The Garfagnana is a vast area of north-western Tuscany close to Aulla, Massa, Pisa and not far from Pistoia.
The border between Lunigiana and Garfagnana is marked to the North-West by the village of Casola in Lunigiana, today it’s a purely administrative border since these lands were once united and represented territories of passage and mutual contamination.
The rich territory of Garfagnana includes the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps with fantastic places such as the Oasi Campocatino, where Pieraccioni's film “Il mio West” was shot, and the idyllic village of Careggine which hosts the magnificent tradition of the “Palio di Tiro della Forma”.
The nearby Vagli di Sotto features the beautiful Ponte dei Fanti di Marina: you’ll reach this bridge via a short walk that runs along the magnificent lake of the fairy-tale hamlet Isola Santa, a strategic crossing point from Versilia to Garfagnana.
Further north there are the Riserve Naturali dell’Orecchiella and the pretty village of San Pellegrino in Alpe near the Passo delle Radici, the latter marking the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.
Heading south there is the beautiful village of Castiglione di Garfagnana with its medieval castle, the town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, capital of the land of Garfagnana, with its Ariostesca Fortress, an important symbol that dominates the main Square Umberto I, the ancient village of Pieve Fosciana which annually celebrates the “Festa della Libertà”, a tradition that dates back to around 1369, and the thriving community of Sillico.
A little further south-east, right in the heart of Garfagnana, you’ll come accross the beautiful medieval village of Barga, residence of the poet Giovanni Pascoli, which boasts the following awards: Orange Flag by the Touring Club and "One of the most beautiful villages in Italy ".
The village of Borgo a Mozzano is also worth a visit, with its famous “Ponte del Diavolo” or “Ponte della Maddalena” which, thanks to its magnificent asymmetrical arches, marks a grandiose entrance to the land of Garfagnana.
Legend has it that the bridge itself was built by Satan himself around the year 1000. The evil one would have demanded the soul of whoever crossed it first, but the inhabitants of the hamlet, more intelligent than him, mocked the poor devil by having a goat inaugurating the bridge.
The lush nature of the Garfagnana land offers an ideal setting for venturing into wonderful walks, short-term itineraries and moderate gradients suitable for everyone.
Just to name a few: Bosco di Pruno, which winds from the Visitor Center of the Orecchiella Park, I Sentieri del Moro, 7 routes around Sillico, Il Giro del diavolo, starting from the Piazza di San Pellegrino in Alpe, il Sentiero dell’Ariosto from the historic center of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Campocatino - Hermitage of San Vito from the pasture of Campocatino and the Giuseppe Nardini Path, starting from the Porta al Colle parking lot in the village of Careggine.
The fruits of the rich land of Garfagnana are renowned all over the world. In spring you’ll rediscover the flavors of herbs thanks to vitalba omelettes, fried acacia and elder flowers, dandelion salads and the famous Gallicano soup. The Easter cake par excellence is the pasimata, a cake whose dough undergoes various leavening. Also, from the streams of the Garfagnana, the delicious brown and rainbow trout. In summer, the golden spell spikes offer an abundance of recipes with this ancient cereal, which has become a typical IGP product since 1996: savory pies, bean soups and puddings. Autumn perhaps gives the best fruits: tasty pecorino cheese, amazing goat cheese and delicate “caciotta cheese”, to combine with the exquisite honey, and the Formenton “polenta” too. The night of S. Michele, on 29 September, inaugurates the chestnut period: the famous Neccio della Garfagnana flour, a typical DOP product since 2003, is the main ingredient of a strong dish, the “neccio polenta”, which is accompanied by pork bones or ricotta cheese.
Finally, for the enjoyment of young and old, the Garfagnana land hosts 3 beautiful Adventure Parks: Selva del Buffardello in San Romano in Garfagnana, the Levigliese Adventure Park in Vergemoli and the Battiferro Adventure Park in Fornovolasco.