situated between the rock of the Apuan Alps and the Beechwood of the Tuscan ApennineMountain Range is known as the Parco dell’Orecchiella (Orecchiella Park). The landscape is that of a extensive high plain dominated by the massive calcareous of the Pania of Corfino, a territory of beyond 5000 hectares which extends from 600mt to 2045mt, which nature undisputedly reigns, however where you will also find welcoming points for tourists along with information boards. The tourist centre of the State Forest Ranger, built on three floors, is an important referral point essential for the Park (in which there is also a Botanical Garden). There is a technical office in the Centre, guest quarters, a library and a research laboratory, a Convention and Projection Hall and the Naturalistic Museum. The latter was designed to develop an interactive educational unit for visitors, both scholastic and the general public. Here you will find information on various environmental themes, the replicas of typical environments, with all natural aspects of the Orecchiella: Beechwood, the high prairies, the rocky walls and pastures.
The Botanical Gardens of “Pania di Corfino”
Created in 1984 as an initiative of the Mountain Community of the Garfagnana area, the Botanical Gardens “Pania di Corfino” hosts the most significant vegetable species of the Orecchiella Park. The Garden is found amongst a vast clearing of Beechwood, on the southern slope of Pania di Corfino, at 1370mt in altitude in the Natural Park of Orecchiella. There are many rare and almost extinct plants present amongst the species cultivated and harvested, and natural flora of Lucca’s ApennineMountain region often used in popular traditional medicine and in the diet of the population of the high Garfagnana region. The visit to the Botanical Garden allows you not only to observe the numerous vegetable species present, but has also the significanceof a brief natural journey, across the reconstruction of the natural environment of the high Apennine of Lucca, such as: the moors, the cliffs, the rubble, the pasture and the bush.
All of Tuscany is rich with sulphuric springs of volcanic origins like in Bagni di Lucca. The Romans were the first to take advantage of these thermal fountains where infact the army veterans, retreated in cities like Siena and Florence to regain their strength. The maximum splendour of the Community was in the 11th Century when the Thermal Baths of Bagni di Lucca were frequented by personalities from all over Europe.
“ Terra di principi e di poeti” as it has been defined in the past (the land of Princes and Poets) in that the noble villas such as Villa Ada, Villa Fiori, Villa Reale and the indescribable colours of the surrounding parks became the home of intellectuals like: Shelley, Byron and Lamartine and also of nobles such as The Duke of Borbone, Princess Elisa Buonaparte and the Grand dukes of Tuscany. The personalities of the era were attracted not only by the beauty of the surroundings, but also of the thermal treatments, and the presence of the Casino, which was one of the first game halls to be authorized in Europe in 1837.
THE THERMAL BATHS
The hyper thermal waters of Bagni di Lucca flow at a temperature of 45 degrees c. and have anti-inflammatory and relaxing effect. There’s a thermal pool where the water flows from the source of a gargoyle at 54 degrees c. and a wellness centre which offers treatments such as mud treatments, massage and face and body anti-age treatments.
The Thermal bath establishment offers various thermal treatments (aerosol, lung ventilation, kinaesthetic respiratory treatments, nasal treatments) and antistress treatments thanks to the natural vapours that are generated in the caves.
Consequently, even the monumental historic centre has remained almost intact in its original design, able then to include various valuable architecture, such as the numerous medieval churches notably architecturally rich (Lucca was nick-named the “city of 100 churches” for the very presence of numerous churches in its historic centre, both consecrated and non, present in the past and also today, in the city), towers and tower bells, and monumental renassaisance palaces of valuable linear style.
Restaurants and recommended hideaways:
Trattoria (eating house) “La Crepa” in the locality of Tereglio tel: 0583/762113
Activities and What to do in the locality of BAGNI DI LUCCA (approx. ½ hour by car)
Thermal Baths of Bagni di Lucca: www.termebagnidilucca.it tel: 0583/87221
The Territorial office for the Biodiversity of Lucca: Tel: 0583/955525/26, fax: 0583/953775