Tuscany: in the Garfagnana valley

Day 1 of walking
The valleys we are walking in are lovely. On our first day out we walked to Castiglione di Garfagnana from our residence and back.

Many small villages are scattered throughout. They are often quite close but, nonetheless separate and surprisingly small. The one down from where we staying is typical but, larger than many. 

 And I don’t remember their names and, until I downloaded a map on the Monday evening, had no hope of resurrecting them. Pictures, nothing more. Like those for a couple of very small places we passed through on the way to our walked city and, at last, a coffee.  😄

Our last town for the day was Castiglione di Garfagnana. This was an old walled city. It’s walls were built about 1100, destroyed 100 years or so later and this seems to have been repeated. 

Impressive walls, and towers. Gates are just wide enough for one car at a time.

The town square is quite small with a very tiny church on one side. Looks like two rows of pews facing each other and, an altar. No space for much more! 

There was a second church, nearby. Why? The strangeness of a small, old village in Tuscany!

It even has places for firing arrows from. Handy! 

Now it’s held together by reinforcing rods. Yup, all buildings have them.

Autumn (not winter!) is coming and the leaves are turning in some sections of the forests we’ve walked through. 

Good first day and we lost only one of the 8 of us to blisters and musculoskeletal frailties. 


The property we are staying on for the week is an agriturismo setup: a working farm(let) catering for tourists. So what we eat is generally grown or made here, as is the wine. 

The cook – co-owner is gorgeous, one of those exceptionally warm and welcoming people. Just lovely. 

And, I like the food. First plate so far has been a pasta dish one night and a type of vegetable soup with faro the next. The second plate (main course) both nights has been mixed vegetables and salad bits and some sort of meat. And desert: pana cotta one night, strawberries and ice cream another.

We eat this out on the terrace while the mosquitoes eat us in turn. 

At breakfast time we make our own lunch. Lunches were better and more interesting on, I think, all other trips I’ve done, including in the Australian desert. Surprisingly we don’t get a morning or afternoon snack. Bananas are available but aren’t always nice after travelling in a pack so I’m discounting them. Since we see few shops we have few options. And the shops we have been into are small general stores. I bought some power drinks today, to mix with water, and biscuits for break snacks tomorrow. 

The rooms: two types. Either share cottages for groups of three or, singles. I’m up with two other little houses, singles. 

My single is cute, albeit a bit run down and, I’m not mentioning the scorpion in the shower. Too late, I have. I dispatched it quickly, I’m getting better at that, sadly. 

The small one on the ceiling last night I saw just after going to bed? It’s gone. Don’t know where but I have to hope it can grip on firmly and securely. Better and safer still would be if it has a little holiday until Sunday. Same for all the black beetles living on the edges along the floor. 

Just after scorpion time last night I heard some scratching. I thought the scorpion had fallen down. Aggghhhh. No, it was 9 black beetles walking alongside the wall. I turned the music up….

Us up in the single houses have been warned about nocturnal snuffling. No, it’s not someone secretly trying to visit you or your neighbour but, wild boars. They snuffle around under the trees for truffles. Many of the nearby trees are chestnuts, an old staple here, ground for flour and a food on which many subsisted over the centuries. 

And, there is a swimming pool. Very nice after the first day of walking. And the view over the valley, worth getting into the cold water! 

The group

Interesting. Very very different from those on the Peru trip. Except for me, and a Newfoundlander (Canada) who lives in France, everyone of the 8 is British. 

Remember I told you I wrote a very critical review of the Florence Airbnb and gave it a score of 2/5? He rated me as a ‘good guest’!!! I left the place clean, while cursing his pettiness. 


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