For some time I’ve wanted to visit the lesser known region of northern Tuscany known as the Garfagnana. It’s a heavily wooded area with a rugged terrain-it’s in the mountains to be precise! The roads are narrow and windy and you hope you don’t meet car coming from the other direction. The drop offs are steep and you can’t take your eyes off the road for a second if you’re the driver. No, I did not attempt to explore this area in my own, but hired an experienced guide with knowledge of the area, its people and their traditions.
The views were spectacular, but the ride is not really for anyone with fear of heights. I was amazed that I was calm as we continued up higher and higher, but I had total faith in our very experienced driver. More than once we had to stop for the mountain goats who were blocking the road. I started wondering “how high up are we really going and what’s going to be there when we get there?”.
We did not go all the way to the summit, but were up pretty darn high. There at the end of the road was a cluster of stone buildings. Chickens ran to and fro as we stepped out of the van. We were greeted by various barking dogs (who were actually quite friendly) and there were a few puppies who were stretched out sunning themselves. Up on a little ridge were a few horses. The air was crisp and much cooler than down in Lucca where we had come from. We pulled our jackets closed and wondered what was in store for us. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of a day that we will all fondly remember in the years to come.
Check back tomorrow for part two!