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September in a cool place: leaving for Garfagnana

September marks the softening of temperatures, the return from summer holidays, the everyday rhythm a bit difficult to start again. To postpone the boring routine of a few hours, take refuge in one dimension: the quiet. And in one color, green.

Open your eyes and breathe in all the nature you can: we leave for a trip to Garfagnana in September.


A very special bridge


When one thinks of Garfagnana, next to endless hectares of woods and sparkling streams, an image recurs in all the tourist guides. The Ponte della Maddalena, a very special bridge if it is better known as the Devil's Bridge. In the municipality of Borgo a Mozzano, the structure amazes at first sight: the majestic round arch, together with the other three minor arches, makes it one of the most original bridges in Italy.

Next to the architectural uniqueness, there is an air of mystery contributing to increase the interest around the medieval bridge. Popular legends reveal the reason of such a name: Satan himself, fascinated by the natural beauty of the two banks of the river, would have supported the construction of the bridge. The devil supported the workers in finishing the structure on time but, in exchange, he would have demanded the master mason’s soul, the first to cross the bridge. The locals, however, helped the worker to save himself and let an animal cross the bridge instead of him.


Barga, a wonderful hilltop village


Visiting Garfagnana, you cannot miss Barga, a town built all uphill. One of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Barga stands out for its high-level hospitality and friendly atmosphere: just stroll ten minutes in its narrow streets and you feel at home.

This medieval village climbs up between palaces, religious buildings and ancient memories as a castle, originally protected by solid city walls. Today only two doors remain (Porta Reale and Porta Macchiaia), but in Middle Ages this was one of the richest cities and a           point of contention in the area. Walking with eyes and mind wide open, you will come across solemn historic buildings - Palazzo Balduini, Palazzo Angeli, Palazzo Pancrazi and Palazzo Podestà - and marvellous churches, first of all the Duomo. Known as the Collegiata di San Cristoforo (Collegiate Church of San Cristoforo), it is one of the most representative examples of Romanesque architecture in Tuscany. Barga is also closely linked to Giovanni Pascoli, who chose it as his adoptive city and place for burial. If you love Italian literature, visit Pascoli's birthplace, now a museum preserving the original furnishings, objects and the poet's vast quantity of books. Plan also a visit to the Teatro dei Differenti where Pascoli had his famous speech in favor of the Libyan War in 1911, today restructured with careful attention to the original canons.


The secret Garfagnana


If you love unusual landscapes and are fascinated by everything differing from normality, in Garfagnana you can discover surprising natural phenomena. Under the surface of the Vagli Lake, an artificial basin created in 1947, there is a submerged town: Fabbriche di Careggine. The basin has not been emptied since 1994, so the ghost town is not accessible, but the atmosphere in this area has something magical.

If you like to combine some adventure with a bit of mystery, enjoy an excursion to the Orrido di Botri, the largest natural canyon in Tuscany, excavated by the Pelago Torrent in the municipality of Bagni di Lucca. The Orrido Natural Reserve is an excellent opportunity to explore a different nature than usual, walking among rock walls, icy watercourses and crystal-clear waterfalls. The unusual colors of a canyon in the absolute green of the Garfagnana evoke vivid sensations, unforgettable for life.

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