Spring delights of the Serchio Valley

Spring delights of the Serchio Valley

For many, the weekend, with the arrival of warm weather, translates into sun, sea, beach where for other it has a different falvor.  A tan can wait
while it is a bit more difficult to suppress the desire to savor delicious food.  Like in every season, spring presents itself a feast to the palate in Tuscany, a much loved region by gourmets who want to indulge in the culinary temptations, experiencing the delights typical of the area.  A painted
green vacation between the Apuan Alps, in the province of Lucca where, in a context of inestimable beauty, lies the Serchio Valley, a treasure
chest full of natural riches made of small and picturesque medieval towns where you can get your fill of history, culture and art to collect in your cultural baggage for lifelong memories.

Here you can visit Barga famous for being one of the most beautiful towns in Italy centrally located between the lucchesia and the Garfagnana Serchio Valley.  It’s the inspirational muse of the great poet Giovanni Pascoli:  do not miss his house-museum (Museo Casa Pascoli, Caprona, Castelvecchio Pascoli – Barga, Lucca, Tel. +39 (0) 583-766147, www.fondazionepascoli.it) located in the Colle di Caprona (Castelvecchio). 

Also interesting is the Duomo di San Cristoforo (Cathedral of St. Christopher), dominated by the bell tower whose chimes are mentioned in the poem “L’ora di Barga”:  “In my little corner, from which I cannot hear anything but the swaying of the wheat in the fields, the chiming of the
hours come with the wind from the mountain village far from my sight:  a sound, that delicately falls, that is the same as a persuasive voice…”

Another gem of a town is Borgo a Mozzano, steeped in culture, for it was
a favorite destination for illustrious figures such as Pascoli, Carducci, Montale, Dumas, Byron, Shelley and Puccini who walked alongside the Serchio river and crossing over the Ponte della Maddalena (the Maddalena Bridge) commonly known as the “Devil’s Bridge” for an
ancient folktale.  It was built in the XIV century and is known for its three unique asymmetrical arches. 

If you want to combine historic charm to that of healthy wellbeing it is worth emulating the ancient Romans and take a ride to Bagni di Lucca where you will find precious thermal springs renowned for miraculous virtues of their waters whose fame dates back to the times of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, a paradise able to regenerate body and mind.

What is an outing without taking time to satiate a hungry stomach?  What’s cooking?  The top regional Slow Food delicacies such as the Biroldo of the Garfagnana, a sausage made with pork and spices, Potato Bread
and the cured ham called Bazzone, distinctive for its particularly elongated shape and aromatic flavor and last but not least, Porcini Mushrooms, IGP Spelt and Trout.

What is a meal without a great beverage to go along with it.  A spelt beer tasting is an excellent idea to dress up a delicious meal with joy at the artesian Robert Giannarelli brewery, The Petrognola (Birrificio La Petrognola, Via S. Felice, 1 – Fraz. Petrognola, 55035 Piazza al Serchio, Lucca where two different types of beers are produced using the Garfagnana spelt; the unmistakable Ambrata al Farro or the La Nera al Farro.

A great place to purchase delicious dishes is the Osteria Enoteca
Vecchio Mulino
located in Castelnuovo Garfagnana (Via Vittorio Emanuele 12, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Tel. +39 (0) 583-62192, www. Vecchiomulino.info) where the owner, Andrea Bertucci, will do the honors with delicacies such as Farro Gratinato alla Viareggina, the Torta Squisita di Pieve Fosciana, La Minestrella di Gallicano and much more.  The best surprises await you in the shop where you can purchase the local products:  spelt, stone ground flour, cookies, pastries, liqueurs, preserves and jams.

Source:  La Stampa.it