Sunday, April 10, 2011
A vacation within a vacation
Friday and Saturday, April 8-9 Above: Poggio. Below: the train nearing Poggio.
Even though our entire stay here could be classified as vacation, our purpose is not that of typical tourists. Our overriding purpose is to discover what it is like to be Italian, even though we know that’s an impossible goal in three months. Now we decide to take a mini-vacation to the Garfagnana valley, which is rarely on the itinerary of American tourists. Italians would make this trip by car, but we are on a budget and must take the train that goes from Lucca all the way up the valley and through the Alpi Apuane to Aulla. This cute little train consists of only two or three cars and runs on gas instead of electricity.
We pick out a town about three-quarters of the way to end of the line and decide to get off there and find a place to stay. We find a little bed and breakfast right at the foot of the Rocca, a small fortress and residence, in Camporgiano. The owner of the bed and breakfast also owns the Rocca, which she periodically opens to the public, and today is one of those days. We enjoy a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding hillsides and cities as we walk high atop the fortress walls.
By walking and taking the train, we are also able to see two other little cities, Poggio and Piazza al Serchio. We spend most of the time just walking around looking at farms, people in the piazzas and the lush green landscape. We have brought our bicycles but did not count on every city being perched on a hillside, and thus we do most of our exploring on foot. The trip is sunny, peaceful, largely uneventful and definitely refreshing.
Lucy atop the Rocca. Pictured below is the Rocca, and the vine-covered building to the right is where we stayed overnight. At the bottom is a view of the other side of the valley, taken from atop the Rocca.