North Tuscany is, unlike the Southern parts of Tuscany, more mountainous. In the northern province of Lucca there are several quiant mountain villages such as Borgo a Mozzano, Bagni di Lucca, Barga and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. If you do not have a car, you can reach the villages by direct trains from both Lucca and Pisa. The mountainous landscape is well shaped for those who like climbing, cycling and hiking. There are several trekking trails and the most famous one is located at the mountain range Parco delle Alpi Apuane. In the surroundings of northen Lucca you will also find many of the Renaissance glamorous villas and gardens, for instance Villa Reale in Marlia.
Borgo a Mozzano is a small and pleasant village and fits perfectly for those who are looking for silence and need some relaxing days in the Tuscan countryside. The village is located close to the river Serchio, and is approximately twenty kilometers from the historical center of Lucca and thirty kilometers from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. In the centre of the village you will find the public outside pool with garden and café Bagni alla Verzura where you can take a cooling dip during hot summer days.
The most famous monument in Borgo a Mozzano is Ponte della Maddalena, also known as Ponte del Diavolo - Devil´s Bridge, estimated to be built between the years 1080-1100. Every year the biggest Halloween party of Europe is organized here.
The legend tells us that the building responsible was delayed in getting the bridge ready on time. One day, when he was sitting on the bridge, the devil appeared and allowed him to finish the work in one night if he as exchange could get the first soul who passed the bridge. The buildig responsible accepted the offer, but it did not take long until he, by pure desperation, ran to the village´s priest to ask for help. Together they developed a clever plan; letting a pig be the first soul to pass the bridge. The plan succeeded, and the devil threw himself into the water of pure anger, and has never been seen since then.
If you continue northwardly from Borgo a Mozzano by train or car, you will eventually reach Bagni di Lucca, Barga and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Bagni di Lucca, the first stop, is well known for its hot springs and spas, where visitors from all around the world book threatments every year. Those who are more adventurous and like hiking and climbing can visit the nature reserve 'Orrido di Botri '. Here you will walk in big canoyns which were excavated from the Pelago River during the millennium, and on the way you will enjoy the beatuiful nature, with waterfalls, high mountain slopes and small watercourses. Another important monument in Bagni di Lucca is il Ponte delle Catene - the chain bridge, which is a beautiful 19th century suspension bridge.
Barga, the second stop, is a small and cozy mountain village, located 410 meters above the sea. The most important religious monument of the village is the church Chiesa di San Cristofero, whose first construction was built in the 11th century. In the mountain range Alpi Apuane you will find the famous cave la Grotta del Vento, one of Europe's most popular tourist caves. You can choose 1, 2 or 3 hour routes. Depending on which route you choose, you will go through tunnels, look at concretions and visit the deepest part of the cave. You get through by concrete joints, railings and electrical systems. You can also choose two more adventurous routes where you only get through by ladders and ropes.
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, the third stop, is a small mountain village with about 6000 inhabitants. The most important symbol of the village, the building Rocca Ariostesca, is located in the center of the villige, and its original structure was built in the 12th century. The associated bell tower was organized by one of the most significant people of Lucca, Paolo Guinigi, and the terrace with a view of the square was added in 1675. Another beautiful monument in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is the medieval fort Fortezza Di Mont'Alfonso, built between 1579 and 1586.
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