"Tuscany general" Tuscany by alza
Tuscany Travel Guide: 10,339 reviews and 26,429 photos
I spent a few weeks in and around Tuscany recently, driving in the countryside and stopping to snap pics of every stunning landscape or poppy... I decided to put some of these pics under a general "Tuscany" page, where they can hopefully serve as support or embellishment to whatever I can think of saying about a particular place, or about Tuscany in general.
As for the cities and hamlets for which I have enough tips to warrant a page, I'm working on building now. Thank you for your patience and hope you enjoy Tuscany!
The Garfagnana is located between the Apuan Alps (a chain along the Ligurian Coast) and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines to the East, This beautiful valley along the Serchio River is an easy day-trip from Lucca and if you have a car, I recommend exploring it. Be prepared to get lost, to drive down narrow paths that suddenly stop in front of a cliff !! We got out finally and found the road back to Lucca... but those woods were beginning to freak me out.
Coming back from Barga, I wanted to see the Wind Cave (Grotta del Vento) and other natural beauties I'd heard about in Lucca: lakes, wild berries, chestnuts, mushrooms, endless panorama, the timeless Garfagnana, far from the madding crowd.
I can't complain, I saw quite a lot of the area but most of the time, I was looking for the right road, backing up in a two-house hamlet that was an impasse... so I didn't pick berries or anything.
I had a map of the Garfagnana but it turned out it was dedicated to the culinary tradition of the region so it mostly featured restaurants and vineyards. I suggest getting a detailed local map if you really want to find the Grotta del Vento.
I discovered after my return home that nearby Borgo a Mozzano holds a huge Halloween evening every year, with ritual fire, hommage to spirits, etc. I looked into traditions and folklore of the Garfagnana more closely and found out that it's always been associated with fables about witches, sorcerers, and especially, two elves, Il Linchetto and Il Buffardello. Maybe this is self-suggestion... but when I think back, I have a strange feeling about those woods.
Il Linchetto is supposed to be the mean one, a relic of the horned Faun who lived in the woods and tortured men in their sleep. Some go as far as call him the Devil. He comes into houses when all are asleep and turns everything upside-down, he throws sheets out of the window, he sits on your stomach and you can't breathe!
Fortunately, he loves kids and cradles them in his arms... but he can't stand old folks.
The secret phrase to chase him away is too embarrassing to say here, so good luck!
Il Buffardello looks more like a gnome. He dresses in red (when he dresses) and wears pointed shoes. He lives up in chestnut trees and laughs sarcastically, non-stop, when doing his bad tricks. People in the Garfagnana believe that he causes strong whirlwinds and in certain hamlets, this dangerous gale is known as the buffardello.
Mothers use the gnome to scare children into obedience.
I didn't know this while I was ON that bridge, although the bats and strange animals painted on the Restaurant across... more travel advice
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