Garfagnana is a small region in northern Tuscany, nestled between Versilia and the Apennines. Its character is still that of a land where nature has a fundamental importance, with a high agricultural propensity and the spirit turned to tourism. Everything here is fascinating: its history, cuisine, attractions and places to visit. Let’s discover it together.
Climate and geophysical conformation
If you decide to spend your holidays in Garfagnana, we recommend you to bring some long-sleeved shirts, even in summer. Its geophysical shape, in fact, develops from the bed of the river Serchio, towards the tops of the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. There is thus an alternation of different climates.
In the valley the summers are hot, with periods of drought. Just climb a little, however, you will find a cooler and ventilated climate, really pleasant. In winter, the mountains offer the spectacle of snow, becoming the ideal landscape for trekking and hiking. Downstream it is never excessively cold, although high temperature ranges may occur between day and night.
The history of Garfagnana
Let’s talk about the historical-cultural origins of this region: knowing them allows us to understand something more about traditions, habits and cuisine that are handed down to the present day. The Garfagnana tells an adventurous and ancient history: it was inhabited, according to the latest findings, since the Paleolithic, about 40,000 years ago.
The Apuan Ligurians settled permanently there, starting from 300 B.C. They were organized in tribes and lived mainly hunting and pastoralism. The advance of the Roman Empire, however, left no escape to the Apuan Ligurians, who were subdued and deported around 180 BC.
The Garfagnana became for the Romans an important point of connection between the domains of the current Lucca and those of Massa. It was a rather flourishing time, in which many inhabited centers were established that still remain to the present day. Later, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Garfagnana passed under the domination of the Lombard Duchy of Lucca.
The vicissitudes of the Garfagnana didn’t stop: during the sixteenth century, it was disputed between the Republic of Lucca and the Duchy of Ferrara. Some municipalities decided to move under the power of Lucca, others under Ferrara. All the municipalities finally merged under the province of Modena and, later, under Massa-Carrara. Garfagnana became part of the province of Lucca only in 1923.
All these adventurous events are the explanation of the variety of characteristics that distinguish the Garfagnana.
The little cities you can’t miss during your holiday
During a holiday in Garfagnana, you can’t miss to discover the beauty that surrounds you. We have already talked about the things to see in Garfagnana in this article; we give you now a short list of the most beautiful cities in Garfagnana. Among the main villages to visit you will find:
- Castelnuovo di Garfagnana;
- Castelvecchio Pascoli;
- San Romano in Garfagnana.
You can easily reach all these little cities from La Pozza, holiday home in Garfagnana. Not far away from here, there is Gallicano, where you will find shops, supermarkets and, for recreation, restaurants, bars, gyms and an indoor pool, open even in winter. There are also tennis and padel courts.
The best activities to do in Garfagnana
The Garfagnana is the ideal place for sportsmen and lovers of outdoor adventures. You can organize walks, picnics by the lakes and excursions in contact with nature. You can touch the natural life, visit farms and see the animals and the work of the farmers. At the same time, there is no lack of cultural and folk attractions: legends and folk festivals with witches, gnomes and sprites mischievous of the woodland.
You can practice the typical sports of the area: trekking, canyoning, climbing, canoeing or, why not, a nice walk by mountain bike or on horseback. Horse riding is perhaps the activity that best combines sport and nature.There are many equestrian centers in Garfagnana that give you the way to book relaxing rides on their horses.
For the more adventurous, in Vagli you can find the famous Zipline or “angel flight“: you can literally fly over the lake of Vagli. An original and adrenaline-filled experience.
The Archeopark in San Romano in Garfagnana is another unmissable destination. It’s a living museum to relive medieval life, between clashes and adventurous events. There are also workshops and educational trails.
We recommend the Buffardello Park for your children. It’s located in San Romano in Garfagnana. Here you will find adventure trails of various difficulty, a playground, a large green area free of danger, with barbecue area and picnic.
The Garfagnana it’s ideal for families. Staying in one of the apartments of the holiday home La Pozza, you can enjoy a relaxing period surrounded by greenery and nature. There are so many things to do with your children!